John Siddique is a poet, whose first full collection of poetry The Prize (Rialto) was published last year. He is a co-author of Four Fathers (Route) and the editor of Transparency (Crocus Books). His poem ‘Variola’ received a nomination for best single poem for 2004’s Forward Prize and his new collection, Poems From a Northern Soul, will be published this autumn.
Siddique has devised innovative projects such as a current tour with Faber & Faber and The Reading Agency that encourages non-poetry readers to take a look at poetry with fresh eyes and ears. He has held residencies at Ledbury Poetry Festival, the Rainer Charity, Ilkley Literature Festival, Wetherby Prison and BBC Manchester and has been a mentor to writers for organisations including The Poetry Society and the Arvon Foundation.
Siddique is a British poet who has used the experience of many jobs and work stints, including a period as a landscape gardener, to bring import, meaning and relevance to his poetry. At public events he has spoken about poetry’s value as a ‘communicator’ and his interest in conveying to audiences ‘what it means to be human at this point in time’. This is reflected in the high number and range of poetry-based activity he initiates: from events in schools, prisons, youth centres, literary festivals and night clubs, to interactive workshops and discussions via web blogs, podcasts and online chat rooms.
He writes in a range of forms: free verse, haiku, traditional sonnet and blank verse amongst others, which allows for precise storytelling, eloquently captured moments and adroit turns of mood: from subtle, erotic and reflective to humorous, tormented and impish. Siddique writes about his dual heritage and his Irish mother and Indian father as part of the story, not the story, in a manner that for the most part eschews self-reflexive notions of identity and instead encourages regard for, and involvement with, a panoramic and endearingly human and messy vision of contemporary society.
Velocity: The Best of Apples and Snakes (contributor), Black Spring Press Ltd, London, 2003
Transparency, Crocus Books, Manchester 2005
The Prize, The Rialto, Norwich, 2005
Four Fathers, (contributor) Route, Pontefract, 2006
Life Lines: Poets for Oxfam, (CD - contributor) Oxfam, Oxford, 2006
John Siddique's Website
John Siddique interviewed by the BBC
John Siddique teaching ideas for schools