Monday, 18 April 2016

Audio-Poem / This Is Not Another Eulogy (for Howard Marks and Jock Scot)

Soundscape-poem, voice and memory, followed by two fantastic tracks by Jock and then Howard. Thank you for following. I'm so sad right now, my thoughts are with family and friends, feeling the loss, celebrating the life and sharing this with love.

This is not another Eulogy
For Howard & Jock 

by Salena Godden

On Monday they came for Howard
And on Wednesday they took Jock Scot
Wicked sense of timing
I raise and down a shot
To the wildcards and free thinkers
The rock and roll, the punk rock
On Monday we heard about Howard
And on Wednesday it was Jock
What appalling news, this week
We lost two legends in one go
The wildest and the funniest and
The booziest times I've known
I am thankful to have known them
Here's to Howard, here's to Jock
They don't make them like that anymore
That rock and roll, punk rock
Two of my heroes in one week
We reel in the after shock
The week we lost Mr Nice
And our favourite poet Jock
Forgive me. This is not a eulogy
And this is not a holy prayer
But I remember them together here
And dream of them elsewhere
I met them when I was twenty
As young as my Iona Lee
Looking back, I'm thankful for the laughter
And their influence on me
And I'm not being sentimental
This is not a eulogy I wrote
I love Howard, I love Jock
And those words catch in my throat
I write this in an April shower
And there's a thunder storm above
Raise a glass to Howard and to Jock
And all the love love love
No. This is not another eulogy
It's a broken Lambretta of a goodbye letter
I'll finish this another day
When the weather gets better.

(c) Salena Godden / April 2016

Tonight's April full moon traditionally called the full pink moon, 
so that's a cherry moon and its April, 
and outside it is snowing, with cherry blossom...

"I want to live life to the ultimate high
Maybe I'll die young like heroes die
Maybe I'll kiss u some wild special way
If nobody kills me or thrills me soon,
I'll die in your arms under the cherry moon"

gigs, parties, festivals, dates coming up...

April 22nd: Rally and Broad, Edinburgh

May 26th: Bang Said The Gun, The Dancehouse Theatre, Manchester
June 4th: Stoke Newington Festival, London

June 23rd: Spoken Beat Night, Bimhuis, Amsterdam

June 29th: Soapbox Poetry, The John Peel Centre, Stowmarket

July 9th: The Roundhouse, Camden, London

July 23rd: Festival 23  twitter: @festival23COD for info!

August 4th: William Morris Gallery, London

August 17th: Hausman Bookstore, London

September 2-4th: Churchtown, Cornwall

October 19th: Manchester Literary Festival

Monday, 28 March 2016

Poem / Old Blood, Young Teeth by Salena Godden

Old Blood and Young Teeth

A life is so short 

When you consider the age
Of the temples and cathedrals
Built with the faith and old blood of men
Who lived short lives and then died
In the name of their Gods and their Gods immortality
Consider the age of that gold Buddha
It is older than the crippled tree that was planted when it was erected
But younger than the river beneath it and the ocean oldest of all
And the years of the sun and the moon?
Who is eldest? The sun or the moon?
And the age of fire, how old is fire?
How old is water? Is rain older than flame?
And the teeth in your head are so young, my love
The teeth in your head are so young
The teeth in your head are so young compared to your brain
What thoughts your brain had before your teeth grew
And your old heart, how faithfully it beats, old timer
Your ears listened, heard you scream as that first tooth tore though
And the first thing your first tooth gnawed was your own finger
All of us, every one of us had to grow teeth last
Every one of us had to grow teeth last
So smile now, show me your young teeth
Smile and show us all your spring chicken tooth
Smile and let your first dream soar
Smile now and feel that love beat in your old chest 
And shine out of those big old eyes of yours
Your shiny old eyes in your old bone skull head 
But oldest of all is your old, old blood
Your blood is as old as time 
And I love you 
And I love every drop. 

(c) Salena Godden / 2016 

Note: This is the first draft of new work in progress, experimenting with film, sound and words.

June 23rd: Spoken Beat Night, Bimhuis, Amsterdam

June 29th: Soapbox Poetry, The John Peel Centre, Stowmarket

July 9th: The Roundhouse, Camden, London

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

March On!

March 2016

Hello My Dears -

I have just returned from a week teaching at Arvon, I've been at The Hurst in Shropshire, the beautiful home of playwright John Osbourne. As usual returning from Arvon to my desk here in London I am feeling good. I love teaching an Arvon week, you never know who you will meet or what you will read and what beautiful stories and poems you will hear. I have come home to find my love of writing and books refreshed, new ideas are buzzing in my head and heart and there is a rosy colour to my cheeks from walking in woods and taking in the clean and fresh country air and consuming tons of cake and biscuits and pints of tea, my cheeks aching from smiling... 

