Salena Godden: Flags, Kanye & Kayne

A few days ago Salena Godden popped up with a new poem so poignant that we wanted to mark it with a Burning Eye blog post.

Kanye West was always going to be a controversial headliner for Glastonbury festival. His less-than-subtle attitude when it comes to other artists like Beck and Taylor Swift have not gone unnoticed by relentless media or the internet. Nevertheless, West appeared on Saturday at the Pyramid stage and performed an hour and forty-five minute set to a sea of Glasto-goers. It was followed instantaneously by online recordings, tweets, facebook posts and reviews that were along a spectrum of backhanded praise, admiration and total disgust. Salena Godden had something to add to the outcries:

So no, he didn’t name check Bree Newsome,

Or burn the flag she ripped down from the sky,

He didn’t ask for prayers for Charleston,

An end to police brutality, gun violence and crime,

No. He didn’t seem to notice it was gay pride,

Nor draw a rainbow on his cheek,

He didn’t make us take a minutes silence,

For the American black churches burnt down this week…” Read On Here

Needless to say, it put things into perspective. The inspirational direct action of Bree Newsome as she climbed the flagpole and removed the Confederate flag backdrops Kanye’s claim as the ‘greatest rock star on earth’ and belittles it. Whilst the world will argue the best and worst bits of his performance and career, hundreds march the streets for the equality of black communities and black lives. So whatever Kanye’s performance was, it wasn’t political or in solidarity with anyone other than himself. He missed a great opportunity to raise awareness, to remind the Glastonbury crowds of the reality of racist institutions and the struggle against police brutality. But luckily Salena didn’t, and Flags, Kanye & Kayne is our new favourite poem.

Salena Godden is an outstanding voice in modern poetry. Her first collection Fishing In The Aftermath is vast with poems stretching across twenty years. It is an impressive testament to a great thinker, writer and performer. Have a flick through the collection here:

And pick up your copy from our online store.

Salena is performing at several festivals and shows over the summer, make sure you catch her!

Summer gig poster

Rogue Teacher: Out Now

Mark Grist rose to internet fame by walking into a rap battle as an unassuming English teacher and slammed his opponent. His lyrical put-downs against Blizzard has been viewed over 4 million times on YouTube.  Later, he quit his day job and pursued a poetry career that has made him one of the top spoken word poets in the UK. 9781909136533 His début show Rogue Teacher is about teaching secondary school and his decision to hang up the school tie and become a full time poet. The poems are now in print in Mark’s new book by the same title. It is his first collection and is available now in our online store. The book also contains material from later shows Grave Invaders and Dead Poets’ Deathmatch.  We’re hugely excited about the release, we’ve been on twitter asking to hear your favourite poems and this is one of ours: Enjoy the book, let us know what you think!

So You’re Not Going to Glastonbury Then?

The Poetry&Words stage is the only stage dedicated to poetry at Glastonbury festival. It has been going since 1992 and has hosted great powerhouses like Carol Ann Duffy, Kate Tempest and Luke Wright. This year will be no exception to the talent, veteran and emerging, sounding off inside the pavilion tent.

But not all of us are going to Glastonbury. Some of us have to stay home and keep the cities populated. There are ups to this, we can smile when the rain comes, knowing that whilst we will get wet we will be dry again. We can sit in the comfort of our own living rooms and watch the highlights without having to squeeze between crowds of anoraks and sweaty backs. It’s pretty nice really, especially if you’re not an outdoorsy type.

With that in mind, this year’s Poetry&Words line up features a percentage of artists who have their collections published with Burning Eye Books! So if you’re sat in the office or on a train or something, here are our favourites by Anna Freeman, Vanessa Kisuule, Megan Beech, Dan Simpson and Harry Baker:

You can check out more videos from more poets on our Videos page.

To everyone off to Glastonbury this weekend, have a great time! If you’re not, have a lovely weekend anyway.

To Publish or Not to Publish Performance Poetry

burningeyebooks:

Interesting article. Pretty obvious which side of the debate Burning Eye is on of course!

Originally posted on Katie Ailes:

Being a performance poet means fantastic live exposure: one can interact with the audience, contextualise poems through between-poem chat, adapt the set for the setting, etc. However, as great as this physical exposure and audience engagement is, performance poetry as a genre also carries with it the drawback that it is ultimately ephemeral. The audience may love your work, but at the end of the night, they have nothing to take home with them: no book, no tangible product to which they can refer later if they want to revisit the poetry. This is a drawback for the poet as well, since by not producing their work through print media they lose out on an important way of making money and marketing themselves.

Realising this limitation, many contemporary performance poets are no longer restricting their work to the stage. Increasingly, performance poets are publishing their work in print while continuing to identify as performance poets. Andrea Gibson…

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Show Me Life by @livtorc is now available to buy online


Liv Torc’s collection Show Me Life is hot off the press and available to buy from our online shop! Click here for more details.

Liv Torc is a razor blade skating performance poet and comedian, who plunges the vast caverns and dormant volcanoes of the human condition, armed with a box of matches and a sense of lyrical wonder.An experienced and popular performer, compere and workshop leader, Liv was the South West winner of the last National Radio 4 Poetry Slam, the Bard of Exeter and she runs a successful spoken word stage at WOMAD festival.

More releases coming soon…