Special Display

PJ Harvey – Orlam

29 March - 27 July 2023

Showcase display | Collections Discovery Centre

Discover the extraordinary Dorset dialect narrative poem Orlam, written by Dorset-born singer-songwriter and artist PJ Harvey in this new showcase display outside the Museum’s Collections Discovery Centre.

Dorset Museum is now displaying an archive of material relating to PJ Harvey’s poem Orlam.

Alternative rock musician PJ Harvey spent an afternoon at Dorset Museum in April 2022 pursuing her interest in 19th-century Dorset dialect poet William Barnes, and donating a signed copy of Orlam ahead of the work’s publication. She also gifted the Museum proofs of the book’s text and cover marked with her hand-written edits, and an exclusive signed photograph of her wearing a brooch of traditional Dorset buttons. The photograph’s inscription reads, To Dorset Museum, with good wishes always, Polly Jean Harvey. All of these are now on display.

Harvey’s verse novel Orlam is the first substantial work written in the Dorset dialect for many decades. It brings a modern, surreal twist to traditional West Country words and phrases. Although the poem offers a fictionalised and distorted view of the county, it draws upon Harvey’s memories of her secluded childhood in a small Dorset village, particularly in its depictions of nature and folklore.

[Photo: PJ Harvey (centre) sitting in Dorset Museum’s Library alongside her mother Eva (right) and Dorset Museum Interim Director Elizabeth Selby (left) © Zachary Culpin | BNPS]
PJ Harvey (centre) sitting in Dorset Museum’s Library alongside her mother Eva (right) and Dorset Museum Interim Director Elizabeth Selby (left) © Zachary Culpin | BNPS
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https://www.dorsetmuseum.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/P-J-Harvey-Logo.jpg

Official Website of English singer, songwriter, and musician Polly Jean Harvey MBE

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https://www.dorsetmuseum.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Orlam-by-P-J-Harvey.jpg

Orlam by PJ Harvey was published on 28 April 2022 by Picador Poetry. Copies are on sale in the Museum’s shop.

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