Event - Poet Matthea Harvey Reads at the Reanimation Library

Poet Matthea Harvey Reads at the Reanimation Library

10.22.16, 2:00 pm

Coffee House Press and the Reanimation Library have collaborated on a month-long residency for Brooklyn-based poet, Matthea Harvey. She’ll recap her experience with a reading and presentation on Saturday, October 22nd, 2016 at the Queens Museum.

Matthea Harvey, whose most recent collection of poetry, If the Tabloids are True What Are You?, was published by Graywolf Press in 2014. She currently teaches at Sarah Lawrence University. Her book will be available for sale and signing at this reading (cash only).

The Reanimation Library, founded by Queens Museum Artist-in-Residence, musician, and librarian Andrew Beccone, is an independent non-circulating library, temporarily located within the Queens Museum’s Artist Studio wing. Since early August, Harvey has immersed herself in the library’s unique collection, which is comprised of books culled from thrift stores, rummage sales, flea markets, municipal dumps, library sales, give-away piles, and used bookstores across the country.

Harvey’s residency is part of a three-year old program sponsored by Minneapolis-based publisher, Coffee House Press. Reanimation Library and Coffee House Press have both used the residency model to help celebrate the generative potential of libraries through the production of new creative work.

“Borges famously wrote the story, “The Library of Babel” about an infinite library, but I’ve found infinities in this little library,” wrote Harvey. “And I now suspect that there are infinities in each and every one. I will be sad to slide the door closed behind me.”

Prior to settling at the Queens Museum, the Reanimation Library was housed for 9 years in Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighborhood, and has also been exhibited at venues around the world including Vox Populi (Philadelphia), SPACE (London), High Desert Test Sites (Joshua Tree), talcual (Mexico City), 98weeks (Beirut), the Museum of Modern Art, and Kunsthalle Osnabrück.

Since its inception, Beccone has invited artists, writers, and scholars to respond to the collection in the form of essays published on the library’s website. “I’ve known Matthea for over a decade,” said Beccone, “and have always been a great admirer of her work, so I was excited when Coffee House Press suggested her for an In The Stacks residency at the Reanimation Library. I find her particularly well-suited to work in the library because while she is known primarily as a writer, she has also worked with images for as long as I have known her. I think that her fluency in both written and visual languages makes her a particularly compelling choice for this residency and I’m very excited to see what she has produced.”

In 2014, the In The Stacks program placed novelist/essayist Valeria Luiselli in residence at Poets House, a poetry library and literary center in Battery Park City. The press has also placed writers and artists in residencies at the Walker Art Center and the American Craft Council in Minneapolis, MN, the Kinsey Institute Library and Special Collections at the University of Indiana, the Saint Louis Public Library, and the Pacifica Institute’s OPUS Archives in Santa Barbara, CA.

You can view dispatches from Harvey’s residency at chpinthestacks.tumblr.com.


The In The Stacks program is part of Coffee House Press’s Books in Action initiative and is inspired by the Library as Incubator Project. The program places readers and writers in residence at public, school, and specialty libraries to create new work that will inspire a broader public to engage with their local libraries in new and meaningful ways. In May of 2014, Coffee House Press published a book of essays, images, and other resources with The Library as Incubator Project titled The Artist’s Library: A Field Guide. Visit chpinthestacks.tumblr.com for more information.

Matthea Harvey is the author of five books of poetry—If the Tabloids are True What Are You? (Graywolf, 2014), Of Lamb, an illustrated erasure with images by Amy Jean Porter, (McSweeney’s, 2011), Modern Life, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and a New York Times Notable Book (Graywolf, 2007), Sad Little Breathing Machine (Graywolf, 2004) and Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form (Alice James Books, 2000). She has also published two children’s books, Cecil the Pet Glacier (Schwartz & Wade, 2013), illustrated by Giselle Potter and The Little General and the Giant Snowflake (Tin House, 2009), illustrated by Elizabeth Zechel. She teaches poetry at Sarah Lawrence and lives in Brooklyn.

Coffee House Press is an internationally renowned independent book publisher and arts nonprofit based in Minneapolis, MN; through its literary publications and Books in Action model, Coffee House acts as a catalyst and connector—between authors and readers, ideas and resources, creativity and community, inspiration and action.

The Reanimation Library is an independent library currently housed in the Studio Wing of the Queens Museum in New York City. The Reanimation Library is both an artist project and a functioning research library with an emphasis on visual information. The museum is founded by Andrew Beccone, an artist, librarian, and musician based in Brooklyn, NY.