This ARVON week was particularly special, because it was a partnership with Cultureword - Women In The Spotlight - a course specifically for LGBT+ and/or BAME female writers. I couldn't help but notice that something changes, something glorious happens in a room when we do not have to apologise or censor ourselves, the dialogue was something quite magical, brave and honest. I was in a house with these brilliant women (pictured above) for a week and I have returned feeling nourished and energised, I really hope they feel the same too! 

I've been told this is the first time Arvon has had an all-women and all-bame group and I hope this is something they will do again. Together we shared some of the same struggles and challenges. As a woman, as a black woman, as a woman over 30, you will find yourself trapped, to have to constantly lower your expectations of being noticed, of being published, of being considered relevant and this can challenge your confidence. If you mostly or generally expect to be rejected or pushed to the side, you can learn to apologise, to lose some hope, to try to shrink your passion and your dream of making good writing, a great play or successful book. This week was vital for bonding, a week to recharge the confidence in your story, to remind you that your voice matters, your history, your present and your future. 

My co-tutor was a total legend - I had a wonderful teacher comrade in the dramaturge Ola Animashawun, the Diversity Associate Director at the Royal Court Theatre and Creative Director of Euphoric Ink. I feel I learned loads from Ola, I sat in on his sessions, absorbing his inspiring lessons in script writing and wise words about making theatre, and making stories come to life. Our guest speaker was also phenomenal and inspiring, the top playwright Tanika Gupta MBE. What a legend! Ok I must stop gushing now, but seriously this Arvon week was immensely memorable, and I was honoured to be asked to teach, to share and to contribute and just to be there, listening in awe. Thank you.

Workshop, Ola and Salena - Arvon March 2016
Photo by Hafsah Bashir

Tanika, Ola and Salena - 
Ola and I did some acting and read a scene from Tanika's brilliant new play
Arvon March 2016 - Photos by Hafsah Bashir

I'm trying not to gig quite so much this year, so I can take some space to finish my new books and secret projects .... But if you scroll down you'll see a list of some of the parties and mischief I am gonna do this springtime, I will add more festivals and gatherings when we are nearer the summer. 

Biglove to everybody that was there at the funeral for Dick Bradsell and all my Soho friends and family earlier this month. And also a shout out to all at the Convergence Festival, The Gil Scott Heron all-dayer, pieces of a man, at the Roundhouse in Camden last Sunday, March 13th, it was a thrill to contribute and enjoy a day of music and poetry and talks and discussion.  I love Gil Scott Heron 4ever xx

Cleveland Watkiss, Orphy Robinson, Salena Godden,  Malik Al Nasir and Keli Garret
Pieces of a Man - Gil Scott Heron event, Convergence Festival, The Roundhouse, Camden 

I'd better go now...before I go into one about the latest news. 
I returned to civilisation to switch on the internet to a flood of really bad news, dead people, hateful words spew from Twitter and Facebook, news headlines are all death and war and bombs and crooks and predators and human crisis and murder and violence and crap and cuts and blunders and budget and corruption and politicians and bullshit and money and greed and the theatre of it all, I wouldn't know where to start with that lot, not today. One small piece of good news this week was that at least the UK government have (apparently) ended the tampon tax, we won that small battle, so there's one teeny tiny triumph...come to a gig: 

NEXT GIG: March 24th: 

Coming up I'm at Lutonia Festival supporting John Cooper Clarke and also Rally and Broad!
Thank you for subscribing to Waiting For Godden - we have 221,609 readers now. 
Please stay safe, take care out there, read books, drink booze, be kind and eat your greens. 
Keep Fighting The Good Fight!
With love, 

 excerpt from a letter to Nikesh Shukla

Ola and Salena on the steps of The Hurst

Poets watching the sun set haha - photo borrowed from Christina Fonthes

New Book News

I have new work in three wicked and diverse anthologies coming out this year...

The Unreliable Guide to London published with Influx Press out July 2016 -

The Good Immigrant published by Unbound is out September 2016 -

Untitled Two - Neu Reekie anthology 
 Polygon Books & Neu Reekie Publication May 2016

You'll find me performing at these... 
gigs, festivals, gatherings and parties

March 24th: 

April 2nd: 

April 22nd: 

April 27th:
The Working Class Movement Library, Salford
Supporting Richard Milward  with Joe Stretch

May 19th:
WOW Festival, Liverpool
Stand Up And Spit with Tim Wells

June 23rd:
Spoken Beat Night
Bimhuis, Amsterdam

June 29th:
Soapbox Poetry
The John Peel Centre, Stowmarket

July 9th:
The Roundhouse
Camden London

July 18th:

July 23rd:
Festival 23

August 4th:

August 5th-7th:
The Green Gathering Festival

September 2-4th:

Arvon - Shropshire sunset, March 2016