Friday, 2 January 2009

On the Seventh Day of Christmas, My True Love Gave to me...Seven Swans-a-swimming

On the seventh day of Christmas, I considered the Hindu Goddess Saraswati who is sometimes depicted riding a swan, and who is associated with creativity, especially in the context of communication, literary and verbal skills. I invited poet John Siddique, to write about the Twelve Days of Christmas, who recently attended a poetry festival in India. He was drawn to the theme, "My True Love Gave to Me."

by Guest Writer, John Siddique

I fell in love with poetry when I was 27, it was E.E. Cummings‘Somewhere I Never Travelled’ that did it for me. It was as if I was being filled with love and colour beyond my experience, I had no idea poetry could do this. Since then poetry has taken me on so many journeys, as a reader and as a writer. Poetry for me at its best is the purest vehicle for the human spirit, and putting my trust in that has shown me so many aspects of life different to my own. I’ve been so lucky to meet people from all over the world, and read and talk about poetry in places I could never have imagined I would end up. Most recently poetry took me to India to read at The Kritya Poetry Festival, run by the marvellous Rati Saxena. Here were poets from so many places, Norway, Estonia, Lebanon, Austria, Mexico, and all over India – for three days we were immersed in the beauty of other languages. We were exposed to poetry’s sensibilities on a global scale, and there it was again, after five thousand miles of travel, there was poetry’s ability to show our humanity and spirit. Poetry being stronger than war, death, love and politics, it being valueless in economic terms as a poem has no monetary use, and therefore priceless because it can contain all that we are, and lift our eyes to take us to places we have never travelled.

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. 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.' He is the author of ‘The Prize’ (Rialto,) ‘Poems from a Northern Soul’ (Crocus Books,) editor of ‘Transparency’ (Crocus Books,) and co-author of ‘Four Fathers’ (ROUTE.) His children’s book ‘Don’t Wear it on Your Head,’(Peepal Tree,) was shortlisted for the CLPE Poetry Award. His new book 'Recital - An Almanac' will be published in March 2009 by SALT. John also gives readings, mentors and teaches creative writing in the UK and abroad.

Read more about John, his work and events at his website or follow his blog.

John Siddique Portrait by Daniel Connell

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