Tuesday, 5 October 2010
Poetry Drop-in with John Siddique
“I'll touch things, and I'll know what the story is,” Says John Siddique, author of ‘Recital – An Almanac’ and numerous other poetry books. It's Saturday 2nd October. Today he's at The Manchester Museum with a group of writers, delivering a poetry advice session.
He describes how ideas for poetry can frequently be very strange, and when we discuss them with others we might feel weird about it. “We are all mad,” he says. “We don't need to apologise.”
I'm relieved by that. It's a good opportunity for me to get my head around poetry, as I don't really understand the genre. John suggests being nosey, to ask questions, and to think “what if” to make writing. To wonder what's in clear sight that we're not allowed to see. As we're in a museum, there's plenty for inspiration- group members worked with the Burmese Buddha (which is a slim male, as is tradition- not like other fat Buddha images), a preserved Giant Spider Crab and a fire exit.
After finishing the poem most of us- me included- aren't bowled over by what we've done, but we read it anyway. John advises us never to condescend your own work. Instead, encourage yourself like you'd encourage others.
“You wouldn't smack a child if they couldn't walk,” he says. “Everything we do, we're a baby.”
So be positive about your own writing. Don't slag it off!