How often is it that a poet with the name recognition factor and critical standing of Salena Godden publishes their first collection 20 years into their career? Perhaps it is simply that no publisher has had the courage to commit themselves to the task of reflecting the force of nature that is Salena Godden to the page… until Burning Eye came along!
Be clear, Fishing in the Aftermath is more that a sweeping up exercise, more than a greatest hits retrospective, more than a gathering up of old work. Salena takes us on a hair-raising ride through the process of a writer, the highs, the lows, the drinks, the lovers, the fights, the sex (especially the sex) that she has embraced like a method actor in search of a character, and shared with audiences over twenty years. Like a 21st Century female Bukowski Godden delivers her message straight and full strength. Not for the weak-kneed or faint-hearted, Salena is a hurricane of personality and energy, and the full force of the considerable talent that has made her a hit at literary festivals the world over is delivered here in all its frank glory.
Salena Godden is one of Britain’s foremost spoken word artists. A regular performer at literary festivals in the UK and around the world in a career than is now entering its third decade. Salena tops the bill at literary events and festivals nationally and internationally. She can be heard on the BBC as a guest on Woman’s Hour, Click, From Fact To Fiction, The Verb and as a resident poet on R4’s Saturday Live. She currently works alongside award-winning radio producer Rebecca Maxted with their most recent production Try A Little Tenderness – The Lost Legacy of Little Miss Cornshucks aired on BBC R4 in May 2014. This follows the success of their last collaboration Stir it Up! –50 Years of Writing Jamaica also for BBC R4.
Fishing In The Aftermath – Poems 1994-2014 marks twenty years of poetry and performance and the majority of the work included here is previously unpublished in book form.
The Guardian First Book Award holds back one space on its short list every year for a reader nominated title. Between today and 13th July you can therefore nominate any book that is A) the author’s FIRST ever book in … Continue reading →
As the response to our call for poetry collection submissions from performers was more than 3 times the size to last year it is taking longer than anticipated to look at them all. The mission is to reply by the end of this week so if you submitted we will be in touch to let you know one way or the other. Please don’t email asking for an update in the mean time because any time spent reading and reply to those emails will just make the whole process longer. Thanks all.
It is not officially out until Friday but it is IN THE BUILDING, fresh from the printer, looking resplendent and casting a warm glow on a grey day out here on the Severn delta. The walls are vibrating and you … Continue reading →
Burning Eye editor and poet Clive Birnie remembers 1994:
I have been working with Salena Godden on her forthcoming Burning Eye Book, Fishing in the Aftermath – Poems 1994-2014 since the beginning of the year, although we had been talking about it since the Bang Said The Gun book launch last year. In the course of editing we have talked about 1994 a great deal. There was a World Cup Finals that summer (in the USA) although England weren’t there of course and I am not sure that it was on Salena’s radar at the time. Bukowski died that year, which is significant. I think Salena unconsciously picked up the baton as it slipped from his fingers and she took to the stage as a poet for the first time. You can feel the spirit of Buk running through her book. Feel the raw honesty and boozy energy. It is one hell of a book. You wait ’til you read it.
One of the stand out memories of 1994 for me was a trip to Beirut. I was there to shoot a washing powder ad. Yep. A long way from LA, a long way from London. A long way from home. Beirut was still a sea of rubble. The roads were cracked and broken. Bullet-hole pockmarks adorned every building down in the city. I was shown the only working traffic light. Everywhere else it was make your own rules. One of the guys from the local film crew drove me around and took me off into the parts of town you wouldn’twander on your own, although he got a bit nervous when I took pictures of the Syrian tanks that were still in residence back then. Assad senior was still in power next door in Syria and his son, the elder brother of the current Assad has just been killed in a car crash. I had an old cassettewalkman with me and a couple of Sonic Youth tapes. I read Conrad flying out and William Burroughs’s Western Lands while in Beirut. And this is the poem I wrote in my notebook exactly 20 years ago today:
Dear Books Bloggers, Good Reads Reviewers, Guardian Reader Review Writers and people who post book reviews around that internet. We need your help. We’ve had some decent reviews to be honest but we need to beat the grass for some … Continue reading →
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A night of spoken word poetry to celebrate the differences and sameness of North and South England
Date: Friday 20th June
Location: Edric Hall, London South Bank University
On Friday 20th June, I’ll be running a free poetry event in celebration of the Southbank University’s Centre for Social and Policy Research‘s latest project: North versus South. The event will feature an amazing line up of some of England’s best Southern and Northern spoken word poets – Bridget Minamore, Dan Cockrill, Ali Gadema, Vanessa Kissule, Keisha Thompson and myself. They’ll be lined up together to explore what it means to them to live where they do.
From 4-5.30 I’ll also be taking a workshop, again free, for anyone interested in coming down and doing a bit of poetry – no…