Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Happy New Year! Pessimism is for lightweights at the Arnolfini

'Pessimism is for lightweights' by Salena Godden at the Arnolfini Art Gallery

Pessimism is for lightweights 
is up at the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol,
please do share a pic if you see it, spread the word!
tag #pessimismisforlightweights


Think of those that marched this road before
And those that will march here in years to come
The road in shadow and the road in the sun
The road before us and the road all done
History is watching us and what will we become

There is power and strength in optimism
To have faith and to stay true to you
Because if you can look in the mirror
And have belief and promise you
Will share wonder in living things
Beauty, dreams, books and art
Love your neighbour and be kind
And have an open heart

Then you're already winning at living
You speak up, you show up and stand tall
It's silence that is complicit
It's apathy that hurts us all
Pessimism is for lightweights

There is no straight white line
It's the bumps and curves and obstacles
That make this time yours and mine
Pessimism is for lightweights
Pessimism is for lightweights
This road is never easy and straight
And living is all about living alive and lively
And love will conquer hate

(c) Salena Godden. Arnolfini version. January 2018

NEW book for 2018: Others - writers on difference

Currently being crowdfunded and published by Unbound with all net profits going to refugees and stop hate charities. It will be a collection of essays, stories and poetry on the theme of being 'Other' I will be joining other-others in a spectacular line up that includes Leila Aboulela, Gillian Allnutt, Damian Barr, Noam Chomsky, Rishi Dastidar, Peter Ho Davies, Louise Doughty, Salena Godden, Colin Grant, Sam Guglani, Matt Haig, Aamer Hussein, Anjali Joseph, AL Kennedy, Joanne Limburg, Tiffany Murray, Sara Nović, Edward Platt, Alex Preston, Tom Shakespeare, Kamila Shamsie, Will Storr... If you were a fan of my work in The Good Immigrant you might like this book too. I'm so happy to continue the conversation #Wetickother  - Please make a pledge and help get this book into print by ordering your hardback copy today!  Follow hashtag #Othersbook 

So that was 2017...

I begin this new year with new hope. New brush sweeps clean. Fresh page in a crisp new notebook. We learn and we grow. We keep taking up space. Keep making noise. Speak up and stand up for each other. As for new years resolutions, personally, I won't join a gym I never use or pretend to give up carbs and wine. I do however start the new year with gratitude and thanks to The Society Of Authors and Anna Freeman and Richard Jones at BlahBlahBlah who have offered their support and given me the gift of time to make new work. It is a huge boost to me to have this help, vital for my confidence and the isolation of doing the job of writing. I'll be away working and writing for the rest of winter. I have some enormous challenges ahead, ambitious projects, exciting collaborations and events in the pipeline for 2018 ... but I'll tell you all about that in a later post. Thank you for your support and for subscribing to Waiting For Godden. See you in springtime my friends!  

Happy New Year! xxsg

'Blackbird' by Salena Godden, published in 'Fishing In The Aftermath' by - We have some signed copies in stock here at Salena's Bookshoppe >

photo: Salena Godden and Bishi   

Are you in NYC on January 11th?
Bishi's song cycle based on The Good Immigrant 

'BISHI: The Good Immigrant'
Artist residency at National Sawdust in New York
show premieres: January 11th 2018

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Give Books This Christmas

My 2017 list: These are some of the beautiful books I made or contributed work to in 2017. It's a bright and brilliant, diverse and inclusive list. Why not GIVE books this Christmas and support independent publishing and home brewed art, fiction and poetry 

Thank you to everyone who has been there for us and this work this year. Thank you to everyone pushing for books, for literacy, publishing and promoting poetry, and thanks to everyone at all the festivals and poetry events and bookshops. I spent most of 2017 in the poetry trenches with these warriors and poets in the pages of these books and anthologies listed below. Also this year I contributed to two feature films, I did lots of BBC programmes and podcasts and about 60 gigs and festivals, and for me that's a lot of poets, and a lot of laughter, lots of fireside rum and sunrises, and lots of time spent with a heart filling and spilling, feeling the joy and sharing the inspiration. I love my friends, and all of this beautiful work coming from the good place, the good fight, with the sole intention of moving poetry forward, gathering the good people and sharing anger and fury and the power of language.

2017 was a year of speaking up and standing up. This year I backed the Nasty Women campaign. I spoke in Parliament Square against Brexit. I shared a stage with Jeremy Corbyn. This year I was a poet in reaction and not in creation. I wrote and performed new work like RED and SOUP in response to the daily flood of shit news. 

I feel a strong urge to return to the source now, to switch off my phone, to walk, read and dream more, to hibernate and feed my passion for writing and creating. What a year it has been, and who knows what 2018 will bring, I pray for peace and some sanity, I'm tuning out from the noise and listening for a clear voice. Right now I have nothing but gratitude and thanks for everyone who is fighting the good fight! Books can change the world!

Thank You! 

