Tuesday, 28 October 2008
well done apple, you lost a sale with me, how many more i wonder..
Sunday, 26 October 2008
My first book has just been reprinted, a box of books arrived saturday morning to much excitement….it now has a new colour cover, and quotes by Jackie Kay and Catherine Smith on the back..
‘John Siddique's poetry takes the reader on a journey, crossing the border country between love and loss, he charts his family's untold stories. Interested in exploring opposite worlds and seeming contradictions, his poetry is a brilliant balancing act. Sometimes steamy, often moving, The Prize is a bold, brave book with a big, open heart.’ - Jackie Kay
'John Siddique's writing is playful and poignant. It explores the complexities of a fragmented world - of sex, family, loss and dream-life - with such clear-eyed, unsentimental candour that I go back to certain poems time and again for another immersion. He's not afraid of writing about love, its pain and rewards, its sudden, shocking forces and darkly funny epiphanies - and his poems demonstrate a generosity and humanity so often lacking in more brittle, defensive writers.' - Catherine Smith
The poems are the same.. I resisted the temptation to tweak or change anything. It is so nice that my first baby is available again. If you missed it last time round now's your chance - order it from you local bookshop...
It has only taken me 17 years, but just heard I've had a poem accepted for Poetry Review - and it's one of my 'naughty' ones from a new series of pieces I've been working on, don't know when it will be out yet, but I honestly never thought I'd get published in that particular magazine, I’ve just sent a few things once a year, every year, just kept on knocking at the door.
John Siddique entertained the lunchtime crowd with readings from his own and others’ work. The poet was in a good mood, having just signed the contract for his fifth collection, Recital, with the UK’s fastest growing independent press, Salt. The book will be out next March and launched at the Portrait Gallery
Not only is Siddique a very talented poet, but he’s clearly very passionate about the subject. He doesn’t simply write and give readings but organises many poetry-based activities, talking and teaching in schools, prisons, youth centres and at literary festivals. This passion translates into beautiful poems about the things that are important to him: family, upbringing, relationships, memories; snapshots of moments, deftly painted: ‘That bed, spread with colour like a Klimt kiss/ We are wrapped in cloth, wrapped in glist/ Bound up with each other. Jigsaw pieces of arms.’ He believes people should be able to relate to what a poet is saying, that poetry shouldn’t just be for the cognoscenti, obscure and difficult to decode.
Nothing brings poetry alive like being read, especially by the person who has written it and is intimate with the rhythms and nuances. Siddique reads very well. He has a gentle, lilting voice and there is genuine emotion in the delivery. Poems from The Prize, Poems from a Northern Soul and Don’t Wear it on Your Head, Don’t Stick it Down your Pants, his children’s collection, were read, as well as a couple of poems from the upcoming Recital. On stage, he’s a natural – so it came as no surprise to hear his first publishing deal was a result of being spotted by The Rialto while performing at a festival open mike.
Siddique introduced each poem, outlining the ideas that had sparked it and what it signified -- insights like these always add to a reading. Most powerful was ‘Variola’, a poem about family, partition and the immigrant experience which he infused with the complex feelings the poem explores. We also got a sneak preview of part of a new poem ‘The National Front’, , that speaks of growing up in NF-stronghold Rochdale. The poem is hard-hitting and very effective. Siddique says he tries to steer away from painful subjects like racism but that somehow they always end up finding a voice. As did his views on the current economic crisis – he asked the audience to think about what kind of lives they wanted to live, with or without art, so they could consider what art actually added -- an important question. As he says so well in the poem ‘Making it Up’, ‘Paint yourself the heart you desire. Pin it/on your jumper, be proud of your colours./Pin it fast and don't mind the rain./Write yourself the love you love. Hold that/paper tight in your hand. Unfold it often/read your plan aloud in sun and in snow.’
It’s not just his own work he’s enthusiastic about; the reading included pieces from some of the poets whose portraits hang in the NPG – Wilfred Owen, Louis MacNeice, D.H. Lawrence. When he offered to do a walking tour of the gallery, Ghose jumped at it, and this event will take place at some point in the new year.
After the session was over, John carried on reading to those who didn’t have to rush off, even a poem straight from his notebook, unrevised, written on the train down – and it was wonderful.
His book The Prize (Rialto) is being reprinted this November and there are many who’ll be glad to get their hands on a copy as it sold out rapidly first time round, much to the publisher’s surprise. If the reaction of this audience is anything to go by, the new book will sell even faster.
Sunday, 19 October 2008
I'm just finishing this book, read a big chunk of it today whilst on a plane which included the following excerpt, which left me breathless, yes there is a certain cynical aspect to it, but there is a lot of truth here too, such a strange book, obtuse, full of half stories and rotten behaviour, and then there is this, which is a bit like revealing a secret about all of us men.. but like I said there is an aspect which I just don’t think is so, not in this poet anyway..
