Let the World Have You: Poems by Mikko Harvey

Strange and sly, the poems in Mikko Harvey’s collection Let the World Have You are mocking, hopeful, and entertaining. Harvey explores the world through the eyes of a wide cast of characters, both human and not, diving into the depth of interconnectedness that holds the world together. Using unexpected and often funny imagery, Harvey presents a series of poems in which each line is odder than the one which preceded it. In the playful poem “How Fresh,” Harvey substitutes multiple nouns with “president,” leading to lines like “Presidents are tortured and murdered every day in exchange for their delicious meat.” It is these twists and pokes with language that make this a fun collection to read.

Some of the poems are also very much of our current time, with lines that hit just a little harder after the last two years of the pandemic. The final lines of the poem “Autumn,” are particularly poignant:

As she walked away, 
I took out the small notebook 
containing my to-do list 
and, with immense satisfaction, 
crossed off just do your best 
to be nice and not weird 
for three hours.

Let the World Have You is offbeat and both joyous and dark. This is a short collection of poems, clocking in at a brisk 96 pages, but it is tight and impactful. Moving from the absurd image to the sharp and piercing comment, Havey’s poems are always a pleasure here – even when they share a reflection that may not be entirely wanted. “When you realize you are only a subplot / in the story the day is telling, you are / devastated; it would have been better / to be everything or else nothing,” Harvey writes in “Secret Channel,” getting at one of the anxieties we think dominates our current age of being able to all document our every thought and star in our own projections of our lives. I really enjoyed the range of observations Harvey made in these poems, and it is another delightful addition to the landscape of Canadian poetry.

MIKKO HARVEY is the author of Unstable Neighbourhood Rabbit (House of Anansi, 2018), which was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. His poems appear in such places as Iowa ReviewKenyon ReviewMaisonneuve, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2019. A graduate of Vassar College and Ohio State University, he has received the 2017 RBC/PEN Canada New Voices Award and the 2019 Salt Hill Philip Booth Poetry Prize, as well as fellowships from MacDowell, the Vermont Studio Center, and Yaddo. He works as a writer for an immigration law firm and currently lives in upstate New York.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ House of Anansi Press (April 5 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 96 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1487010699
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1487010690

Alison Manley bounced around the Maritimes before landing in Miramichi, NB, where she works as a hospital librarian. She has an honours BA in political science and English from St. Francis Xavier University, and a Master of Library and Information Studies from Dalhousie University. When she's not reading biomedical research for her work, she likes reading poetry, contemporary and historical fiction, and personal essays. Noted for a love of bright colours (and lipstick), you can find her wandering the banks of the Miramichi River with a book and a paintbrush.