The Last Interview: A Single-Sentence Performance on the Subject of Polly Jean Harvey

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An image is provided which depicts a person planting a tree. The individual is kneeling in the grass and using a shovel to dig a hole for the sapling. The sun is shining and the sky is blue, providing a beautiful backdrop for the scene.

In the March 7, 1970 issue of the New Yorker, Donald Barthelme’s “Sentence,” a story about matrimony and other matters, was published.

This piece of writing was a continuous exhalation of words that not only had meaning for the author, but also became a kind of brilliant verbal object, recognizable to all writers.

Similarly, Gertrude Stein’s sentences were so beautiful, they could be put on one’s knee and stay awhile.

Her narrative interest in detailing the lives of personalities, as well as her commitment to individuality and sameness, however, has led to her being mostly unread by many.

For performers, the paper performance often creates a physical dialectic, as they need immediate attention and desire to change one’s mind.

This was the case for Polly Jean Harvey, who, along with John Parish, had just released their second collaboration, A Woman A Man Walked By.

A few weeks after watching her concert, the narrator still could not sleep, still thinking of her; her black hair and red lips, her black coat and black shawl, and the conversation they had in the white van on the way to dinner.

The narrator recognized they could not be “objective” about Polly, as performers tend to dislike being observed and analyzed.

As the interview came to an end, the narrator felt they could no longer be a journalistic audience in this way, and all they wanted to do was listen to the music. The banjo and ukulele sounded like fragments of misremembered tunes, and Polly’s voice was a perfect accompaniment.

The narrator realized that attention was support, and that they could no longer ask the questions they were supposed to ask.

Upon leaving, the narrator thought of the new beginnings for performers, no matter how many times they’ve done it before, and the idea of creating a tribe of the people they meet from the stage.

As they walked in the rain, the narrator declared that they would rather kiss someone than write what they think ever again. They envisioned their non-existent wife holding their non-existent baby and eventually made their way to the concert.

There, they felt their own breath fill the stage, and said goodbye to all the performers, knowing they could no longer ask them questions.

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An alternative way to express this is to suggest that the structure of the text should be altered while still preserving the same context and meaning. This approach ensures that plagiarism is avoided.

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