Thursday, 31 July 2008

Blackpool Council - Memories of Blackpool

Most people have a memory of Blackpool. This may be something from many years ago when the town was the main holiday destination for local factory workers and their families. Perhaps a more recent event has made an impact on you. Either way, John Siddique, Blackpool's Poet in Residence, invites people to share their memories with him at Palatine Library on Monday 11 August between 11.00 and 12.30.  

John is especially interested in seeing photographs or pictures of Blackpool that hold special memories for people and, to aid discussion, he would like people to bring these with them to the session.  

A further reminiscence session with John will be held at Layton Library on September 24 from 2.00 - 3.30pm.   Please contact Jane Brooks on 01253 478091 or Lynne Pattinson on 01253 478238 for further details.

Blackpool Council - News - Memories of Blackpool

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

christopop : My Telegraph

 

National Year of Reading 2008

Friday, July 18, 2008, 08:07 PM GMT [Creative Writing]

At the end of this month we shall have reached almost the halfway point of the nationally-designated Year of Reading.

I imagine that in all boroughs & counties (dependent on the local government structure in your area), from April to December, each month will have been designated as following the same theme, and in July we have reached the Rhythm & Rhyme stage. 

In Blackpool, for the first time I have ever known it, we have a man who earns his living from writing poetry, talking about poetry, and encouraging others (and not only schoolchildren) to write poetry - John Siddique who organised a series of events in 2007 under the general heading Wordpool with such success that he has been invited back from June to December 2008.

A Town Laureate or Writer in Residence has been commonplace in places with rather more "artistic pedigree" than Blackpool, but grasping this unusual opportunity has become important, and locals are getting more out of it than they dreamed was possible, especially Forces' Veterans both local and from elsewhere who created a great deal of reminiscence work with JS during National Veterans' Week at the end of June.

With school holidays upon us, there are lots of poetry workshops to attend, August is designated Read the Game, with September following up with You Are What You Read, examining how our ideas and world view are formed in part by what we read.

The successful Wordpool which brought together scores of people to work on a more permanent memento in words will follow in October with A.L. Kennedy, Terry Caffrey and John Siddique leading.  One idea is to create a work to be engraved into a prominent place - say The Promenade in front of The Tower - as a lasting tribute to Blackpool from its townsfolk.

Further visits by writers - Ian Rankin and Quentin Jardine, for instance - in November (Screen Reads or books translated into cinema) and December which is designated Write the Future month, and may unearth some of the next generations SciFi authors.

It will be worth your while to discover what the borough or county library service in partnership with your local authority has planned for your area.

The National Year of Reading is not only for children - see if it can inspire you.

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christopop : My Telegraph

Hebden's Beautiful Sundial


Hebden's Beautiful Sundial
Originally uploaded by John Siddique

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

My Peaches

'if you don't like my peaches, why do you shake my tree.'

quote from 'Diamonds are Forever.' by Ian Fleming

Burlesque Illumination


Burlesque Illumination
Originally uploaded by John Siddique

in colour this is just another lurid Blackpool illumination, but I like it in black and white. perhaps the way we see things, or want to see things, bigger, more colour, more immediate, makes the world less beautiful.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

I'm keeping some kind of record


Fish & Chips
Originally uploaded by John Siddique

'Don't trust anybody who'd rather be grammatically correct than have a good time.'
- Tom Robbins

Sunday, 20 July 2008

home, home again...


Under Fleetwood Pier "Black & White"
Originally uploaded by John Siddique

That is it, teaching is over for a while, and so I arrived home on friday after 3 months of really putting my own writing on hold so that I could earn money for the next period. Given that poetry is an insane thing to do for a job anyway, I have to supplement my writing income by teaching.

I entered the house and breathed out, during the day my being had been throwing me poems, I think in preparation for the return, at one point I had to pull the car over to write the beginning of a poem, it's lines were so insistent.

The next week will involve allowing myself to get deeper in to the writing life again, I'll read some interviews in the Paris Review, Listen to Bookworm, read some poetry (Whitman, Bracho, Olds, Neruda.) and immerse myself.

I want to say thanks to the Daily Telegraph on mentioning my poet in residence thang in Blackpool, watch out for the next treat as there is going to be John Siddique Blackpool Rock, i kid you not, you'll be able to get a stick of rock with my picture on, and the words 'Poetry Rocks' all the way through it... mind yr teeth though.

This poet's life like many writers is spent with a lot of alone time, to dwell in the creative zones, however there have been lots of guests through the house this week, and it is lovely to have the flow of life moving in the house. I think I have been too reclusive over the last few years, and so I'm working against that tendency these days. It's all a matter of balance as everything is of course, as to go too far the other way takes away the rich space to work in... but balance one must, for we must live life in order to write about it.

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Tuesday, 15 July 2008

2.58 A.M.

woken up by poem tapping at the glass of my being, need to sleep, have teaching tomorrow, but I have to honour the late night visitor, or else I won't rememeber in the morning, and what if it is no good.......... I need to sleep. Then I guess it is better to have written the poem than not, there is no way of knowing if they are good or bad, but it is creative at least, and that is a thing to be glad of..

goodnight..

Monday, 14 July 2008

Sylvia Plath's Grave


Sylvia Plath's Grave
Originally uploaded by John Siddique

Out for a walk the other day, thought I'd go up the hill to get some thinking time and a bit of space. This is about a mile from where i live, and there are often people who go to Heptonstall just to visit Sylvia. I wonder why, why do I go up there, and why do the others. Like with the Bronte House just over in Howarth.. hmmm

For me I go over to Howarth because Wuthering Heights left an indelible mark on my spirit.. With Sylvia Plath, she is not my favourite poet, but there is an aura which draws one, also the churchyard up there is beautiful and strange.

I have a day off today, then most of the rest of the week is back on the creative writing wagon, so today my simple goal is to read a few poems, and to just sit with them, I'm also rereading The Little Prince, just to remind me of what is important..

Friday, 11 July 2008

The School Run

This time of year, I get asked to do a lot of creative writing in schools, which is great, but man - I tell you - no writing of my own stuff gets done, and if it weren't for keeping up with my morning pages, meditation and going for walks when possible, I'd forget my own name. So to all of us who do the Artist's working with education thang at this time of year, a toast to us all.. only a couple of weeks to go.... but then will the oh my god what shall I do, what if the money runs out.. panic.. comes in..

blessings

John

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Write hard and clear about what hurts. 
- Ernest Hemingway

A poetic return

I've been keeping this record for a good few years - and in recent times simply because of the pressure of work I have been unable to write here. I think also a lot of what I notice each day is better saved for poetry, so in recent weeks I had been considering closing the blog down. In many ways the last year has changed my personal life significantly, and where once i would have written it all up here in a kind of personal soap opera, I now find myself a much more private person, which is deeply enjoyable, and saves the juice for the writing.

I am not closing the blog, it will no doubt come and go a bit as I continue to grow and change as a human being and an artist, but change is what it is all about and this blog has reflected much of that change over its time. This really is a new period of life for me, and it is a scary new beginning, in which I am trying to be open to the unknown. my life and career so far have been forged by sheer determination, but for this poet, that is not enough of a life, and so for the last while it has been about being present, and working from the roots, not running around looking busy like a prime minister keeping us in check with tales of terror and horror.. apparently understanding the roots of a thing and acting effectively, rather than looking busy and doing nothing much is the first habit of a highly effective person - according to Stephen R Covey, must read the book one of these days, and see what the other six are.

wishing you liberty and contentment in your life

John

YES video - from The Prize