Salena Godden on the good energy at ALSO Festival

Performing at this year’s ALSO Festival is Salena Godden, the contemporary poet and award-winning author. She returns to the festival having published two new books this year: With Love, Grief and Fury is her most audacious and definitive collection to date important and nourishing for the soul, and her memoir Springfield Road – A Poets Childhood Revisited is an evocative story about a home, rooted in love. Both books were published by Canongate.

And she is no stranger to live performance, regularly performing across the country, and her live poetry album LIVEwire was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award in 2017. Ahead her ALSO Festival performance, we caught up with her to find out what it’s like to be back.

Salena Godden Q&A

What does it feel like to be performing at this year’s ALSO Festival?

I’ve loved performing at ALSO since it began in the early days. The organisers are legends. I loved the audiences it attracts – always good people, good energy.

How does performing at a festival differ from a ‘normal’ show?

At a festival you often have weather and the elements to contend with plus noise from other events and sound systems. I tend to lean more into the raucous poems and comedy pieces at festivals, a festival audience can sometimes mean there are a lot of distractions. It is quite hard work to do a festival show, but the pay off if you get it right and get a good connection and dialogue with the crowd is pure electric.

What can you tell us about your plans for the show?

I’m mostly going to be reading and performing work from my latest books – It is a roller-caster ride of hope and love poems for our people and our planet, poems of loss and longing and wild rage poems containing all of my fire and passion. I am really enjoying sharing these new poems. It will be an exciting gig.

What makes a good festival crowd?

I love a good festival crowd, I love it when we are talking and engaged and responsive and we go on the roller-coaster ride together.

Will you be checking out any of the other acts or taking in any of the festival’s other offerings?

Absolutely! The line up at ALSO is always so varied and brilliant, the weekend is filled with interesting chats and inspiring people and exciting events and really great music.

Do you have any festival tales you can share with us?

Ha! All I can say is last time I was there I really loved larking about and laughing and dancing in the woods to the disco, hilarious memories, such a highlight!

Salena Godden performs at ALSO Festival in Warwickshire, running from 12 to 14 July