Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form

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9781882295265: Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form

Comic, elegaic, and always formally intricate, using political allegory and painterly landscape, philosophic story and dramatic monologue, these poems describe a moment when something marvelous and unforeseen alters the course of a single day, a year, or an entire life.

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From Publishers Weekly:

The fussy title of Harvey's distinctive, substantial debut gives a pretty good idea of the Victorian-style cathexes within, swooning with "Objective Fatigue" and clutching "More Sketches for a Beautiful Hat." Many poems issue from a space of Wonderland-like decadence, where "tiny tin gutters would be gauche,/ pathetically mimetic" and "irritated he would play with his/ Chameleon putting her on a paisley pillow or tartan/ Scarf." There is a foreboding to such scenes, and a toughness to Harvey's speakers: one "can't be coy after all I've done" and another has "killed one pride only to have another replace it." Pervasive longings are often compressed into a verbal device Harvey may have imported from Turkish poetry, in which the start of a line (here always unpunctuated) is at once the end of one sentence and the start of the next: "this village is closer to the glacier than/ The volcano emits a tiny rumble & drools lava every few/ Years go by..." It's used too often, but the people and pursuits within the poems as a whole certainly vary: a male poet proceeds from the "Vestibulum" to the "Frigidarium" to find his muse within domestic "Thermae"; "Frederick Courtney Selous" exhorts a lover to make a necklace of the stamps from his letters; one poor lover of the title poem casts a bathtub for his beloved only to burn his feetAall with the craft and care of miniature portraiture. While the results, despite watchful self-inoculation, can be precious, the imagination and syntactic dexterity they display are remarkable. (Nov.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From The New Yorker:

In Harvey's intensely visual début collection of poems, a painter says of his self-portrait, "It was bigger than me. The perspective was not mine." Throughout, we meet artists and eccentrics obsessed with the reflections they cast, often shaping the world to match their private illusions: a gardener "crows with / delight" as his sugar maple takes the form of a rooster; a woman paints her baseboards the color of her dachshund. Mournfully comic and syntactically inventive, Harvey's poems are both pleas for attentiveness ("Amaze me with / what you know. Do the barnacles really look / like ancient daisies, did the starfish really / turn orange & purple from holding on?") and elegies for the images we try, but fail, to capture.
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker

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Book Description Alice James Books. Paperback / softback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human F, Matthea Harvey, Comic, elegaic, and always formally intricate, using political allegory and painterly landscape, philosophic story and dramatic monologue, these poems describe a moment when something marvelous and unforeseen alters the course of a single day, a year, or an entire life. Bookseller Inventory # B9781882295265

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