Tom Pickard Biography
(1946– ), High on the Walls, The Order of Chance, Dancing under Fire, Custom and Exile
Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Ellis’ [Edith Mary Pargeter] ‘Peters Biography to Portrait of Dora (Portrait de Dora)
British poet, born in Gateshead, Newcastle upon Tyne; he attended local schools until the age of 16. In 1963 he founded the Morden Tower Book Room, where many notable poetry readings were held. He was directly instrumental in ending the obscurity that surrounded Basil Bunting, whom he sought out for advice when he began writing poetry. High on the Walls (1967) was his first collection of poems; among his succeeding volumes are The Order of Chance (1971), Dancing under Fire (1973), and Custom and Exile (1985), which contains ‘Spring Tide’, his fine elegy for Bunting. Hero Dust (1979) is a selected edition containing much previously uncollected work, including poems from The Jarrow March, his radio documentary broadcast in 1976. His early work was widely admired for its precise imagery, its sensitive musicality, and its remarkable fusions of political and personal concerns. The mythic dimensions of Dancing under Fire demonstrated an increase in imaginative range. His later verse displays a widening cultural frame of reference. Tiepin Eros: New and Selected Poems appeared in 1994. His other works include Guttersnipe (1972), a collection of largely autobiographical prose pieces.