Wednesday 30 September 2015

New pencil case and new sensible school shoes...

Banksy - Dismaland

It's the end of September - the last of the tomatoes hang limply off the vine, gnawed and snotted with snails. You come home from the shops with conkers in your pockets. New boot heels click on wet pavements. You listen to the radio whilst making apple crumble. Blackberry ink stains your tongue. The shop windows are all already Halloween orange. The Harvest Moon is high. 

And as I write this the moon is still super. It was a magnificent luna eclipse two days ago, and out of my window the moon is huge, compelling and bright, like the last lunatic on the dance floor, the moon right now, you should see it, she is dancing like nobody is looking. 

Autumn is here and I'm swapping the microphone for a pen. Unfortunately I've had to postpone my US road trip to New Orleans until next year. I hate doing the sensible thing but it is the right decision for now, I am very keen to use this time to focus on making new work. The switch is never easy is it? The performer in me is still seeking applause, my sensitive writer soul has been drowned out by my self promoting social media mania. I feel myself coming down with a bump, from one-woman tsunami to librarian and hermit, from festivals, boozing and touring to books, soup and silence. To make things weirder still, two weeks ago my lap top died and so I've been forced to go even slower and write methodically by hand. I sit scribbling new poems in my notebook, writing by candle light at the kitchen table, it's all been rather 1994, reminding me of the good-bad old days when there was no electricity or food, warming myself by drinking cheap red wine with a head full of heart. 

Last week I was invited by the author Heidi James to give a lecture on poetry and performance at the Royal Geographical Society in Kensington. I discussed the importance of poetry and the need for it. I talked about the differences between writers, the thin line or grey area between the work of a comedian, a journalist and a poet. I believe the performance poet or ranting poet can tackle the facts like a journalist, but will bring the tenderness. Also the poet can approach a difficult subject using humour as a tool like a comic, but not be a slave to the laughter. Earlier this month there was a furore over the comedian Nicole Arbour and her 'Dear Fat People' youtube rant. I didn't get it, it's not fat people that she needed a kick up the ass, but the apathetic, the people who do-nothing, regardless of peoples looks its people's inactivity that grates me, as you'll find in my anti-apathy poem 'Can't be Bovvered' - a fine example of poetry bringing wit, warmth and heart to a trending topic. As poets we narrate the times, that's partly why we are here and what we are here for. One student raised his hand and asked me if I ever watched Californication he told me my approach to poetry reminded him of Hank Moody. I am still finding his comment most amusing. Heidi James has a new novel coming soon and I'm very excited to to read it, it will be the first of my autumn reads.  

My comrades over at Tongue Fu are putting on an event at Rich Mix on October 15th to raise money for the #RefugeeCrisis. It is going to be a supreme event, all my favourites are performing, the line-up is superb and Chris Redmond is a legend. Please support this cause and get yourself a ticket! All details here - And while I'm on the subject of legends and the #RefugeeCrisis, three cheers to team Banksy for Dismaland, what a brilliant collection. And great news that although it is closed now, all the structures and timber are going to the Calais Jungle. I have emptied my house of items to contribute to the crisis now, blankets, sleeping bags, clothes and books, my library has never been more organised! Find out how you can help or contribute, here's six practical links and places to donate:

● Save the Children: distributing essentials such as diapers, hygiene kits and food
● Red Cross Europe: providing emergency health services at central train stations
● Migrant Offshore Aid Station: dedicated to preventing migrant deaths at sea
● International Rescue Committee:  improving living conditions by setting up camps
● The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR): providing water, mosquito nets, healthcare
● Refugee Action: advice about asylum, the asylum process, asylum support
● The Worldwide Tribe in Calais: Travel blog documenting the story of the people in the Calais 'jungle' is connected to justgiving: crowdfunding site

In poetry news, an exciting new TV documentary about spoken word and ranting poetry, from the Beats to the present  day, will be aired on BBC4 on October 11th at 9pm, so look out  for that. It will feature Michael Horovitz and a whole host of favourite poetry superstars and comrades plus footage from The Poetry Incarnation at The Roundhouse, one of my favourite gig highlights of 2015.