'With each new woman that a man is attracted to there appears to come a broadening of the outlook, or, if you like, an acquiring of new territory. A turn of the eyebrow, a tone of the voice, a queer
characteristic gesture--all these things, and it is these things that
cause to arise the passion of love--all these things are like so many
objects on the horizon of the landscape that tempt a man to walk
beyond the horizon, to explore. He wants to get, as it were, behind
those eyebrows with the peculiar turn, as if he desired to see the
world with the eyes that they overshadow. He wants to hear that
voice applying itself to every possible proposition, to every
possible topic; he wants to see those characteristic gestures against
every possible background. Of the question of the sex-instinct I
know very little and I do not think that it counts for very much in
a really great passion. It can be aroused by such nothings--by an
untied shoelace, by a glance of the eye in passing-- that I think it
might be left out of the calculation. I don't mean to say that any
great passion can exist without a desire for consummation. That
seems to me to be a commonplace and to be therefore a matter
needing no comment at all. It is a thing, with all its accidents, that
must be taken for granted, as, in a novel, or a biography, you take
it for granted that the characters have their meals with some
regularity. But the real fierceness of desire, the real heat of a
passion long continued and withering up the soul of a man is the
craving for identity with the woman that he loves. He desires to
see with the same eyes, to touch with the same sense of touch, to
hear with the same ears, to lose his identity, to be enveloped, to be
supported. For, whatever may be said of the relation of the sexes,
there is no man who loves a woman that does not desire to come to
her for the renewal of his courage, for the cutting asunder of his
difficulties. And that will be the mainspring of his desire for her.
We are all so afraid, we are all so alone, we all so need from the
outside the assurance of our own worthiness to exist. So, for a
time, if such a passion come to fruition, the man will get what he
wants. He will get the moral support, the encouragement, the relief
from the sense of loneliness, the assurance of his own worth. But
these things pass away; inevitably they pass away as the shadows
pass across sundials. It is sad, but it is so. The pages of the book
will become familiar; the beautiful corner of the road will have
been turned too many times. Well, this is the saddest story. And
yet I do believe that for every man there comes at last a woman--or
no, that is the wrong way of formulating it. For every man there
comes at last a time of life when the woman who then sets her
seal upon his imagination has set her seal for good.'
and the lovely people at Ginosko asked me to let you know that they are accepting short fiction & poetry, creative non-fiction, interviews and excerpts for the 8th issue of the literary journal Ginosko, the winter issue.
Editorial lead time 1-2 months; accept simultaneous submissions and reprints; length flexible. Receives postal submissions & email—prefer email submissions as attachments in Microsoft Works Word Processor.
Publishing as semiannual ezine, winter & summer. Selecting material from ezine for printed anthology.
Copyright reverts to author.
Check downloadable issues on website for style & tone: http://www.ginoskoliteraryjournal.com/
Use latest version of Adobe Reader.
ezine circulation 4000+. Website traffic 750-1000 hits/month.
Also looking for artwork, photography, to post on website and links to exchange.
Book/CD ads $60/6months, $90/12 months.
To perceive, understand, realize, come to know; knowledge that has an inception, a progress, an attainment. The recognition of truth by experience.
Member CLMP. Listed in Best of the Web 2008.
Ginosko Literary Journal
Robert Paul Cesaretti, Editor
PO Box 246
Fairfax CA 94978
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
THE POETRY SCHOOL
A one day workshop with John Siddique
People Amongst People
Tai Chi Village Hall Didsbury M20 2GH
People, love them or hate them, life is all about relating as part of the dynamic ebb and flow amongst people. In this workshop we will be looking at Portraiture in poetry. Looking at how to draw and paint people and ourselves in words, using the everyday and the personal, as well as the cool eye of the poet and artist to save us from the trap of sentimentalism. We will look a great examples of existent poems and create our own pieces, looking at how word choice, form, voice and layering can build a picture of a life, or a snapshot of someone at a particular point in time
Fee for course: £56 (£37) free lunch included
To book, phone 0207 582 1679
For more information: http://www.poetryschool.com/
John Siddique Reading at Sedbergh Festival Sept 2008
Originally uploaded by John Siddique
full swing into the autumn, and I hope your not to dizzy with the way the pace of things suddenly picks up at this time of year. I have included my poem for National Poetry Day here, please feel free to send it where you will, you can even send an e-card of it from the official Poetry Day website. The theme this year is work, so I have pulled this poem from ‘The Prize,’ which is written from the immigrant’s perspective, I think you may have seen this poem before, but since it is being used for the day I thought I would post it again.
