Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Full Blood - Cover Design

Here is the cover for my new book. It will hit the stores in April but I thought I'd let you see as it is a thing of great beauty. I have been so lucky with my covers over my career, this one simply takes my breath away, it so captures what the book is about..

Description from my publisher's website:
Full Blood is John Siddique’s fourth full-length collection of poems for adults. Erotic, physical, completely open and fully engaged with the moral urgency of life, Siddique tackles his themes robustly and yet with great sensitivity, constantly defining and reimagining what it is to be a man in today’s world, living fully in the moment. Marking a serious development in the writer’s work (as well as the mind of this significant British poet) this is Siddique’s most emotionally charged work to date.

What role do writers and artists have in social revolutions?

Friday, 18 February 2011

Rowan Moon

'What Makes The Day Worth Living?'

Rowan Moon is one of a series of 13 animated films based on a sequence of poems from Recital - An Almanac (Salt).

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

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. 

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 gave 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.

Final Speech from The Great Dictator

Monday, 14 February 2011

Our integrity sells for so little, but it is all we really have...

Dear reader

I keep thinking about the film V for Vendetta at the moment, I can seriously recommend it if you have never seen it. There is a character in the film called Valerie Page who we meet for only a few minutes and.... Well please watch the film and see.. One of the things she says that I cannot get out of my head/heart/guts is ‎'Our integrity sells for so little, but it is all we really have. It is the very last inch of us, but within that inch, we are free.'

It is a very busy time here. I’m sorting the proofs for the new book Full Blood at the minute. I would ask that if you know of any good really literary festivals, or places to read and share work around the world, please tell them about my books and work, and recommend me to them. 

A writer is just a scribbler without readers and supporters, and as ever I thank you for your wonderful support. This new book is the most important thing I have done, and once it is out, there feels to be a need to take both it and myself on the road for a good long time.

‘Within that inch we are free’

Kindest wishes

John Siddique

Thursday, 10 February 2011

'Every Atom' Inspires Dance & 'Family' Inspires Animated Short

Every Atom from Full Blood
is the inspiration behind Debora Johnson's visceral dance piece The Unspoken which features in VERVE 11 at The Riley Theatre, Leeds, 26 & 27 Feb. It also inspired Sacrament of Marriage which was performed at Bradford's Cartwright Hall and was commissioned through Alchemy & iMove.

An animated film by Walter Santucci. based on my poem of the same name from Don't Wear It On Your Head. 11-17 Feb (run may be extended), Art Theatre, Long Beach, CA, USA

Sun Kyung & The Kronk from 'Family' by Walter Santucci

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

February Trees

Winter Hellebores

The winter hellebores in the window box outside our living room are at their full powers at the minute. We live on a street where the view is someone else's house (many of the houses on the street don't have much love given to them them, so it is not always the most inspiring place). So the container garden we've made, though small, is an essential way for staying alive. The daffodils are beginning to show promise and they should be here fully in just a few weeks, but winter need not be a flowerless time. These hellebores are like white-green tinged bits of heaven when we open the curtains every morning, and as the dining table is by that window they are a breakfast and dinner companion who give so much with their easy beauty.

Granta Interview with Paul Auster

GRANTA interview with Paul Auster

A very good interview with Auster, with some interesting thoughts on clarity and the writing life near the end. Also am very jealous of the beautiful room which the interview takes place in..

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Does the artist ever feel at home in this world?

Blow Wind Blow by Wilmoth Houdini

from amazing comp 'i don't feel at home in this world anymore'

personally speaking   - I never have really felt at home, think that is part of being what has made me the writer I am, but also I often wonder what must it be like to feel at home..?

What do you think - is the artist ever at home? Please share your ideas on this with me...

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Arts by Offenders and Secure Patients

Arts by Offenders and Secure Patients:The Co-operative Koestler Exhibition for the North West 2011

4 March - 27 March 2011 

The Koestler Trust and The Co-operative are proud to present the first Koestler Exhibition in Liverpool representing North West artists. Arts by Offenders is an exhibition of artwork produced by offenders, patients in secure hospitals, young people in secure children’s homes and by people on probation in the North West of England.

This challenging and thought-provoking collection of paintings, drawings, photographs, sculpture and creative writing, was selected from entries to the 2010 Koestler Awards – a charitable scheme which has been rewarding artistic achievement in the penal and secure sectors for 49 years.

The Koestler Trust has held exhibitions in London since the sixties; this is the second exhibition in the North West that enables entrants from the region to be eligible for additional awards. The opportunity to enter a prestigious awards programme, receive feedback from experts, and be included in a public exhibition is a huge boost to the artists’ self esteem and motivation, as well as improving their connection to home. These factors all help in rehabilitation and reducing reoffending.

New for this year’s North West exhibition is ‘Words of Art’, a creative writing project with HM Young Offender Institution Thorn Cross led by well-known poet and author John Siddique.

The exhibition has been funded by The Co-operative as part of its wide-ranging community activity in the North West of England.

Exhibition opens:
Tuesday to Saturday 11am to 6pm
Sunday 11am to 4pm
Monday - Closed
Free entry

- Event -

Panel Discussion: Arts in Criminal Justice

Wednesday 16 March 2011, 6pm CUC Liverpool
A discussion by experts in criminal justice and the arts chaired by Tim Robertson, Chief Executive of the Koestler Trust
Free (booking recommended)

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Recital mentioned in Journal of Commonwealth Literature

Mythology and spirituality run through John Siddique's fourth poetry collection, Recital: An Almanac, which revolves around the lunar calendar. The collection contains thirteen poems marking the passing of each month and celebrating nature and the rhythms of life against war and violence. There is a beautifully balanced, tight piece of writing at the heart of the book: the haunting sequence "Inside". Consisting of four poems about London's 7/7 bombings, it describes the almost unreal moments on the bus, before and after the explosions, explores the mind of a suicide bomber, and leads up to the erroneous police shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes....

Muneeza Shamsie, The Journal of Commonwealth Literature

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Full Blood - An Advance Call For Your Support

‘John Siddique's new collection takes the reader down the street and round the world. This is a brave and a bold book of linked poems whose subjects range widely from love to hate, from war to peace, from childhood to adulthood, from the real world to the world of myth. Siddique is interested in everything. Tender and open-hearted, these poems are full of wonder at the power of love. Dreamy and yet direct, this is Siddique's most powerful collection yet.’ - Jackie Kay

Full Blood Will be published in three months time and I need to ask for your help. I am not the most press and media savvy person on the planet so if you can advise, or if  you can help get this book some good press, features, interview slots etc -  particularly in the decent newspapers, on arts shows on tv and radio, and of course on good internet sites, I would love your assistance. 

This book started life fifteen years ago, but there was no way back then that I had the skills and heart to write it at that time. It feels like each of my books has, in some way, been a preparation for the time when I could finally try with this one… and now it is almost here.

Poetry is the most difficult of worlds and I know that my book faces particular challenges - even my just being called Siddique makes it so that many people won't even get to see the book, I am not the right kind of person for the literary prize circuit... factor in that the book is very sensuous, intelligent and sexy means many potential hurdles for it. Full Blood is a book for real people and again that too can pose problems in certain areas. One of the joys of being a poet is that we can write real and deep and not worry too much because few are looking, but then it is also heart-breaking because when we do write real and deep so few are looking.

Please pop me a line if you can help get help us reviews, interviews,  radio or tv spots,  readings, festival appearances etc especially if they will pay some money… or if you have magical marketing or fundraising powers and you’d like to throw your weight in with us here for a while, we need your advice and input. We’ll make you a great cup of coffee.. And there’s a lot of laughter in the office.