PJ Harvey Dove Into Her New Album And Poetry Book In Her Recent Live Performance: A BUST Review

by Michael Levine

Joni Mitchell once described herself as a restless artist. Mitchell’s a musician whose work has always pushed the creative boundaries forward. Never trying to reproduce previous successes. One could say the same about Polly Jean Harvey. Also an artist who never repeats her previous work. 

This past Tuesday evening Harvey appeared at the intimate Warsaw venue in NYC to perform and discuss her book of poetry, Orlam, and her new album I Inside The Old Year Dying. First up Harvey read aloud various selections from her volume of poems. Lines from Harvey’s writings as well as some of her artwork were projected on a screen in back of the performance space. The images changed to accompany each poem presented. Then Interviewer Amanda Petrusich sat down with Harvey and discussed why she took a step back from making music and focused on writing poetry and prose. Harvey elaborated on being mentored by the Scottish poet Don Paterson. As well as discussing what her creative journey was which led to the writing of Orlam, and the subsequent I Inside The Old Year Dying album of correlating songs. Long time musical collaborator John Parish joined in as he and Harvey relayed their shared experiences of playing together, recording, and what tracks ultimately made it onto the album.

Following this enlightening interview the audience was treated to a special live performance with Parish and one of Harvey’s other collaborators, James Johnston, both assisting Polly on various instruments. The trio performed five songs from I Inside The Old Year Dying including the title song and “A Child’s Question.” After the final number Harvey and bandmates graciously wished everyone a good night and the audience floated off into the night after being inspired and delighted by the illuminous, incomparable, restless, artist known as Polly Jean Harvey.

Photo credit: Ebru Yildiz

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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