Tuesday, 22 April 2014

BBC radio, gigs and new book news...

Salena Godden 2014 by Olivia Rutherford

Hope you all had wonderful Easter holidays!
I just wanted to let you all know I have lots of cool radio and gig news for you this week. I'm buzzing, my fabulous producer Rebecca Maxted and I have just returned from a cold and snowy Chicago, it was an amazing trip. We met so many wonderful jazz and blues legends, recorded some brilliant stories and live music...I loved it. 

Pictured above is a moment of madness when I got up on stage and did a blues poem with Carl Weathersby at Kingston Mines, a fantastic blues club in Chicago that is open until 4am. (note the time on the clock in this photo!) Thank you to all who took part in this programme, I hope more people discover the beautiful songs of Cornshucks after this....'Try a Little Tenderness - The Lost Legacy of Little Miss Cornshucks' will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4, May 13th at 11.30am

April 22nd
I am reading a commissioned piece for BBC World Service / Click Radio 6.30pm

April 23rd 
I'm reading poems and talking books on BBC Scotland / The Culture Show 2.30pm

April 24th 
I'm on team poetry for 'Stand Up and Slam' A hilarious evening of performance poets v's comedians at The Comedy Cafe, Rivington St, London

April 25th 
Catch me up in Edinburgh at the notorious Neu Reekie, Summerhall

And last but not least some book news....

Springfield Road
If you would still like to contribute and have your name in the book and other goodies, VIP tickets to the launch parties and all that fun stuff, the deadline for this is midnight (BST) on Thursday 24th April 2014. Please click here ‘Springfield Road’ Unbound Books

Fishing In The Aftermath / Poems 1994 - 2014 
One to watch, published by Burning Eye this summer. My wicked new poetry collection can now be found here at Waterstones, so get in early and order yours now.

See you there, hear you near, tune in and turn on...
Sending much love and thanks to all followers and subscribers to Waiting For Godden
I'm so excited about ALL of this...Buzz buzz buzz....sgxx

Salena Godden 1994 by Olivia Rutherford

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Springtime News / Chicago to Edinburgh

Springtime News / Chicago to Edinburgh

Spring time, spring shine...
I'll start by sharing something from last week's fantastic Tongue Fu at The Photographers’ Gallery
A one-off show featuring a unique art installation with CR&D as part of the galleries current exhibition of work by William Burroughs, David Lynch and Andy Warhol. It was a wonderful night celebrating the beats, an evening of improvisation, poetry, jazz and psychedelics alongside Jazz Man John, Toby Thompson, hosted by Chris Redmond.  
Pictured above, a letter from London to winter, 'Dear Winter' Watch on youtube here

Read 'The Reply: A Letter From Winter to London...'


Things are hot here in my kitchen, pots simmering, pans bubbling, I'm almost ready to plate up...
I have two books out this year, a new BBC music documentary in production, several commissions to write plus a plethora of shenanigans, summer festivals, tours and travels in the pipeline. Pictured above are beautiful proof copies of 'Fishing In The Aftermath Poems 1994-2014' marking an anniversary of sorts, twenty years of poetry and performance, 'Fishing in the Aftermath' will be published with Burning Eye Books in the summer of 2014. The wicked cover artwork is an oil painting 'Poet and Painter' by my great friend, the artist Kelly-Anne Davitt.

This is the only photograph of me with my father and its the cover for my eagerly awaited literary memoir 'Springfield Road' which was successfully crowd funded thanks to all of you. This book will be published with Unbound Books also later in 2014. I thank you all for your patience waiting for this one to drop, its on its way... I will be able to tell you more about both books very soon. Please get in touch if you wish to review or blog about either book.

Little Miss Cornshucks
I am enjoying being back working alongside award-winning radio producer Rebecca Maxted. We're in production with 'Try A Little Tenderness – The Lost Legacy of Little Miss Cornshucks' which will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 this summer 2014.  This follows the success of our last collaboration 'Stir it Up! - 50 Years of Writing Jamaica' which was also for BBC Radio 4. We will be in America this month, in Chicago, tracing the footsteps of old jazz heroes, to tell the tale of Little Miss Cornshucks, a wonderful jazz and blues singer that sang this sublime version of 'Try A Little Tenderness'. Watch it here and you'll see what I mean... 

