Heather June Gibbons's Reviews > Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form

Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form by Matthea Harvey
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Jul 17, 08


Because I'm futzing with my own sectioned book, I'm particularly attuned to how contemporary poets use the unit of the section in a collection. I'm not totally sure I understand the hows and whys of Harvey's sectioning vision here, though I do appreciate the break and breath it provides.

In the first section, the title poem has wonderful dynamism and a strange, jerky music, and the persona of the Self Portraits sequence I found compelling and the sense of form that felt very sure to me. I could not get into the poems in the second section-- I'm easily intimidated by long lines that eschew punctuation. But then the third section comes, and it's just packed with gems: "The Oboe Player" is a dead-on, witty idea finely-rendered, "Thermae" is fascinating, and a nice shift in terms of voice, form, and concern, and I loved "Letting Go." And all four poems/sequences/pieces of the final section are *gorgeous*-- "Ceiling Unlimited Series" gave me chills. What lovely, heartbreaking episodes.
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