PJ HARVEY is recognized as a brilliant singer, songwriter and musician – but she is coming to the area this week to show off her talent as a poet.
Following successful appearances at the Hay Festival and the Edinburgh International Book Festival, PJ embarks on a UK-wide spoken word tour at Fire Station, Sunderland on Thursday 27 October.
His first long poem Orlam is a remarkable coming-of-age tale and one of the few complete books written in the Dorset dialect.
Orlam tells the story of a nine-year-old girl, Ira-Abel Rawles, who lives on a farm in the village of Underwhelem. Next to the farm is a wood, Ira’s shrine, where through traditional West Country rituals, children’s songs, chants and superstitions, she makes sense of an increasingly confusing world.
PJ’s book of poetry follows Ira and the people of Underwhelem through the last year of Ira’s childhood innocence. The result is a work of great beauty, imbued with hints of violence, sexual confusion, family oppression, but also moments of great joy through song and bawdy humor.
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Tamsin Austin, Site Manager of The Fire Station, said, “We are thrilled to host the first night of PJ’s spoken word tour and to welcome such a talented, revered and much-loved artist to The Fire Station.
“Orlam reveals that PJ is not only one of the most eminent British composers of her generation, but also a gifted poet and spoken word artist.
“We had a great response to the PJ show announcement and are urging people to get their tickets before they’re all gone.”
During his show, PJ will be in conversation with the English poet Sean O’Brien, a central figure in the contemporary world of poetry. Her 11th collection of poems, Embark, will be published in November. Sean has already won many major awards for his poetry, including the Cholmondeley
Award, the Somerset Maugham Prize, the EM Forster Prize and, twice, the Forward Prize for Best Collection.
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PJ started her musical career in 1988 when she joined Automatic Dlamini as a vocalist, guitarist and saxophonist.
The band’s frontman, John Parish, became his longtime collaborator. In 1991, she formed an eponymous trio called PJ Harvey and subsequently began her career under the name PJ Harvey. The trio released two studio albums titled Dry (1992) and Rid of Me (1993) before going their separate ways.
She continued as a solo artist and since 1995 has released nine more albums featuring collaborations with musicians such as Mick Harvey and Eric Drew Feldman, while working exclusively with record producer Flood.
Among the many accolades she has received are the 2001 and 2011 Mercury Prizes for City Stories, Sea Stories and Let England Shake, respectively. She remains the only artist to have been awarded twice.
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She also has eight Brit Award nominations to her name, seven Grammy Award nominations and two other Mercury Prize nominations.
She’s also an occasional artist and actress – and an accomplished sculptor.
For tickets to Orlam go to www.thefirestation.org.uk
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