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PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2021 9:19 am 
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Orlam, a beautiful and profound narrative poem set in a magic realist version of the West Country by musician and writer PJ Harvey, will be published in Picador Poetry hardback format in April 2022, with a special collector’s edition incorporating Harvey’s own illustrative artwork following in October 2022.

Orlam is the product of six years’ intense writing. It is not only a remarkable coming-of-age tale, but the first full-length book written in the Dorset dialect for many decades. Orlam also reveals PJ Harvey as not only one of the most talented songwriters of the age, but a gifted poet – whose formal skill, transforming eye and ear for the lyric line has produced a strange and moving poem like no other. Orlam comes with a facing-page English translation, so readers can follow the richness and subtlety of the original poem with ease.

Nine-year-old Ira-Abel Rawles lives on Hook Farm in the village of Underwhelem. Next to the farm is Gore Woods, Ira’s sanctuary, overseen by Orlam, the all-seeing lamb’s eyeball who is Ira-Abel’s guardian and protector. Here, drawing on the rituals, children’s songs, chants and superstitions of the rural West Country of England, Ira-Abel creates the twin realm through which she can make sense of an increasingly confusing and frightening world.

Orlam follows Ira and the inhabitants of Underwhelem month-by-month through the last year of her childhood innocence. The result is a poem-sequence of light and shadow – suffused with hints of violence, sexual confusion and perversion, the oppression of family, but also ecstatic moments in sunlit clearings, song and bawdy humour. The broad theme is ultimately one of love – carried by Ira’s personal Christ, the constantly bleeding soldier-ghost Wyman-Elvis, who bears ‘The Word’: Love Me Tender.

PJ Harvey was born in Dorset in 1969. Her debut poetry collection, The Hollow of the Hand, was created in collaboration with photographer Seamus Murphy.

Harvey was awarded an MBE for services to music as well as an Honorary Degree in Music from Goldsmiths University. She has received numerous Grammy Award nominations, has scored music for several tv, film and theatrical productions, and is the only artist to have won the Mercury Prize twice with her albums Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea and Let England Shake.

Don Paterson said: “I’m immensely proud that we’re publishing such a bold and original work with Picador. Working with Polly – and watching her development as a poet over the years – has been a great privilege. Orlam not only breaks new ground as a long poem – it brings an entire dialect back to life from the edge of its own extinction, and reminds us how radically the world is altered by how we speak of it.”

PJ Harvey comments: “Having spent six years working on Orlam with my friend, mentor and editor Don Paterson, I am very happy to publish this book of poetry with Picador. Picador feels absolutely the right home for it, and it’s an honour to be in the company of poets like Jacob Polley, Denise Riley and Carol Ann Duffy.”

Philip Gwyn Jones, Picador Publisher, comments: “It is an absolute privilege and pleasure for us to be publishing the entirely remarkable Orlam on the Picador Poetry list. It is an exceptional, even unique work that reinvigorates ancient traditions and renews English poetry in doing so. Admirers of the most searching, ambitious new poetry are going to thrill to it.”

The hardback edition is now available for pre-order in the UK, very limited number of signed copies available.

Order from the official store *first batch of signed copies on sale now, second batch on sale 5pm GMT today (Friday 12th November) – limited to one per customer*: https://PjHarvey.lnk.to/OfficialStore

Also available from Waterstones, Rough Trade and selected independent book stores.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2021 2:30 pm 
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I mean was anyone else’s response to that just putting their phone down and being a little confused?!


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2021 10:01 pm 
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No, I was delighted. :grin:


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2021 10:54 pm 
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Managed to grab a signed one - got lucky when I swiped twitter and it was top tweet :)

Later, I did think it would have been better waiting for an audiobook but how would I get it signed :laugh:

Do you think the Glastonbury thing was an extract?


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 13, 2021 12:11 pm 
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Literally an answer to prayer, the prayers often including phrases such as 'how long is this going to take?!'

I'm very excited by this. Yes, at least one of the Glastonbury poems must relate to this, as it mentioned the Ira character.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 2021 8:37 am 
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It appears Polly has completed the transition from musical artist to poet. It seems clear to me that she's following the path of her idol Don Van Vliet (1941-2010).


