Matthea Harvey (APS 1, APS 15) is the author of three books of poetry, an illustrated erasure, and two children's books, including Cecil the Pet Glacier (Random House, 2012). On Thursday, December 13, 7 PM-10 PM, Matthea and artist Giselle Potter will celebrate Cecil the Pet Glacier at A Public Space. Children welcome!
1. Can you describe your daily routine, any rituals or habits?
I am the lucky owner of an eighteen-year-old cat called Wednesday who takes a lot of medication, so most of my routines involve squishing pills into pill pockets three times a day—those pill pockets are a great invention. I also probably take six pictures of her on a regular day. I'm a seltzer addict so I also spend a lot of time making seltzer with our seltzer maker. Neurotically, I like to have four full bottles in the fridge just in case.
Otherwise I spend a lot of time writing poems, thinking about writing poems, freezing miniatures in ice cubes and photographing them, and making silhouette cutouts of mertools—a Swiss mermy knife, a merhammer, mersaw, powmercord, etc. Starting in January, I also embarked on embroidering handkerchiefs as part of a soundwalk for the Guggenheim Museum (Teletrofono, with sound artist Justin Bennett). That morphed into embroidering people's favorite book covers onto handkerchiefs. However, this weekend, while wrapping Christmas presents, I stepped on a glass of seltzer and had to have nine stitches in my heel. As a result, I can't quite bring myself to pick up a needle again.
2. Where do you go to people-watch?
I secretly take pictures of identical twins in airports. One day it may be a series called "Twins in Transit," but I only have six sets so far. In general, however, I'm more of an animal-watcher. It's my main reason for walking around Prospect Park.
3. What are your anxieties about language?
I moved from England to the U.S.A. when I was eight, so I still feel a little anxiety about saying two "t's" as "d." My nickname, "Matty," caused a lot of concern when I was little. I would say it one way around my family and another way around my friends. I also can't stand the word groovy.
4. Is there a character, a scene, a moment that you dream of conveying, but haven't figured out how to yet?
I've been trying to use the street name No Swan Boulevard and a character called the Tree Bride in poems for ages, with no luck.
5. What landscape do you most often fantasize about?
If I'm not in New York, then New York City. I love the surprise of walking around Brooklyn and New York and seeing street art, posters erased by the elements, the lady who only wears green. When I'm in New York, I daydream about Iceland (where I went on my honeymoon), the Moon, and most recently, Neptune. I'm working on a poem about Neptune's settlers who try to go back to olde worlde ways.
6. What is the last book you didn't finish?
I almost always finish books—I can't stand not to. But Infinite Jest has been taking me a long time and I've read many books in-between.
7. What are you looking forward to?
Our Glacier Party at A Public Space tomorrow [December 13, 2012]! Giselle Potter and her husband are making an ice sculpture of Cecil, which I can't wait to meet, and Giselle is also making tiaras. I've found chocolate and jelly-bean pebbles, and have been making unsuccessful cupcakes and more successful meringues all day. Also, there will be tango records playing!