|Salena Godden, Byline Festival|
Hello, how are you?
Well I don't know where to begin. I know I'm aching and hurting all over. I'm coughing like an old sea captain and snotty and hoarse and absolutely knackered today. Good news: We're now in the 2nd print run of 'Pessimism is for Lightweights' - we sold out of the first editions in a matter of weeks, thanks to you and your support. I've been having the busiest and best of times, the happiest of heatwaves and the wildest adventures.
Before we hurtle into the usual Septemberry goodbye summer and hello autumn talk, I need to say thank you to these festivals and events, I've been having such a laugh on this summer rollar-coaster heatwave helter-skelter thanks to these beautiful people, lately I have read at Derby Book Festival, Stokey Lit Fest, Shakespeare and Co in Paris, Bristol Wardrobe Theatre, Tower of London with Inua Ellams, Sheffield's Festival of Debate, Churchtown, Port Eliot, Green Gathering, Edinburgh International Book Festival with Molly Naylor and Luke Wright, For Books Sake and The Scottish Poetry Library, Byline Festival with the LIVEwire poets and Electric Fields with Neu Reekie up in Dumfries and Galloway. Thank you!!
So many funny and memorable moments this summer.
I remember one moment I was in a dream in Paris in June and the next that exhilarating and united feeling of us all marching against Trump. I remember blowing my whistle, and reading a poem for the Women's March there in Parliament Square. Next I remember miles of motorways and long epic road trips towing the caravan and laughing with Dickie. Sleeping in the caravan for the first time was magic. Waking up and making eggs and looking out over Fowey was just glorious. Wet dew grass on bare feet. Cleaning your teeth looking up at July's endless blue skies. I remember receiving standing ovations for my shows at Churchtown, Green Gathering and Byline Festival. I remember standing on stage and crying because you were crying. I recall laughing because you were laughing. I remember catching feelings, my heart all open like a bus and people climbing in. I recall dancing, full moon raves and bonfires. I remember I stood singing in a graveyard at dawn alone. I remember the long light and the big love. We made dozens of yellow badges and gave them away to strangers. We sold out of yellow books. We lived in a field in a yellow 1970's caravan and we were so happy living in there.
I loved Toria Garbutt at Green Gathering, and Mik Artistic being a legend at Edinburgh Festival. I loved Iona Lee and me drinking rum from teacups. Glitter exploding everywhere. Watching sun rise and swigging red wine with blue lips with Oakley. I saw Young Fathers live on stage for the first time! I met Pussy Riot for the first time! A constant mizzle of rain on your skin and hair. If I don't write some of this down I will forget it all, because I always do. We tend to remember the criticisms or failures, the negative feedback, and not the simple pleasures, praise and successes don't we. It is human nature and all part of this soft heart of mine. Note to January self - Summer 2018 was a phenomenon. A most unusual time. I won't take any of this for granted, I have been appreciating these warm responses, the feelings, the tears and the hugs and the connections I've been making with new friends, old friends, the authors, artists and poets I've been meeting on my touring travels and festival adventures. Me in my yellow kimono and silver boots, stomping up and down the UK, from London down to Cornwall over to Bristol and Wales and up to Scotland and back again and all the places in between! Churchtown! Port Eliot! Green Gathering! Edinburgh! Neu Reekie! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
|Salena Godden and Molly Naylor |
Edinburgh International Book Festival
Byline Festival was extraordinary. A very special time. We did several poetry shows over the weekend. At the Byline Festival opening ceremony I collaborated with New Orleans aerialist Elizabeth Rose and her Fly Circus Space companions. This was my first experiment collaborating my poetry with circus and magic. We were on stage at midnight. It was the full August moon. Elizabeth and I chose to perform Sage, the spell-poem in my 'Pessimism is for Lightweights' collection. While I read the poem and cast a spell, there were three white witches spinning on white silk as I performed the words. Vibrations! I loved this!
|Elizabeth Rose, Byline Festival|
I send a huge heart filled and heart exploding thank you to the LIVEwire poets at Byline Festival 2018!
Follow our LIVEwire poets on twitter here:
Maria Ferguson @kerdonk
Michelle Fisher @michelle_writer
Scarlett Sabet, @ScarlettSabet
Michelle Madsen @mishmadsen
Oli Spleen @olispleen
Connor Byrne @conrbyrne
Matt Abbott @MattAbbottPoet
Sophie Cameron @RedRawLondon
Selina Nwulu @SelinaNwulu
Oli Spleen @OliSpleen
You beautiful and brilliant people! The poets smashed it at Byline! Byline Festival was a magnificent feast! The House of Fairytales! Art Car Boot Fair! I loved seeing Pussy Riot perform live! Wow! Jamie Kelsey Frye was on superb top form - please make sure you check out The Bill Of Wrongs online! Peter Jukes! John Mitchinson! Birgitta Jonsdottir! Carole Cadwalldr! Gary Lineker! Alexei Sayle! My phone totally died so I have hardly any pictures, but you'll find photos and films on the Byline Festival website and their social media.
