PJ Harvey Announces Book-Length Narrative Poem 'Orlam'

The poem was written entirely in the ancient Dorset dialect

Photo: Stephen McGill

BY Kaelen BellPublished Nov 12, 2021

PJ Harvey has announced a new book-length narrative poem called Orlam, arriving in April 2022 via Picador Poetry. 

The long-form poem is composed in the ancient Dorset dialect — with a page-by-page English translation included — and takes place in a magical realist version of the West Country, where Harvey was born and raised.

In a press release, Scottish poet Don Paterson, who edited the book, said: "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."

Harvey added: "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."

In 2015, Harvey released the poetry collection The Hollow of the Hand, which chronicled the travels that inspired her 9th studio album The Hope Six Demolition Project

Most recently, Harvey has been reissuing her entire catalogue of classic records on vinyl, including unreleased demos and new artwork. 

See an Instagram post announcing Orlam below.

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