Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Birch Moon

'Who Are We When We Are So Full Of Questions?'

Birch Moon is Taken from the book Recital - An Almanac

Written, Produced & Spoken by John Siddique
Music by Katie Chatburn
Animation and Concept by Travis Sheflin
Art Direction, Supervision, & Co-production by Walter Santucci

Birch Moon is one of a series of 13 animated films based on a sequence of poems from Recital - An Almanac (Salt). The poems are based on the Full Moons of the year and the Celtic mythology which names each moon after a letter in the ancient tree alphabet. Birch Moon is a Shamanic poem in that it seeks though the meaning of the text and the rhythm of the poetry to create a space in which awareness can evolve and healing can take place.

The film was created when I was British Council Poet in Residence at California State University in Los Angeles. Made with determination, love,  and goodwill. Animation director Walter Santucci, his students, friends and myself set to work before passing the pieces to composer Katie Chatburn. My aim was to give each artist a free hand in what they came up with in response to the poems, interjecting as lightly as possible.

Another new film will be released at the next full moon.

Please support our work by sharing this film far and wide. You can also support future work such as this by picking up a copy of Recital through your local bookstore, it is important for the future of the arts that we also act in the offline world. If you would like to show this film at a screening, festival or as a TV broadcast - please get in touch as we are keen for the work to be seen.

A few thoughts on Libraries

Today the news is all full of threats of cuts to libraries, and as one who would not be here if it were not for his local library  (and librarian who would help him choose books every week) when growing up; I can’t help feeling we’re now deliberately making the country as ugly as possible to scare people away. 

It is so easy to take priceless things for granted, to think they have no value. We must take the ‘online offline’ with the arts. I know library stocks are not what they used to be; our library got rid of a lot of books to have a computer bank, when the computers could have gone in an annexe and no books be lost. All the same, it’s down to use it or loose it in so much of life now. 

So let’s go take some books out. We could even take poetry books out, amongst other things. Facebook & Twitter noise is helpful but we have to act in the real world too.. Perhaps we should really be asking the question why do our councils need chief execs, if we scrap them we could invest in libraries and librarians.. Things and people which actually contribute something.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

What a year that was, and what a year this will be

Some of the things I got up to over the last 12 months:

A memoir piece for Granta - Six Snapshots of Partition

Thirst a Poetry Film based on a poem from my upcoming collection FULL BLOOD
(we hope to have this film available for you again soon - just a few tweaks happening)

Elder Moon - An Animated Poetry Film from Recital - An Almanac

Images from a commission for a poem in light, for Canterbury Poetry City

Lustre - A Poetry Film commissioned by Manchester Literature Festival and Art Gallery
plus you can download the whole series of commissioned poems here, along with works by Jeanette Winterson anDing Liying.

Images of a poem for Blackpool enshrined in knitting.

'Every Atom' was commissioned by iMove, Alchemy and London 2012 and choreographed and performed with Northern School of Contemporary Dance in the summer, and published in Poetry Review in the winter.

My Children's Book - Don't wear It On Your Head was published by SALT..

and some columns on the poetic life on The View From Here blog

What a year that was..

............and so this year..

there will be Poetry Anthologised in:
The Harper Collins Book of English Poetry by Indians - Harper Collins
Soul Feathers (poetry for MacMillan Cancer Support) - Indigo Dreams
Out Of Bounds - Ed. Jackie Kay - Bloodaxe

the new collection Full Blood from will be out from Salt. Ten years in the writing, while also writing my other books, and marking my twentieth year as a writer.. so this is a year of celebrating big style. 

Lots of live events and readings celebrating Full Blood and a writing life of two decades and counting.

Running a brand new series of poetry writing days in my home town of Hebden Bridge, come and point at the tourists and be poetic at the same time ;-)

...and the continuation of the Moon Poems animated films series. 
Check back every Full Moon (next one is 19th Jan)  - Birch Moon

thank you for being along for the ride.

with love


Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Six Snapshots of Partition - Granta Magazine

‘Six Snapshots of Partition’ is a memoir piece looking at the effect of the Partition of India on my family and in particular my father. Published by Granta as an addition to their magnificent issue on Pakistan. The piece is available to read online here

If you enjoy the piece please let Granta know by leaving a comment on their site..