Author: Tom Pickard
Publisher: Flood Editions (2017)
In Fiends Fell, Tom Pickard charts a single year out of a decade spent on a bare hilltop near the English-Scottish border, with the roaring wind as his only guide. In journal entries interspersed with lyrics and poems, as in Japanese haibun, he records his daily life on the fells: landmarks of border balladry, weather and wildlife, bankruptcy and lust, the struggle "between appetite and attainment" (in Basil Bunting's words). The result is, among other things, a record of making, its trials and loneliness, its flashes of humor and sudden grace. It culminates in "Lark & Merlin," one of Pickard's finest sequences. As Ange Mlinko has commented in Poetry, Pickard is "a lyric poet in profound correspondence with his home in the North Pennines and with the erotic muse . . ."