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4.1 out of 5 stars
Recital: An Almanac (Salt Modern Poets)
Format: Paperback|Change
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on 5 March 2015
Wholly recommeneded. This is what poetry is all about - the words and phrases in themselves are easily understandable and truthful - then they slide you into a profound place without any effort. The book is a whole, and is good to read as a whole, its parts are vibrant. So often I want the last couple of lines removed or find a verse unnecessary when I'm reading poetry - not here - every word is right. There is most definitely a Japanese influence within some of the poems, and there is a meditative effect as you read. Wonderful !
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VINE VOICEon 1 June 2015
freaking marvellous. I wish I could write poetry half so well. He really has a gift to evoke place and memory. Any one of his lines is enough to send me whirling down memory lane. I'd love to hear him read.
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on 19 June 2009
Siddique's poems were written over the space of one year, and using the lunar cycle as a central theme he explores love, hope, childhood, absence of a parent, nature, as well as bombings and shootings in London. He writes about each subject with the same honest, well-crafted verse that tells it like it is. Every word on the page counts, is carefully considered, weighed up and deliberated over before being allowed to stay. Some pieces are autobiographical, others looking out at the world and all its' goings on - from nature writ large to the way our police force deals with suspected terrorists. Yet they are all interconnected, as we are.
There is a humbleness here; and acceptance that some things we simply cannot change - they are bigger than us. Like the wind, the sea, or the people we choose to love: `We cannot tame the wind or the sea. Cannot/make them roll or blow our way. Taming ourselves/comes first, then we may laugh at them, scream at them.' - Facing You. Like nature's cycles, the book itself is a cycle, beginning with a beginning and ending with a poem entitled 'The Death of Death'. This acknowledges art's limits to completely heal us, and this is necessary. 'This is what I ask of each book, / it is why each writer fails. We can but try.'
Siddique looks inwards at his own happiness, suffering, confusion, complacency, but also out at what is going on in the world and links the two. His love for people is apparent, and his work is contemporary yet has a timeless quality to it.
The book is about us - humanity - at its best and worst. He is reaching out, he wants to connect us with what goes beyond the mundane, the ordinary, he wants us to question what is going on in our world today, and document some of its traumas. This documenting is vital.
An intelligent, brave, witty writer, Siddique presents each poem as a gift to us all and by asking questions answers some, and invites the reader to think of more. The book is one that will stay with you for some time, and one that you will want to return to again and again.
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on 5 December 2009
Siddique's poetry is fresh and easily accessible. Whilst being highly personal it also highly relevent, not only to wider contemporary issues such as the london bombings but also on a very human level - Siddique makes observations on life that we all acknowledge on a subconcious level, but often fail to notice. Like some of the best comedians, it is these subtle observations that allow the reader to identify with Siddique's work. I particularly enjoyed the poem "Bonfire" which creates a truthful and vivid portrayal of all 13 year old girls whilst giving a melancholic glimpse of the death of Lindsay Rimer. Each poem is carefully selected and the book is structed in a very deliberate and thoughtful way. Each poem whilst being a piece in its own right, belongs in the book and has its only particular place and meaning because of this. The book is marvellous and I would further recommend the audiobook version of Recital as the poems come to life when read out loud, Siddique being well known for his ability to capture an audience with his readings.
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on 3 June 2009
Siddique's poetry is clear, concise and has an immediacy that will appeal to many. Recital: an almanac is a thoughtful and often thought-provoking collection, intelligent, clear, inquiring, humorous, some will say inspirational and - dare I say it? - 'life-affirming' (there, I said it!). It's a work that demands to be read as a whole - please don't take my word for it, go out and buy it.
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on 22 June 2009
Is this a collection of 'poems' or is it just a series of words strung together in a way that we often see in novice's attempts at poetry? Being 'free' with form is to be applauded but I have to question whether or not the basic understanding of form and structure has simply not been grasped. If they do anything, poets should be striving to say things in a novel and unique way. This clearly does not achieve that. If you are looking for an unchallenging setting-out of the everyday musings of an ordinary Joe, then you might be fine with this. If you are looking for linguistic dexterity, inspiring insight or, dare I say it, poetry, then you may be looking in the wrong place.
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