Creativity Interview with Salena Godden – Poet, Performer & Writer

SalenaSatya writes: For years I’d heard Salena’s name around and about the poetry scene, and then somehow we met online and made friends… We’ve yet to meet in real life but I have a feeling we’d get on just fine. I’m very happy to welcome Salena to our series of creativity interviews today.

Welcome, Salena. What drives your creative work?

Like many poets and artists my work comes from observations of human nature, of noticing the small things, of seeking the humour and the tenderness in the world.

Also like many I’m driven by a need to share and to be heard, to be read, but above all a drive to finish what I feel was started a long time ago, back when I wrote my first ever ABC.

What would you say to yourself if you could go back in time and meet yourself at the beginning of your creative career?

Never, never give up.

How do you keep creating when things get difficult?

There are many rules to writing and keeping the creative dough rising, the most efficient way to stay creative is to switch off electronic goods, unplug all phones, go into your cave, grow a beard, eat dry cereals from the box for dinner,

you are the last person on earth that can do THIS the way you do it, so do it, act like you will have nothing to do with another human being, ever again, before you know it, you are speaking fluent house fly

and the flies will tell you to quit but you keep going, the mice will laugh at you, but you still keep going, in spite of the sense of futility and the fear of failure and the fear of success and all those obstacles,

the obstacles are good, they are like the side of a swimming pool, something to kick, push from, its important to remember we never climb a well from the middle, its even more important to make a routine and stick to it, get up when

the moon is setting and go to bed when the sun is setting, write in the moonstone coloured silence of watching the first light of every day and do nothing but work at it and do it and do it and get it wrong and get it right and get that bit

wrong too, but don’t go baking bread or defrosting your freezer, don’t clean your teeth or look in any mirrors, not until it is done and finished, then slam the door on it, walk out into the pouring rain, barefoot, in your underwear, stand in

the middle of the road, tip your head back, with black rain falling into your eyes, scream up at the stars, whhhhhy, and with that glorious scream the answer will be because you told yourself you could.

How does your creative work affect the rest of your life?

I am afraid there isn’t much ‘rest of life’ – writing, hustling, performing, larking about with microphones and music – kinda always was my life, which became my work, which is my job, which has a large element of play.

What is it like to send your work out into the world?

Exciting sometimes and scary sometimes – We are not ever what we intend to do or say, we are what we already did or said intentionally.

What was the best advice anyone gave to you?

I love this “Smell the roses on the way along, hold on tightly when you are strong, and when you have to let go gently.”

The best advice people give me is to be myself and be true to that voice

What helps you to pay attention to the world?

Colour. Light. Laughter. Warmth. Music. Change.

Somedays i want the word for everything, the right word, the best word.

Other times i enjoy colour, noticing exact tones or shades of colours, of sunsets and distant fields, oceans and peoples eyes…

Lately its been my ears, i have been listening keenly, recording and experimenting with music and sounds.


Bio: I write and perform poetry, short-stories, memoir, radio drama and lyrics. My most recent book of poems, Under the Pier, was published by Nasty Little Press in 2011. I have written a literary memoir titled ‘Springfield Road’ it is signed to Unbound crowd funded books. I’m known as The General of The Book Club Boutique, host and producer of London’s louchest literary salon. I’ve appeared on radio as a guest on Woman’s Hour, The Verb and Saturday Live and most recently wrote and presented a documentary, Stir it Up! – 50 Years of Writing Jamaica for BBC Radio 4. I have been variously 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)

“Honest, grippingly readable, funny and uplifting, (Springfield Road) is the pilgrims progress of a brave young woman into adulthood, poetry and music.” Maggie Gee OBE

‘Springfield Road’ by Salena Godden is here.
Please help us publish this book and pledge your support at Unbound – crowd funded publishing.

Comments & replies

4 thoughts on “Creativity Interview with Salena Godden – Poet, Performer & Writer

  1. Ellecee

    An excellent interview. I am not familiar with Salena’s work but because of this article I am going to become so. I love the people I am able to meet through your mindfull interviews.

  2. Craig Daniels

    The interview was in front of me when i turned, for just a second I stopped to read it while breathing slowly breathing deeply.

    Thanks for the post.

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