After a long six-year creation process, PJ Harvey has announced that her new narrative poetry book Orlam will be released in 2022.
“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 honor to be in the company of poets like Jacob Polley, Denise Riley, and Carol Ann Duffy,” PJ Harvey shared in a statement about the book.
Orlam is said to be the first book written in the dialect of Dorset in decades. A hardback copy of the book will be made available in April 2022 with a special collector’s edition following in October 2022. The latter will feature exclusive illustrations from PJ Harvey herself. Both will include a facing-page English translation.
“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 humor,” reads the book’s official description. “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.”
Paterson added, “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.”
This year has marked a number of reissues from the esteemed PJ Harvey catalog, including most recently, A Woman A Man Walked By, the second collaborative album by PJ Harvey and John Parish, that was reissued this past July.