PJ Harvey performing in Berlin. She recently recited a poem about her cat, Garden, penned by the acclaimed rock musician Captain Beefheart.
(Photo Credit: Frank Hoensch | Redferns via Getty Images)

PJ Harvey Recites Captain Beefheart’s Poem About Her Cat

Noted singer PJ Harvey recently recited a poem written by the late avant-garde rock musician Captain Beefheart, aka Don Van Vliet, about her cat, reports Stereogum. Titled “Man Can’t Anticipate Cat,” the poem was written in 2001, around 9 years before Beefheart’s death. The performance received a massive round of applause from the crowd at London’s Michael Werner Gallery, where an exhibition of Beefheart’s paintings was held.

Captain Beefheart’s poem was written based on PJ Harvey’s cat’s pictures

Before beginning to recite the poem, Harvey told the crowd Beefheart had written the poem based on some photographs she’d sent to him featuring her and her cat, Garden. “Don loved cats. You might know of Garland,” she said. “He wrote a song about his own cat called ‘Hey Garland, I Dig Your Tweed Coat,’ which was on ‘Ice Cream For Crow.’”

She further added she named her cat Garden as an homage to Beefheart’s feline. “He moved in with me when I was living in Bristol round the corner from Don’s house and just never left. He just climbed through the window one day.”

The exhibition, named “Standing On One Hand,” features Beefheart’s paintings post the 80s. It’s the first time his paintings have been publicly displayed.

PJ Harvey has often cited Beefheart as one of her biggest musical influences. Although his music did not have a huge influence on her as a child, it grew on her with time. She later went on to become good friends with the avant-garde artist.

“Captain Beefheart phoned up because he just wanted to say he liked what I was doing,” she told BBC. “And we just talked about everything for about two hours.”

“I just sort of followed his dislocated line of conversation, and I learnt an enormous amount from him,” she continued.

Over the years, PJ Harvey has garnered a massive fan following and is considered one of rock’s most versatile musicians. She’s experimented with a wide range of genres, including avant-rock, punk blues, and many more. Some of her most famous albums include “To Bring You My Love,” “Rid of Me,” and “Stories From the City.”


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