Monday, 6 October 2008

UK National Poetry day on the 9th October

National Poetry Day aims to capture the nation's imagination and bring poetry to the public eye. This year with the banking world crisis firmly at the front of most people's minds, it may be just the thing, to get a fresh perspective on work. The 2008 theme is WORK of all kinds – from classroom to factory floor, from building site to office cubicle.

'We will work
where they will not."

The first line of John Siddique's evocative poem, Simple Economics, addresses the issues of work and immigration in only eight lines, and is one of the four poems available to send as an e-card from the National Poetry Day website.

John Siddique will host a dynamic poetry event at the National Portrait Gallery, London on 9th October at 1pm, reading from his own work and talking about the role of the poet in the 21st Century. He says, "National poetry day is useful as it highlights poetry to a wider audience, unfortunately the way poetry is taught and perceived often keeps people away from such an important art form. Poetry is the best vehicle of the human spirit I know of, we turn to it at all the major points of our lives, birth, death, love."

The theme of National Poetry Day is very pertinent to his poetry. "The (current) economic climate only exists because our values of what is true are getting blurred by greed, the money lenders now actually own the temple. Poetry belongs to that stuff of true value, like friendship, making food with you own hands, it is meaning and reflection of the human amidst the mess," he told the View From Here. "The economy has no real value, the things that it purports to give us security do not, money is unreliable as a god, so we have to get real. Poetry is real."

National Poetry Day covers all of the UK and offers an opportunity to discover many of the poetry resources available around the country. Academi has comprehensive information on literature in Wales, including Welsh poetry and details of the National Poet of Wales. The Scottish Poetry Library has contemporary poetry in English, Scots and Gaelic, listings and resources including 'virtual poets' to explain more about poetry for children. Find them at In Northern Ireland, the Seamus Heaney Centre is the prime centre for the teaching and promotion of poetry. The Poetry Society has educational resources, events and competitions plus a long-established journal. Equally helpful is the Poetry Book Society, with resources for adults and children, including a beginner’s guide.

John Siddique's first full collection of poetry The Prize (Rialto) is about to be republished. He is a co-author of Four Fathers (Route), Velocity: The Best of Apples and Snakes, (Black Spring Press Ltd, London, 2003), the author of the collection, Poems From a Northern Soul, and the editor of Transparency (Crocus Books). He was a contributor to Life Lines: Poets for Oxfam, Oxford, 2006. His poem ‘Variola’ received a nomination for best single poem for 2004’s Forward Prize.

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