"I feel very fortunate in my life, for many reasons. One of these reasons is coming across such as man as Don Van Vliet, through his music, his art and as a friend.

So rarely have I come into contact with extraordinarily special human-beings; human beings that operate on a different level to most. That have a certain 'otherness' about them, and a wisdom that I can only aspire to, breathless. People that I would drop everything for, and sit at their feet, to hang on every word.

Don is such a human-being. In everything he does. In his words, his creations and in himself.

Thank you Don. Thank you for sharing yourself with us.

Polly Jean Harvey"


From:

"Don Van Vliet, Micheal Werner Koln New York / Anton Kern Gallery New York" (c) 2007. ISBN 978-1-885013-58-3, Fries Printmedien, Koln.

Published on the occasion of the exhibition Don Van Vliet, Paintings, May 31 through July 6, 2007 at the Michael Werner and Anton Kern galleries in New York and the Michael Werner gallery in Koln from September 3 through October 20, 2007.


Don left music behind around 1985 at age 44 to become a painter.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 2021 11:34 am 
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New photo from the publisher's website:

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2021 11:10 am 
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You may well all have noticed, but the cover design for the book incorporates the dead tree, cross and eyeball drawn on the dress Polly wore for the Glastonbury recording (as well as 'The Eye and the Lamb' sketch from the website).


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2021 5:41 am 
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Anyone still hoping that Polly will tour and perform her music again someday should consider this:

"In the early 1980s Van Vliet established an association with the Galerie Michael Werner in Cologne. Eric Feldman stated later in an interview that at that time Michael Werner told Van Vliet he needed to stop playing music if he wanted to be respected as a painter, warning him that otherwise he would only be considered a "musician who paints"."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_Beefheart#Paintings

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2021 2:00 pm 
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Or perhaps they could also consider the quote that comes directly from Polly - I can't remember it exactly - but it was something along the lines of being on a mission to explore what it means to be a human being on this earth through music until the day she dies. :wink:

And anyway I am not so sure that her driving ambition is to be respected as a poet. It's just exploration - branching out, like she has always done.

So until the day Polly herself explicitly states "That's it folks, I am done with music, from now on I am a full-time poet" I'll believe there will be more music. It might take ten or fifteen years but I'm sure it will have been worth the wait!


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2021 1:53 am 
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^ Good luck with that.

I can see her doing a tiny 'secret' show or two over the years, but I don't see her doing actual tours (in which normal fans would be able to see her) again. Someone here posted a year or two ago that she had closed down the financial entity that encompassed her tours.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2021 3:17 pm 
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Gosh, I hope not. Glad I saw the Hope Six Demolition Project tour!


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2021 6:37 pm 
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I don't see her doing big world tours in the future anymore, I think the Hope 6 run was sort of a goodbye to that—and perhaps the recent vinyl reissue campaign might actually be a way to find a new little source of income now that's she's not doing concerts.

This of course doesn't have to mean she's done as a musician and will be only a poet now; I think comparing her career arch 1:1 to Van Vlient is a bit of a stretch. There are ways of performing live that do not require dragging a full band and crew across four continents for months on end—one-off solo shows a la White Chalk, residencies a la Kate Bush or Björk, streamed shows a la Nick Cave etc. I remember her praising a Patti Smith show that featured both music and poetry, I think that'd also be an interesting path for Polly to explore (kinda hinted at with The Hollow of the Hand performances a few years ago).

In the current difficult/uncertain musical landscape (especially if you think about how long Covid might still be around as a threat to live shows, or if you consider the carbon footprint associated with huge tours) these might be the logical next steps. Who knows. I'm pretty sure we'll learn more next year when she does some press for Orlam and some journalist inevitably asks her about new music and/or live shows.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2022 3:48 am 
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Happy New Year ! Not sure if this link has been posted elsewhere, if so i apologies: http://stephenstapestry.com/gallery/polly-jean-harvey/


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2022 10:15 pm 
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lepetitlord wrote:
Happy New Year ! Not sure if this link has been posted elsewhere ...


Thank you! The only reason I can think of why Polly might be having her drawings turned into tapestry - quite big tapestries to judge by the rest of the studio's output - is that they're going to be backdrops for a performance *of some kind*. Any other thoughts?


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