In part a chronicle of misfortune and heartbreak, The Dark Months of May tells of life on the run. With his characteristic bawdiness and sonic aplomb, Pickard seeks refuge in the geography of British border ballads, accompanied by eighteenth-century horse thieves and “desperate reprobates.” There, he finds only cold consolation: “leave me now and let me sleep / your thieving words are all I’ll keep.”

“I love the way each pulse of the indivisible sentence, here in The Dark Months of May, echoes Hardy, when bitterness referred to a virtue, and the strict ticks of a mind hearing what it sees makes syntax as saintly as it is. It reminds me of an old romantic recording, static and dry and incorruptibly noted.” —Fanny Howe

“Through the heart and mind and a concoction of senses, the poet attempts to distill everything down to word, visually, rhythmically, and sonically. In this way the poem speaks a new language of the soul. Allowing us to enter through a new portal of consciousness perhaps, or at least, giving us a moment’s pause for reflection. To try to describe Tom’s poems would be pointless. They speak for themselves, in the most powerful and uniquely personal way. So without much 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