P J Harvey collaborates on first poetry collection

P J Harvey collaborates on first poetry collection

Bloomsbury is publishing The Hollow of the Hand, the first poetry collection from musician P J Harvey, in collaboration with photographer and filmmaker Seamus Murphy.

The title will be released in four different editions simultaneously on 8th October: a limited edition with original artwork for an as yet unannounced price; a £45 large format cloth-bound hardback; a £16.99 trade paperback readers’ edition; and a £13.99 enhanced e-book.

Alexa von Hirschberg, commissioning editor at Bloomsbury, said: “We always wanted to do a digital edition of the material and now the printed book is sort of done, we’re finalising content. The e-book has been designed by the same designer as the print books, [freelancer] Lizzie Ballantyne, and it’s a fixed-format electronic edition that will include audio of Polly [Harvey] reading her poetry, audio from Seamus giving background to the photography, and hopefully moving images.” Von Hirschberg added: “The limitations of the format means it will probably only be available within Apple iBooks.”

Harvey and Murphy met after the Mercury Prize-winning musician attended an exhibition of Murphy’s about Afghanistan. They first collaborated on Harvey’s last studio album, “Let England Shake”, which was released in 2011, when Murphy created 12 short films that accompanied the album.

Between 2011 and 2014, the duo travelled to Kosovo, Afghanistan and Washington DC seeking inspiration for a new project. Von Hirschberg said: “Their plan was to follow their instincts within those places with Polly collecting words and Seamus collecting images. They knew they wanted to do a book but they didn’t know what form it would take, except that it would be photography and poetry.”

Harvey has worked on her poetry for seven years with Scottish poet Don Paterson, but this is her first published collection.