The Rialto reprint John Siddique’s first collection The Prize. Whether writing about his family’s history, as in ‘Variola’, the story of the journey his father, as a child, made out of India after Partition, or celebrating the way lovers talk, as in ‘Strawberries’, or describing the lust in a dying love affair, as in ‘90 Day Theory’, John is a poet full of surprises and racing energy. The good news is that after a couple of years focusing on prose he’s returning to writing poetry. While you wait for his next collection, catch up with the first one! (More news on this book to come).
I would reach out a hand to take my son’s hand.
I would swivel a knee to dandle him.
Like calling through a fog,
caught in the deep grass which quickens
round my legs up here at the top of creation.
I would pass the years through a gold skimming pan,
picking out the flecks for the rush.
I would reach my hand across the years
to find his arm to pick him up.
Hard bread for the palate. Liquid, too hot for the lips.
A map of a demolished town.
I would melt the gold like the fool I am. Spread the leaf
over stones and leaves. I might plate the breadth of England,
and still find myself wanting to reach him, without a clue
of what I would say.
John Siddique was born in Rochdale, Lancashire, in 1964. He currently lives in West Yorkshire. After school he did various jobs, including a three year stint as a landscape gardener. He started writing in 1991, when he was 27. He now works as a full-time writer and has been involved in many writing and performing projects, such as Poet in Residence at The Lowry, at Meadowbrook Psychiatric Unit, at Ilkley Literature Festival, and at BBC Manchester.
A ‘bold original voice… an exciting joy to read. Siddique is definitely one to watch.’
John Siddique’s poetry takes the reader on a journey, crossing the border country between love and loss, he charts his family’s untold stories. Interested in exploring opposite worlds and seeming contradictions, his poetry is a brilliant balancing act. Sometimes steamy, often moving, The Prize is a bold, brave book with a big open heart.
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 that I go back to certain poems time and again for another immersion. He’s not afraid of writing about love, its pain and rewards, its sudden shocking forces and darkly funny epiphanies – and his poems demonstrate generosity and humanity so often lacking in more brittle, defensive writers.
John Siddique’s website is www.johnsiddique.co.uk
(The Rialto First Collection Series 2005)
ISBN 0 9527444 8 1
2nd edition reprint autumn 2008