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Feature: Books - Under The Pier. By Salena Godden

Salena Godden

Published: 5 May, 2011
by DAN CARRIER

POET Salena Godden’s latest anthology, Under The Pier, takes you from the streets of her home town, Hastings, to her stomping ground of Soho.

Salena (pictured), who runs the literary salon Book Club Boutique, has won a reputation for her searing performance poetry. Under The Pier includes satire and wit, a dollop of sadness and a hefty wedge of fear. 

“This is a selection of poetry that has been written both for page and performance, a nice balance of my sick dark work, funny stuff and also more tender gentle work,” she says. 

“This is a wonderfully balanced meal.”

But while she knows how to deliver a poem, she says there is no difference between writing for the page and writing for the stage. 

“There is no change,” she says. “A good poem will stand the test of time, it will read well on the page, it will be a thrill to hear it from the lips of the author or a lover, it will be copied onto toilet walls and quoted on Twitter, it will have longevity and honesty.”

And while she says she enjoys all the poems in the collection, she doesn’t have a favourite.

“But I loved my mother’s reaction to the book,” she admits. “She cried at the first poem ‘The Little Dog Laughed’. Then she read the ‘air stewardess’ poem and she was in hysterics, crying with laughter at the last line and the words ‘pilot sperm’.”

But above all this is a chronicle of a world Salena moves in and knows, and this collection gives you a front-row seat. “When you are a writer you are a thief,” she says. “You steal subjects and content from everything and everyone. Everything has the potential to be a good poem or piece of fiction – a joke in a pub can turn into an epic diatribe, a bus ride into a lament. 

“I think a writer lives two lives, one is your life and the other is your version of it all with a pen in your hand. It’s tricky sometimes to get from behind the camera and just live and stop taking notes.”

l Under The Pier. By Salena Godden. Nasty Little Press £5. www.nastylittlepress.org 

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