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 1972.
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), and My Life in CIA: A Chronicle of 1973 (Dalkey Archive Press, 2005).