For Tom Pickard poetry is a free, and freeing, space. His pen ‘demands / complete autonomy’, and finds it as it explores both harsh and lyrical realities with a northern working-class sensibility. A lifelong counter-cultural figure, Pickard transcends formal and thematic barriers with a lightness of touch that is informed both by anger and by love.
‘His ear for rhythm is exceedingly delicate, his syntax strong and terse, and his vocabulary free of fancy work. He seems able to select at will the detail which creates a whole scene or action.’ –Basil Bunting ‘”A fierce tenderness” is a very apt description of Pickard’s work. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered poems that are so hardhitting at one level and so tender and compassionate at another.’ –Stephen Regan ‘With sharp vision [Pickard] dissects his gut reaction and reminds us to appreciate the cool clear beauty of our own situation.’ –Paul McCartney ‘Through the heart and mind and a concoction of senses, the poet attempts to distil everything down to word… without more ado I would like to introduce you to a collection of poems by Mr Tom Pickard, otherwise known as Tam O’ Red Shirt.’ –Annie Lennox ‘…one of the most live and true poetic voices in Great Britain…’ Allen Ginsberg ‘A voice of finesse and powerful emotion…’ Guardian
About the Author
Tom Pickard was born in 1946 in Newcastle. He became friends with the poet Basil Bunting and encouraged his return to writing. In 1963, Pickard founded the Morden Tower readings with international poets such as Allen Ginsberg. Pickard moved to London in 1973 and started writing radio and documentary scripts. His publications include High on the Walls (1968) and Ballad of Jamie Allan (2007), which was a finalist for the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award.