Released with Nymph and Thugs. In 2017 we produced LIVEwire in print, in a full colour zine and also on double vinyl. The vinyl album features additional material and alternative pieces from the CD version. I spent much of 2017 touring and at festivals with this work. Thank you to the brilliant Nymphs and Thugs. Matt Abbott is a pioneer and a visionary and it is a joy to work with him. This year LIVEwire received 5-star reviews and it was shortlisted for the prestigious Ted Hughes Award. I was also shortlisted for The Jerwood Compton prize and a Saboteur award this year. LIVEwire features live audio performances of poetry anthems My Tits Are More Feminist Than Your Tits, Can't Be Bovvered, and I Want Love. Plus live theatre recordings from memoir Springfield Road and Fishing In The Aftermath poems too. 


Year Of The Propaganda Corrupted Eclipse
Published by New River Press. This beauty just arrived from the printers this week, from the desk of powerhouse poetry couple Robert Montgomery and Greta Bellamacina. This collection is 300 pages, 112 outsider and protest poets from all over the world

The BEST Poetry Book In The World
Published by Burning Eye - Anthology of the best spoken word and performance poetry in the UK, celebrating five years of hip indie publisher Burning Eye Books. It's a bumper annual of all of your favourite live and lively poets. A perfect stocking filler for Christmas!

Published by Unbound Books. Trailblazing, award-winning anthology, audio book and paperback out now. 21 essays by 21 diverse writers and thinkers and poets on what it means to be BAME in 21st century UK. Edited by brilliant author Nikesh Shukla, this book was crowdfunded in record time and has been touring the UK. Features essay 'Shade' by Salena Godden, a live performance version of this is featured on the LIVEwire album.

Published by Brain Mill Press, edited by Courttia Newland Mend Mariwany and Kavita Bhanot. In support of the Bare Lit Festival, showcasing award-winning British authors of colour. Features Blue Cornflowers by Salena Godden which was shortlisted for the BAME Guardian short story prize.

Published by Neu Reekie and Polygon Books. Not pictured above, but I'll add it here because its a vibrant and colourful anthology of poetry and performance from the excellent Neu Reekie crew based in Edinburgh. A beautiful collection of international voices, new faces and poetry heroes. Features My Tits Are More Feminist Than your Tits by Salena Godden.

Published by Influx Press. This is a wonderful and richly diverse collection of colourful London short fiction and urban myth and legends. An amazing line up of writers of note, a warm celebration of this colourful city. Features 'The Camden Blood Thieves' a short bloody story by Salena Godden.

New for 2018: OTHERS
Currently crowdfunding with Unbound - Others celebrates how words can take us out of the selves we inhabit and show us the world as others see it. Great writing can illuminate ordinary kinds of otherness, by taking us into points of view we might not otherwise have been able to enter. I believe books like this can change the world, open up conversation and connections and inspire debate and action. Contributors will include: Damian Barr, Noam Chomsky, Rishi Dastidar, Peter Ho Davies, Louise Doughty, Salena Godden, Colin Grant, Sam Guglani, Matt Haig, Aamer Hussein, Anjali Joseph, AL Kennedy, Joanne Limburg, Tiffany Murray, Sara Nović, Edward Platt, Alex Preston, Tom Shakespeare, Kamila Shamsie and Will Storr... All net profits from the book will be donated to the charities Refugee Action and Stop Hate UK, pledge now!




Friday, 1 December 2017

Poem 'SOUP' live on Jonathan Ross | BANG, BYLINE and BRAKES


We made it to the end of the year! Well done! Ding Dong! Merry, merry, jolly jolly, ho, ho and a tiddly bum rum....annnnd breathe. I have been gigging and giggling, living out of a suitcase and now have just a handful of jobs and gigs to do and then I am going into a cave to hide for winter. I'm looking forward to swapping the microphone for a pen ... This past year has been memorable, it has been like being handcuffed to a tiger who is tied to a speeding roller coaster, both here in my little poetry world and out there in the bigger world it is all chaos. Hard to keep up. Hard to focus. I thank you for following these adventures, and thank you to anyone out there keeping up with all of this and fighting the good fight.  


In November I was in New York with Byline Festival and The Frontline Club. We had a wonderful time, rich experiences, films and performance, talks and conversations with fascinating people and beautiful food, wine and laughter. Thank you Byline. If you haven't got tickets for Byline Fest 2018 go to www.bylinefestival.comThe 2018 programme will be supreme. In my role as 'Byline Festival Poet Laureate' I will be curating a kick-ass poetry line up, so keep your eyes peeled for that! This Sunday December 3rd is Byline Festival fundraiser with John Cleese and friends at The Stratford East Theatre, last minute tixs here:


Another highlight last month was Chester Lit Fest. We had a brilliant time away in a desolate house on the edge of Snowdonia on a song-writing retreat with musicians and singer-songwriters Kathryn Williams, David Ford and Polly Paulusma plus playwright Mark Davies Markham and author Laura Barnett. We made so much work, such a varied selection, from prose songs to pop songs, lyrical murder ballads, instrumental stories, mini plays and new ideas and concepts for development, it was such a buzz. We also wrote a Christmas song titled 'The Last Christmas Song' one verse began, "We're all gonna die, so have one more mince pie" Hahaha! Oh how we laughed... This is picture of us taking our last bow. How brave we were, how courageous to get on stage and perform songs that had been written in collaboration in just in three or four days with six strangers. It was phenomenal. I am still missing that place now... Thank you xx


Last night I was invited to do a poem for the Jonathan Ross Art Show on BBC Radio 2. He was very kind and warm and funny, listen again 

We talked about Bang Said The Gun, Byline Fest, Brakes movie and my Nymphs and Thugs LIVEwire album. I read my poem Soup which you will find on an earlier blog ... "That's a lovely poem for this time of year." said Jonathan Ross.


SOUP has just been published in the latest issue of RISING #69. I reckon I started appearing in RISING in issue 12, sometime around 1995. I think it is the best UK poetry publication, I always enjoy reading it and have saved and collected almost all 69 issues. I loved the launch party last weekend at the Mascara Bar. RISING parties are always brilliant poetry parties. Rising issue 69 stars Phil Jupitus, aka Porky Poet, Adelle Stripe, Iona Lee, Vera Chok, Chip Grim, Paul Birtill, Sophie Cameron, Mark Coverdale and many more. .. Rising: tough on poetry, tough on the causes of poetry! I love Rising zine, Thank you to Tim Wells! See you on December 17th at the Betsey Trotwood Xmas All Dayer!


Anti rom-com Brakes film has arrived and is out now in selected UK cinemas and on demand. Brakes is an Independent UK debut comedy directed and written by Mercedes Grower and it stars Noel Fielding, Julian Barratt, Julia Davis, Paul McGann, Roland Gift, Kerry Fox, Kate Hardie and many familiar faces of British comedy and independent film. I am in love with a zombie in this movie ... Don't miss this! 


December 1st 


Starts 11.30pm | Soho Theatre


This month sees the launch of a photographic exhibition of real life female super heroes. The Cosmic Shambles Network are proud to present Cosmic Superheroes, a unique photographic celebration of the superpowers it has taken for women at the forefront of the worlds of Arts and Science to establish themselves as superheroes in their individual fields. Those being photographed for the exhibition include Writer and Comedian Josie Long (pictured above), Physicist Helen Czerski, Professor of Physics Lucie Green, Author and Poet Salena Godden, Archeologist Brenna Hassett, Social Activist Nimco Ali, Environmental Scientist Tamsin Edwards, Folk-singer and Songwriter Grace Petrie, Science Writer and Presenter Kat Arney, Psychologist and Epidemiologist Suzi Gage, Science Communicator Ginny Smith and Paleobiologist Tori Herridge and more... Exhibition will be at The Conway Hall, London, from December 8th to January 31st 2018 | December 16th: Nine Lessons And Carols For Godless People


'Others - Writers on difference' is being crowdfunded and published by Unbound with all net profits going to refugees and stop hate charities. It will be a collection of essays, stories and poetry discussing the theme of being 'Other' I will be joining other others in a spectacular line up that includes Leila Aboulela, Gillian Allnutt, Damian Barr, Noam Chomsky, Rishi Dastidar, Peter Ho Davies, Louise Doughty, Salena Godden, Colin Grant, Sam Guglani, Matt Haig, Aamer Hussein, Anjali Joseph, AL Kennedy, Joanne Limburg, Tiffany Murray, Sara Nović, Edward Platt, Alex Preston, Tom Shakespeare, Kamila Shamsie, Will Storr... If you were a fan of 'The Good Immigrant' you might like this book too. I'm so happy to continue the conversation #Wetickother  - Today we're 56% funded, please make a pledge and help this book get into print by ordering your hardback copy | #OTHERSBOOK 


LIVEwire out now:

Salena’s Bookshoppe:


Monday, 13 November 2017

FILM / FEARS taken from Mrs Death Misses Death now on youtube...

'Fears' from 'Mrs Death Misses Death'
New work in progress by Salena Godden with music composed by Peter Coyte
Film by Jordon Kennedy at Idle Work Factory

This NEW film features live footage of Salena Godden and Peter Coyte on stage performing at the Mrs Death Misses Death premiere, Last Word Festival, Roundhouse, London, June 2017. Thank you to all who attended this special one-off show. 

Mrs Death Misses Death is a new work in a progress, a collaboration of a fiction by Salena Godden with music by Peter Coyte. This is your life narrated by Mrs Death, excerpts from the private correspondence, daydreams, and diaries of Mrs Death. Mrs Death Misses Death is the life affirming kick up the ass you’ve been looking for, this is a rousing call to arms and a celebration of loving this life, this world, and our short time here.

Follow these pages for festival bookings and Mrs Death Misses Death news in 2018

I know a lot of dead people now…”  Mrs Death