I have some lovely events coming up, Talking about Pablo Neruda in Blackpool, and Reading for Poetry Day at The National Portrait Gallery, A trip to Vienna to read at Shakespeare and Co. there and a literary lunch and reading at the Ted Hughes Festival, more details below, but I do hope to see you somewhere on the road. I hope it’s sunny at least where you are, Yorkshire seems to be quite schizophrenic with it’s light and weather at the minute.
We will work
where they will not.
We will learn
where they refuse.
They talk amongst themselves,
say we steal their jobs.
© John Siddique - From 'The Prize' (Rialto)
'Simple Economics' E card - this poem is being used to promote national poetry day, you can send it as an e card from www.nationalpoetryday.co.uk and you will be able to watch a film of the poem on BBC Bigscreens across the UK as well as the Blackpool website www.blackpool.gov.uk/arts youtube, and my website
I will be introducing the work of Pablo Neruda and screening ‘Il Postino,’ at Blackpool Odeon on 8th October at 6pm, This is part of the Wordpool festival. And the reason for talking about Pablo Neruda, simply love of the great man’s work and wanting to share it with others.
National Poetry Day (9th October)
I have filmed a poem and an interview which will be used by Blackpool Schools to trigger some creative writing for their pupils, a kind of online poetry workshop if you wil, you can view these videos from www.blackpool.gov.uk/arts please feel free to use this resource if you work in a school or run poetry workshops.
The same poem ‘Simple Economics’ from ‘The Prize’ will be shown on the Poetry Society’s National Poetry Day page, it will also be available as an audio download.
National Portrait Gallery
On National Poetry Day I will be giving a reading at 1.00pm at the National Portrait Gallery, I will be reading from my own work, a few favourite by poets I admire and talking about what the job of a poet in the 21st century entails.
I will be giving a reading of new work and a handful of favourites at Shakespeare and Co on 16th October at 7.30pm, I will be joined by my dear friend Michi Gabriel, who will be reading from her latest chapbook. If you’ve not been to this amazing bookshop it is well worth checking out. Sterngasse 2, 1010 Innere Stadt, Vienna.
Ilkley Literature Festival
I will be interviewing Michael Symonds Roberts and John Burnside before a live audience, talking about their work, the books they love and what it means to be both a novelist and poet at Ilkley Literature Festival, in the Playhouse Theatre on 12th October at 2.45pm
Ted Hughes Festival
on Sunday 26th October Amanda Dalton and myself will be guests at a literary lunch held in Mytholmroyd, the place of Hughes’ birth, we will be talking about the his work and its relationship to the landscape and our own writing, and we will both be reading from our own works. The lunch takes place at The Dusty Miller pub at 12.30pm. google ‘The Elmet Trust for further information, please note the poems on a train event is cancelled due to works on the railway line. Other highlights of the festival are readings and talks by Frieda Hughes, Andrew Motion and Lemn Sissay.
The Prize is being republished very soon now by Rialto, and it now has a colour cover and a wonderful quote on the back from the lovely Jackie Kay who says, ‘John Siddique's poetry takes the reader on a journey, crossing the border country between love and loss, he charts his family's untold stories. Interested in exploring opposite worlds and seeming contradictions, his poetry is a brilliant balancing act. Sometimes steamy, often moving, The Prize is a bold, brave book with a big, open heart.’
A new poem ‘Cold water,’ appears in the new issue of The Rialto.
Dresscode magazine is out this month containing the poem ‘Naked’ and a very nice new pic of yours truly.
I am afraid given my current schedule, I will only be working in a few schools over the autumn, but I am happy to book things in for 2009, if you represent a school and would like a visit for a reading or workshop, please get in touch sooner rather than later.
Keep on keeping on
More info at www.johnsiddique.co.uk
Children’s website at www.johnsiddique.co.uk/kids
'In a world of universal deceit,
telling the truth is a revolutionary act.'
- George Orwell
Sunday, 5 October 2008
current reading pile (autumn 2008)
Originally uploaded by John Siddique
this is my current to be read pile. am trying to get through these by xmas..
attacking 4 of them this week on my travels, what maisie knew, metamorphosis, glister, and breath. thankfully there is lots of traveling on trains and planes, and in between bits in my job... looking fwd to the' spankdaddy' book, as I'm going to need some trash after all the literature.
Wednesday, 1 October 2008
Wonderful Words - Cornwall
Originally uploaded by John Siddique
Poet Mac Dunlop, Exeter crime novelist Simon Hall, author Patrick Gale of Penwith, Chaired by poet and writer, John Siddique, at the “Reader’s Day” panel discussion, part of Cornwall Library’s “Wonderful Words” Festival in September.