An unexpected event – well, I didn’t see any adverts for it – was PJ Harvey’s appearance at Don’s art exhibition, Standing on One Hand, in London between November 2023 and February 2024. Polly read several of Don’s poems. Does anyone know which ones? She finished her set with a poem, Man Can’t Anticipate Cat, that Don had written especially for her about her cat called ‘Garden’. Polly and Don often spoke on the phone and she sent Don some photos of her with her cat. Don loved cats. A recording of the poem is available on YouTube :
Cinematic. From his first words he sets it out, frame by frame. The situation whereby us folk gather in a circle stunned by the alien assault and preparing for the next wave of human annihilation. Possibly the circle of “earth people” is world leaders in a United Nations type emergency meeting, but it doesn’t really matter. The greatest existential challenge portrayed in fascinating drama- all in just a few words. Lyrically perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Over the years as I struggled to decipher the lyrics to some of his songs and grasp their meaning, I would have many moments of enlightenment and laugh aloud-did he identify
A handwritten poem and drawing on the back of a concert poster can be yours for $3500. Don gave this to writer Bill Bentley after an interview at the Armadillo Headquarters in 1975 during the Bongo Fury tour. It’s not so much a poem as a collection of Don aphorisms … many of which will be familiar to most fans. Check it out on the Record Mecca website. So, if anyone’s considering buying me a Christmas present this year, look no further. Thanks be to brainpang for the heads up.
Trout Mask Replica promo pack These poems by Don Van Vliet are from a Trout Mask Replica promo pack which was recently auctioned at eBay. I am uncertain whether there was originally a poem for John French as well, but as he was famously uncredited on the album this seems unlikely. Thanks to Gary L. for alerting me to these. Uncut manipulation Uncut magazine for November 2007 has a five page article about, “the men who made Trout Mask Replica and survived. Just…” John French, Bill Harkleroad, Mark Boston and Gary Marker were interviewed by David Cavanagh who paints a lurid picture of the making of