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PJ Harvey Credit Steve Gullick

PJ Harvey recites Capitain Beefheart poem dedicated to her cat

09 February 2024, 11:37 | Written by Tyler Damara Kelly

During a recent event at an exhibition of Captain Beefheart’s paintings, at London’s Michael Werner Gallery, PJ Harvey paid homage to the artist by reciting one of his poems.

Don Van Vliet – AKA Captain Beefheart – died in 2010, following a long battle with multiple sclerosis. An artist, musician, and pioneer; he inspired numerous artists from Alison Mosshart, to PJ Harvey. In homage to Harvey's cat, Van Vliet wrote the poem, “Man Can’t Anticipate Cat".

During the event, Harvey read the poem aloud to attendees, and introduced it by saying: “Don loved cats. You might know of Garland. He wrote a song about his own cat called Hey Garland, I Dig Your Tweed Coat, which was on Ice Cream For Crow. My cat was named Garden, probably sort of in homage to Garland, and he moved in with me when I was living in Bristol.”

Harvey also said: “Thank you to the Michael Werner Gallery for inviting me to read Don’s poems. It was a privilege to be able to give life to his words whilst standing amongst his paintings. Thanks also to Jan Van Vliet who helped me prepare for the reading, and for sending me a poem Don had written for me in 2001, called ‘Man Can’t Anticipate Cat’, which I read at the end of the night.”

The Don Van Vliet: Standing on One Hand exhibition runs until 17 February at Michael Werner Gallery, London. For more information, visit

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