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Winter Migrants

Tom Pickard

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Categories: 21st Century, British
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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Paperback (80 pages)
(Pub. Jul 2016)
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(Pub. Jul 2016)
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  • Description
  • Excerpt
  • Author
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • If I were Creeley
    I’d know what I meant
    and make it a poem.
    But I’m not
    and I don’t
    and I have.

    from ‘For Bob'
    Winter Migrants opens with Tom Pickard’s prize-winning sequence Lark & Merlin, an erotic pursuit over the hills and fells of the poet’s Northern-English homeland. Stotting clough and gill in sneaping winds, leaping burns by backlit larches, waves of sleek grass skiffing mist ... here, says the poet, ‘the weather is overseer’. The borders between body and landscape, desire and object, blur in the mammal heat of pursuit, of a lover, of a self, insatiable and unresolvable. There follows a selection from the Fiends Fell Journals, a haibun or poetry-diary, composed over the decade Pickard lived alone on the wind-blown North Pennines. Short poems dedicated to friends and acerbic, satirical poems lend the second half of Winter Migrants a playful warmth and tonic mischief. As the collection draws to a close, the poems return to the familiar horizon of Solway Firth, the estuary ‘where winter migrants gather in long black lines’, and the world, cooled now both inside and out, quells: a curlew gifts its ‘estuary echo’; gulls make a ‘confetti flurry’ above the shoreline; and clouds, once pale and flitting, pour purple and gold, ‘a mercury whisper of tipped-in light’.
    Pickard grew up in the working-class suburbs of Cowgate, Newcastle upon Tyne, and Blakelaw, and left school at the age of fourteen. Three years later he met Basil Bunting and was instrumental in the older poet's return to writing in the early 1960s, leading to the latter's most acclaimed poem, the ... read more
    Awards won by Tom Pickard Winner, 2017 Writer of the Year, Cumbria Life Culture Awards (Winter Migrants)
    'The poet knows not to look for meaning but to live for experience, which is compelling.'
    Stand Magazine

     'the linguistic ecstasy [...] slipped into the loneliness of the landscape the poet finds himself answering to instead of a lover [...] A lyric poet in profound correspondence with his home in the Pennines and with the erotic muse.'
    Ange Mlinko, Poetry
     '€˜With sharp vision Tom Pickard dissects his gut reaction and reminds us to appreciate the cool clear beauty of our own situation.'
    Paul McCartney
    'In these days of technological wizardry it might be a safe guess to say poets have become rather thin on the ground. I mean to say that there seems to be a surplus of estate agents, bankers, media people, technocrats, lawyers, accountants etc... but the POET... the noble BARD appears to have almost slipped off the map. This is one reason why I'm terribly glad that Tom Pickard is alive and kicking, because in fact he is the living embodiment of '€œpoetdom'€. [...] To try to describe Tom's poems would be pointless. They speak for themselves, in the most powerful and uniquely personal way.'
    Annie Lennox
     'Pickard uses local words and slang authentically. [...] But throughout his work he reaches into a need for a certain strenuous innocence, a resistance to intellectualising, another way of speaking directly to an audience.'
    Eric Mottram
      '€˜I am an old admirer of Tom Pickard's poetry and believe as does Basil Bunting that he is one of the most live and true poetic voices in Great Britain.'
    Allen Ginsberg
    Praise for Tom Pickard 'A voice of finesse and powerful emotion...'
    ' of the most live and true poetic voices in Great Britain...'
    Allen Ginsberg
    '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
    'With sharp vision [Pickard] dissects his gut reaction and reminds us to appreciate the cool clear beauty of our own situation.'
    Paul McCartney
    '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
    '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
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