I remember the taste of hot toddies and the soft summer rain and that Sunday afternoon we did a pop up show and performed our poetry in the Frontline Club. Plus there were two LIVEwire poetry parties on the Backline stage too. Such powerful work and so much joy! It was a feast of connectivity, positivity, talks, debates, dancing, rum, mischief and music! Thank you!
Early bird tickets, Byline 2019 on sale now: https://www.bylinefestival.com
|LIVEwire poets, Byline Festival 2018|
Coming up next then?
Rain. Soup. A new notebook. Blackberries. Saffron yellow leaves. Conkers. Porridge. Tea. Reading Books. Pumpkins. Cinnamon. Apples. Halloween. Bonfires. Fireworks ... AND ... More fun and more gigs and more festivals and more adventures in independent publishing and poetry and performance. I'm excited to have new work included in two anthologies which are both being launched and out this month.
Edited by Rita Osei and Michelle Olley #WOMAN is 50 pieces by 16 female creators from across the globe. Anthology including published works, repertoire pieces and new verses written especially for this book. Launch party at Vout O'Reenees on September 12th! tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com
The Dizziness of Freedom
A collection of writing on themes of mental health awareness is coming out on Bad Betty Press and launched on September 20th at Rich Mix in London and then followed by various events up and down the UK. Contemporary poets speak out about mental health in this groundbreaking anthology. Edited by Amy Acre and Jake Wild Hall. Foreword by my Rough Trade Books label mate Melissa Lee-Houghton: tickets: https://badbettypress.com
|Salena Godden and Michelle Olly |
Byline Festival with a copy of the new WOMAN anthology
I'm heading back into the studio with Peter Coyte working on 'Mrs Death Misses Death' and getting ready to perform more from this work in the autumn. I'm also back at work with LSO composer Jasmin Kent Rodgman performing HUH again in October. There's lots of work for me to do, I don't know what is around the corner, but then I never do. But first it's time to make a pot of chai and read a book and recharge my batteries. Right now I'm loving the latest Deborah Delano novel, check out 'The Portrait of Adie Denton' - A perfect read! I'll see you all soon enough and thank you, again, I thank you!
|Neu Reekie, Electric Fields 2018|
3 | ROUGH TRADE EAST | BRICK LANE, LONDON
4 | TONGUE FU | ARNOLFINI GALLERY, BRISTOL
10 | INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL | BRUSSELS
13 | TONGUE FU | CHELTENHAM BOOK FESTIVAL
21 | HUH | ALBANY THEATRE
|Visit Nymphs and Thugs for the new t-shirts - |
We've now sold out of First Edition 'Pessimism is for Lightweights' by @salenagodden and are taking pre-orders for the Second Edition run on our website now! If you're after a 1st edition you may be able to get one at the following stores...
@Shakespeare_Co @LRBbookshop @pagesofhackney @ArnolfiniShop @familystoreuk @driftrecordshop @RoughTrade @printedmatter2 @margatebookshop @RoughTradeNYC @SunleeHoward & @needlespens
'Pessimism is for Lightweights' some reviews and press
'Switch off the news. Read books. Listen to great music. Listen to the world never changing unless you change. Look at the sky and watch a sunset or sunrise. Engage in film and theatre. Support your artists. Use your library. Share petitions. Keep the pressure on....' Run Riot - http://www.run-riot.com
"This brilliant poem is here to remind us Pessimism is for Lightweights. Print it. Laminate it. And send it to all the wonderful women in your life."
Stylist Magazine - https://www.stylist.co.uk/speak-up
"Godden is less Godden and more Goddess, a superbly provocative delivery. Pessimism is for Lightweights appeals to me, as Godden puts it, “it’s apathy that hurts us all…love will conquer hate,” and this collection seems to surround itself with love."
Keira Brown in The Fountain Review - https://thefountain.eu/books
"Salena Godden’s Pessimism for Lightweights is a visceral approach to resistance poetry. As with Godden’s previous work, there is a raw, explosive energy to each poem"
Adelle Stripe in Caught By The River - https://www.caughtbytheriver.net
NEW: Interview with Connor Sansby, Thanet Writers
Recorded earlier this year at Margate Bookie!