An Interview with Harry Mathews
by Barbara Henning
Born in New York in 1930, Harry Mathews settled in Europe in 1952 and has since then lived in Spain, Germany, Italy, and (chiefly) France. In 1978 he returned to the United States to teach for several years at Bennington College, Columbia University, and the New School University. Now married to the French writer Marie Chaix, he divides his time between Paris and Key West. When Mathews published his first poems in 1956, he was associated with the so-called New York School of poets, with three of whom (John Ashbery, Keneth Koch, James Schuyler) he founded the review Locus Solus in 1961. Through his friendship with Georges Perec, he became a member of the Oulipo in 1973. The author of six novels and several collections of poetry, his most recent publications are Sainte Catherine, a novella written in French (Éditions P.O.L, 2000), The Human Country: the Collected Short Stories (Dalkey Archive Press, 2002), The Case of the Persevering Maltese: Collected Essays (Dalkey Archive Press, 2003), Oulipo Compendium (co-edited with Alastair Brotchie; Atlas Press and Make Now Press, 2005), My Life in CIA: A Chronicle of 1973 (Dalkey Archive Press, 2005), and The New Tourism (poems; Sand Paper Press, Key West).
Born in Detroit in 1948, Barbara Henning has lived in New York City since 1983. The author of three novels and nine books of poetry, a collection of poetry. A Day Like Today is forthcoming from Negative Capability Press. Her most recent books are two collections of poetry and prose, A Swift Passage (Quale Press, 2013) and Cities & Memory (Chax Press, 2010); a novel, Thirty Miles from Rosebud (BlazeVox, 2009); a collection of object-sonnets, My Autobiography (United Artists, 2007); and a poetry chapbook, A Slow Curve (Monkey Puzzle, 2012). She is also the author/editor of a book of interviews, Looking Up Harryette Mullen (Belladonna, 2011), and The Selected Prose of Bobbie Louise Hawkins (Blazevox, 2012). As a long-time yoga practitioner, she brings this knowledge and discipline to her writing and her teaching at Naropa University, writers.com and Long Island University in Brooklyn, where she is Professor Emerita.