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!