This week I was in town making radio with Garry Bushell. We had an ace time, we talked about poetry and books and music and my heroes like John Cooper Clarke, Little Miss Cornshucks and Mae West and  loads more, this will aired on his programme The Garry Bushell Hour, GBH, on Litopia here 

My book Springfield Road was launched this time last year, on October 1st 2014, and what a roller coaster crowd funding and publishing this book has been, since its first draft in 2006 to here. Plus Fishing In The Aftermath too, publishing two books in one year! Phew! I just found some lovely amazon mentions, thank you for those too. Please scroll down to find  links to reviews and radio, a colourful electronic Mexican wave of press highlights. Thank you for your time and support. And thank you for following these adventures and subscribing to Waiting For Godden. If it is your first time visiting here, you can still subscribe for free, please just scroll down the right hand margin and put your email in the box. Thank you!

Until we meet again, 
Shine on, shine on, Harvest Moon, 


BBC R4's  'Loose Ends' feat. Salena Godden is available Here

BBC R3 'The Verb' Viv Albertine, Hollie McNish, Salena Godden on Mixcloud

BBC Scotland in conversation with Janice Forsyth in the 'Culture Studio' Here

BBC R4 'The Lost Legacy of Little Miss Cornshucks'  Mixcloud

BBC World Service / Click Radio BBC iplayer: The Bird and the Bee 

BBC World Service / Click Radio 'Space Poem' iplayer clip click here

Resonance FM: radio interview /  Little Atoms podcast here

"Be braver, be too brave.." Diversity in The Bookseller click here

Naomi Frisby: The Writes Of A Woman 
"What’s most compelling about Springfield Road 
is the warmth and love Godden infuses it with." 

"The tale is rich with reflections on memory and tradition, presence and absence, relatives and the past... I don’t know why, but I sometimes felt like I was prying on Salena, but it’s a book, a published book, and I was offered it.Polly Trope

"One aspect of the book that I feel worked really well was the juxtaposition of chapters written from adult Salena’s perspective, bringing the reader out of the past and into the modern day, and hearing her thoughts on the process of writing the very pages we have been reading. The beauty of her writing makes it easy to forget that we are not reading a novel, but someone’s true life story..." 

'Fishing In The Aftermath' Sabotage Reviews  
Reviewed by Nicole Capo 

3AM MAGAZINE: Sophie Parkin

"Ideally these books should be read together. These books are the two sides of Salena” Sophie Parkin "Salena can write you into a child’s heart and out of the mouth of a teenager’s inquisitive nature. She can wring the tears from jaded cynics and make you understand the unique and endless joy of roller-skates and bicycles as a pathway to freedom." 

"Where do we start with how incredibly awesome Salena Godden is… We want to go on a pub crawl with her pronto and be led astray! Described as a ’21st Century female Bukowski’ her poems grab your heart and soul and make you want to call you friends immediately and reminisce about the wild parties, biggest loves and bad-ass hangovers (The Last Big Drinky is a particular highlight). These poems span twenty years of Salena’s career and the collection has a wonderful introduction detailing her rock and roll poetry career. Sit up and take note: Salena is an artist in every sense of the word, her passion and personality are bigger than the pages themselves…” 

"Salena Godden follows up her recent poetry anthology with a lyrical and witty memoir painting a portrait of the artist as a young girl. Springfield Road tells the wide-eyed tale of Godden’s childhood as the daughter of a jazz musician and a go-go dancer set against the lovingly rendered backdrop of 1970s Hastings.  Springfield Road’s prose wavers effortlessly throughout, from tender poignancy to raw, gritty realism and this lovely book serves to remind us that however much the world has changed in the last forty years, in many ways it is still exactly the same." Lee Bullman

"Throughout, Godden writes about a past that is at once deeply personal yet also belongs to the everyman figure; her descriptions of childhood are simultaneously timeless and yet rooted in a particular period of British history…" Debjani Biswas-Hawkes   

Springfield Road: A Memoir by Salena Godden 

In his absence, first in life then in his death, Paul Godden became whatever his daughter Salena wanted him to be: so she made her Irish father from pieces of other men: poets Richard Brautigan and Laurie Lee, actors Oliver Reed and Dirk Bogarde, jazz musician Chet Baker. Anything but ordinary.  But this remembrance by poet and performance artist Salena Godden is also about reality: the daily, domestic heroism of her beautiful Jamaican mother, the competitive but comforting company of her older brother Gus, the scents of Lifebuoy soap, Earl Grey tea, mothballs and kippers in the house of her Godden grandparents in Springfield Road in Hastings in the 1970s, Such times and places, “now in the faraway”, are evoked through family letters and diaries, snatched conversations, the pains and pleasures of adolescence, the discovery of how to love. Her writing is urgent and detailed, colourful and clamorous. Like all love stories, her memoir is intense and intimate.
Iain Finlayson / The Times

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