sometimes i read a poem that really touches me - in john siddique's "The Prize" there are quite a few of those. the first poem of his that i came across was a recording of "Cheap Moisturizer". i have always admired poets who, by using the simplest words, can create new worlds, can convey something that stays with me for days, months, maybe for life.
one of my favourite siddique poems, "Yes", is another perfect example of saying an awful lot within a few lines, without having to throw any fancy words at the reader. i swear i had goosebumps all over when i first heard john siddique read that poem at a lit festival in vienna last year. "Yes", perhaps more than any other of his poems, speaks of a great love of life. or maybe "speak of" does not quite nail it; it shouts out. vibrates with. the image i get when i re-read that poem is that of someone wanting to throw his arms around the world, hugging him- or herself - and with that, not only the "good" things, the things to be proud of, but also all the flaws, the foolishness.
another poem that i keep returning to, is "Variola", a longer poem dealing with a part of family history that happened long before the poet was born. i guess all of us turn to the past for answers at times, and john siddique does so in style.
while "Sucking the Mango" is a fine example of erotic writing (juicy! *s*), "No More" is one of those poems-that-break-your-heart-but-at-the-same-time-begin-to-heal-it with lines like "Even the ducks / in the park are in couples."
john once said he wants to "write about real love" - and he does. not just about romantic love, mind you, but also that complicated love between members of a family, love for friends, a love of life, and this sometimes crazy world - a world that is observed carefully, which shows in siddique's attention to detail, in underlying questions, in moments that might be called "little" if one did not know better.
what siddique certainly does in "The Prize" is opening up to the reader - risky business for the poet. risky business for the human being. but all the more wonderful and rewarding for us.