The New Writing Series, in collaboration with the Honors College, is proud to welcome British poet Tom Pickard to the University of Maine for a performance of his work at 8pm on Wednesday, October 8, in the Minsky Recital Hall. The reading is free & open to the public. Doors open at 7:30pm.
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READ ABOUT THE BALLAD OF JAMIE ALLAN AT CRITICAL MASS
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Tom Pickard is a Northumbrian poet who has also written for radio, television, and recently—with his “folk opera” Ballad of Jamie Allan—for the stage. Active in the British poetry scene since the early 1960s, and closely associated with American poets like Allen Ginsberg, Robert Creeley, and Ed Dorn, Pickard is the author of many books, including Hole in the Wall: New & Selected Poems, Dark Days of May, and The Ballad of Jamie Allan. His most recent books have come out from the Chicago-based publisher Flood Editions. Pickard wraps up a US tour that has included stops at Berkeley, Chicago, and Yale with his reading here at the University of Maine.
“Jamie Allan was a celebrated Scottish musician, regaling royalty with his pipes, and when not doing that, stealing horses, breaking out of jail, repeatedly deserting from the army (only after receiving his pay for signing up) and taking up with his niece. Despite all his scrapes with the law, he managed to stay alive well into his 70s, when he died in his cell. What Pickard does so well in his re-telling of Allan’s life is to render some of the crimes in plain terms, with the sort of shoulder-shrugging a minimum-wage employee would use to talk about his day at work, and others with bravado and humor, such as when Allan skips out of the military with pay in hand and buys himself a new set of clothes. This approach is understandable. Jamie Allan could be called a subsistence criminal; he does what he does to survive, not out of aspirations of becoming a kingpin.”—Oscar Villalon, San Francisco Review book editor
The UMaine New Writing Series is sponsored by the English Department and the National Poetry Foundation with support from the Lloyd H. Elliot fund, the Milton Ellis Fund (Diane Williams reading), the Honors College (Tom Pickard reading), and the Cultural Affairs/Distinguished Lecture Series Committee.