The nineteenth person in our series of introductions to performers taking part in International Poetry ReIncarnation at the Roundhouse in Camden on 30th May 2015 is the irrepressible Salena Godden.
Salena Godden has been described as ‘The doyenne of the spoken word scene’ (Ian McMillan, BBC Radio 3’s The Verb); ‘The Mae West madam of the salon’ (The Sunday Times) and as ‘everything the Daily Mail is terrified of’ (Kerrang! Magazine). Her pamphlet of poems, Under the Pier, was published by Nasty Little Press in 2011. An anthology of poetry Fishing In The Aftermath, Poems 1994 – 2014 was published in July 2014 with Burning Eye Books. Her literary childhood memoir Springfield Road was successfully crowdfunded and published in October 2014 by Unbound Books.
She’s known as The General of The Book Club Boutique, London’s louchest literary salon. The Book Club Boutique currently resides at Vout O’Reenee’s in East London. Salena is the lead singer and lyricist of SaltPeter, alongside composer Peter Coyte. She appears on BBC radio as a guest on various shows including Woman’s Hour, Click, From Fact To Fiction, The Verb, Saturday Live and Loose Ends. She recently featured on NPR’s ‘All Things Considered’ in the US. Salena Godden works with award winning radio producer Rebecca Maxted, writing and presenting BBC radio documentaries. Try A Little Tenderness – The Lost Legacy of Little Miss Cornshucks was made in Chicago and aired on BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service throughout 2014. This followed the success of Stir it Up! – 50 Years of Writing Jamaica which was also for BBC Radio 4.
Get your tickets for the evening’s star-laden performance here: The International Poetry ReIncarnation
Adam Horovitz reflects on the impact of the International Poetry Incarnation in 1965 and looks forward to the celebratory party for it.
I have spent most of my life aware of the International Poetry Incarnation, which took place in the Royal Albert Hall in 1965, very nearly 50 years ago. My father, Michael Horovitz, helped organise it, so of course I was going to be exposed of it. Growing up, I knew some of the poets. They were often about, in our house or at events, being genial and strange and merely a part of my metaphysical furniture.
For a long time, the 1965 Incarnation was a big poetry gig in the sky that people talked about and that I accepted as just another impressive thing that fathers do. As I have grown older, however, and become more interested in poetry in my own right, it has been hitting ever more forcefully home to me what a turning point this Incarnation, this 1965 happening, was.
Poetry in Britain was somewhat in the doldrums in the 1950s, as far as it being a public art went. It tended to sit in small rooms in universities and libraries and speak to and of itself. With my father’s generation – people like Adrian Mitchell, Christopher Logue, Pete Brown – poetry picked itself up and went running around the country talking to people who didn’t expect poetry to come leaping out of hedgerows at them. It went charging up to the Edinburgh Festival and touring through towns and cities with musicians and actors and playwrights in tow. Poetry began to listen, and to sing out in different rhythms. It offered up a party where only drier forms of symposia had appeared available before. Continue reading