One of the country’s greatest working poets, Tom Pickard was born in Newcastle. In his teens he met Basil Bunting, and encouraged him to pick up his pen again, leading to the publication of Bunting’s most famous poem, Briggflatts. Tom and Connie Pickard set up the Morden Tower reading series, bookshop and performance space in Newcastle in the 1960s, where famous poets, musicians and artists from all over the world have gathered and performed ever since. Tom’s first book, High on the Walls, was first published in 1967, and much work – including prose work and films – followed.
In this reading, Tom presents poems from across the range of his work including an elegy to Basil Bunting and a selection from his folk opera The Ballad of Jamie Allen, which recounts the story of a notorious border character who died in prison under Elvet Bridge, a few yards from where the reading took place.
His eagerly-awaited collected poems and songs, Hoyoot, is due out this year on Carcanet Press.