I hope this newsletter finds you well and thriving. It is a lovely day here in the valley, two weeks until Christmas and has the outer idea of Christmas ever felt less so? With the current money grab from shops and media in full effect, I think it’s down to us as individuals to be bold and have the lives we want, especially over the coming weeks. Winter is a generally a more reflective time, my current thinking is very much about how we take our lives back from the sensationalists, politicians and those who believe themselves to be taste makers, and how to have a deepening authentic experience which starts in my own body - which is not about which phone I have, The X Factor final, or what I think of the banking system.
Poetry, Literature and Art are part of the remedy. The Arts remind and inspire us, reflect and help shape us. In tight times the arts are often seen as add-ons to life, when in fact they are our means of expression of it. I hope this season is kind to you and that you have love, light and grounding in your life. Speak to you in the New Year.
You’ve got to get in to get out
The world will impinge into your need
for silence, into your prayers. In the hardest seconds
of your life, your neighbours will be drunk,
booming hip-hop through thin inconvenient walls.
At the lighting of your candles, in the moment
you need to focus – the apex of your flame,
the voice of the Holy Spirit, someone
will be vacuuming, talking, ringing up change,
a bin wagon bleeping as it reverses, builders
swearing into the distance you put by pulling into
yourself. It sounds like they are calling your name.
© John Siddique 2009
From ‘Recital – An Almanac’ (SALT)
If you are thinking about a book for yourself or as a present this Yuletime – Please consider RECITAL or one of my other books as a gift. Order through any good bookshop, from SALT or from Amazon.
Also it has just been released as a downloadable audiobook by the ever-creative people at SALT. You can buy individual poems or the whole book. http://tinyurl.com/recitalaudio. As a little treat I’ve put three of the poems on the Recital page on my own website so you can take a listen, I have also put one of the pieces on YouTube so please stop by and take a look, feel free to embed it on your blog or webpage. http://tinyurl.com/yzdggu4
A number of people have written to me requesting signed copies of the book recently, I’m always more than happy to do this. If you are thinking of a copy in time for Christmas – don’t delay getting in touch.
Some Writings and Interviews.
Two poems appear in the new Anthology ‘RED’ from Peepal Tree - the book will launch 14th Feb 2010. http://tinyurl.com/PeepalRED
'Recital' - A Major Review
Dr Claire Chambers of Leeds Met has given 'Recital' a wonderful review. She will be writing about the book and my work further in her upcoming book. She discusses 'Recital' as a national text. You can read the review online at http://tinyurl.com/recitalchambers
I hope you enjoy it, and if you think it would be of interest to anyone you know please feel free to pass it on. I depend on readers to spread the word.
I was interviewed on Classic FM recently about Poetry, Creativity and Young People - http://tinyurl.com/yk5kks6
There is an new in depth interview in The Argotist about 'Recital' and my writing and artistic life. http://tinyurl.com/y9t5ckm
My piece on Joyce's ‘Ulysses’ and its place in my life and why you should read it; is now online at the mighty NormBlog. http://bit.ly/177YUP
My latest book is discussed over at the SALTblog. http://tinyurl.com/ye59v9t
Readings & Appearances
27 Jan, MyVoice at Blackburn Library,
with Daljit Nagra, Blackburn. 1pm
17 Feb, Northwich Library,
Witton Street, Northwich, Cheshire. 7.30 pm
20 Mar, Northamptonshire Readers Day
I have found a new office and am writing to you from it today, I’m right in the centre of Hebden Bridge and I have to say how lovely it is to walk to work every morning. Moving has had the effect I wanted, home feels more like home, and I’m cracking on with lots of writing and marketing when I’m at work. As I look from my window it’s a lovely early winter day and the river is just a few yards away.. wonderful. Thank you to everyone who offered advice and help during my search.
Connecting Classrooms is a project I’m running in Blackburn with a number of Gifted and Talented Children which links with schools in Bangladesh and Pakistan with the aim of exploring what creativity really is, and using it to aid the young people have a sense of belonging in their hometowns whilst sharing & collaborating with schools abroad on materials. The project is run by SEMA and funded by The British Council phase one took place in October and phase two will run through January.
I am also still very keen to run poetry and creative days schools and as ever am glad to her from schools who would like for their young people to get more out of creative reading, writing and language. I’m now happy to take bookings for January onwards.
Have a good day
Books by John Siddique
Recital – An Almanac (Salt)
Poems from a Northern Soul (Crocus)
Don’t wear it on your head, don’t stick it down your pants (Peepal Tree)
Four Fathers (ROUTE)
The Prize (Rialto)
Children’s website at www.johnsiddique.co.uk/kids
Follow me at http://twitter.com/johnsiddique
‘The hardest thing in this world is to live in it, be brave, live.’
Joss Whedon - Buffy The Vampire Slayer ‘The Gift’