Critical Mass

What Are You Looking Forward to Reading, Matthea Harvey?

By David Haglund

This summer, we’re asking past winners of and finalists for NBCC awards what books they’re excited to read. Below, Matthea Harvey, a 2007 NBCC Poetry finalist, weighs in. Click here for the rest of the series.

I just finished two great books—The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender and Grace, Fallen From by Marianne Boruch—and I’m currently halfway through Roni Horn aka Roni Horn: Subject Index and The Book Thiefby Markus Zusak.I have three piles of to-be-reads—one leaning against my radiator in my office that measures about three feet high, one next to my bed, which has toppled twice in the past week (and can no longer support glasses or glasses of water) and another behind the sofa. I choose by instinct what comes next. Here are a few that have that particular glow around them, meaning I’ll probably read them in the next month or so… On another note, sometimes I buy a book and leave it for too long and it begins to feel like an obligation instead of a delight. Someone should invent a refresher spray to give those books back their glitter of excitement!

Lighthead by Terrence Hayes

Sweet Tomb by Trinie Dalton(I love a tiny book)

NOX by Anne Carson

Four-Footed Americans by Mabel Osgood Wright (published in 1898 and full of charming pictures of civet cats and lynxes—given to my husband Rob and me as a thank you present for writing a cento for a wedding)

Practical Water by Brenda Hillman

White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson by Brenda Wineapple

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell

Illustrated Three-Line Novels: Félix Fénéon, by Joanna Neborsky, translated by Luc Sante (Not out yet, but I love the version without pictures, so this can only be even better…)

Matthea Harvey was a finalist for the 2007 NBCC Award for Poetry for Modern Life. She is also the author of Sad Little Breathing Machine and Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form. Last year she published her first children’s book, The Little General and the Giant Snowflake, with illustrations by Elizabeth Zechel. She is a contributing editor for jubilat, Meatpaper, and BOMB, and teaches poetry at Sarah Lawrence. She lives in Brooklyn. (Photo: Mackenzie Stroh)