I'm very excited to interview the living legend Salena Jones this month. I am going to meet my namesake and this is where my projects collide. I mention Salena Jones in Springfield Road because my father played for her in the early 1970's. My mother has told me Salena Jones made such an impression on my father he insisted they name me after her. By coincidence Salena Jones played some of the same clubs and blazed a similar trail to that of Little Miss Cornshucks. She also shared bills with Little Miss Sharecropper, Laverne Baker who was on the same label as Cornshucks. Salena Jones of course had the success and Little Miss Cornshucks disappeared into obscurity. Right now, I feel like I am becoming some kind of jazz ghost whisperer, but I am so curious to hear Salena's story, her early life playing those legendary haunts and her memories of boogie-woogie and all that jazz. And of course I'll ask her if she remembers a certain Irish jazz session musician, my father, Paul Godden.

With all of this on my hot plate, I'm trying not to party too much! So just two poetry gigs this month, see below. See you there, see you here, keep fighting the good fight, keep on keeping on! sgxx

Coming up:

April 25: Gig / Salena Godden / Neu Reekie / Edinburgh

Salena Jones

Friday, 21 March 2014

#worldpoetryday / Tick No Box

 Tick No Box

There is only one job
where you make so many friends,
have a lot of laughs,
travel the world,
feel so busy and get so occupied,
feel like you constantly have more to learn
and yet seem to achieve so little.

There is only one job
where there is always a long way to go,
mountains to climb,
humble pie to swallow
so much skying to do,
cloud-bothering and moon-bathing,
hustles and hard knocks,
and that's the full time job of poetry.

Poetry is the poor cousin
at the wedding of real writing,
journalists and authors and comedians
and playwrights and broadcasters are real writing.
I can imagine this grand banquet,
there’s poetry sitting on the floor,
begging and feeding off the scraps it is thrown.
A one-minute slot here,
A bit of telly there
A spot of radio, yeah,
slipped in like an after thought
an amuse bouche, an aperitif,
before the juggler and after the hoola-hoop girl.

About once a year a blaggard,
writes an article with the headline
‘Poetry Is The New Rock And Roll.’
This is swiftly followed by debates about the health of poetry,
as though poetry is an elderly distant relative,
coughing up blood and awaiting test results,
people get excited…
and then it all goes quiet again,
and poetry slumps back to its blogs and the back pages,
by the crossword and an advert to buy thermal long johns.

Poetry is akin to the poi juggler.
You can see it takes some skill and practice,
But seriously, can you be bothered?
Poetry is the failed comedy,
the indulgent monologue,
the verbose non-song with no melody.

Poetry is all short bony lines with no meat or pictures,
Poetry is hardly ever asked to sit at the big table with real writing,
rarely passed the gravy or the bread,
never given an actual plate or cutlery,
poetry eats off the floor with ink-stained hands,
bad teeth and absinthe blind,
because poetry is a dog,
because poetry is a sad orphan,
because poetry is difficult,
because poetry isn't sexy.
because poetry audiences have no attention span
for a poem that is longer than one minute.

And writing sits up high at the big table feasting,
sucking bone marrow, slurping whine and sour grapes
Hmm interesting…what is real poetry?
Darling, it must be the poetry that was expensive!
Or the poetry that told the truth.
The poetry that was all about you.
The poem that was all about me, me, me...

Or is it the poetry that the clever person told you was clever poetry?
Or the poetry that paid homage and bowed to the Queen?
Or the poetry of the mad or the poetry of the dead?
Real poetry is dead poetry.
Yes. We all agree.
Dead people write real poetry!

I'd rather sit under the table
Than pull up a chair and join the salesmen and magicians.    
And I suggest as poets we all carry on,
carry on as we always have and always will do,
carry on doing our writings and doing our readings,
carry on reading, carry on writing, 
carry on as you were and as you are,
while the big mouths dribble all over the big table,
And decide amongst themselves.
What this is and
Who we are and
Why we do this.

An odd life is poetry,
I do it on purpose.
This work is all my own work,
working towards changing all of the above,
none of the above.

I tick no box.

  (c) Salena Godden / London / 2014
'Tick No Box' taken from the new poetry collection by Salena Godden, coming soon with Burning Eye, watch this space. My next poetry gig is MARCH 27th with the mighty Tongue Fu  - For all David Lynch, William Burroughs or Andy Warhol fans, you might like this one-off show we're doing at The Photographers Gallery in the West End as part of an exhibition of their work. The eagerly anticipated ‘Springfield Road’ a literary childhood memoir will be out soon, look out for news at Unbound... Thanks for following!

Happy World Poetry Day