Published: a collaboration with Pauli Tapio & the Nemesia series on Wazogate

The second edition of a new series I’m doing with the brilliant active relentless Spanish magazine and online journal Wazogate, entitled NEMESIA, which will see monthly publications of my newer collaborations with fellow European poets.

The second in the series, following my work with Auzra Kaziliunaite, is this poem written with Finnish new wave poetry powerhouse Pauli Tapio, whom I met this summer in Macedonia, at the Struga fest, where he won their big award, deservedly. And look at this picture I made for us oh my

Enjoy - We Could Try

A note on: in Amsterdam to watch Diamanda Dramm, a timeline of our collaboration

Timelines are rubbish. But, when one hasn’t the words for something mysterious, perhaps formulas come into their own.

Diamanda - 28 nov 2018-05.jpg

Monday March 26th 2018 : in Dublin, for Phonica, musicians and poets performing together. I feel sick and drift out of attention. Diamanda Dramm plays though and I see her work very powerfully set itself aside as something else. She dragons up on people. I have no context for the technique talent of being a violionist or whatever, but she’s using (bad) old poetry alongside, singing. She’s no wearing any shoes. I do a thing which people seem to see, I eat an apple etc… and afterward meet her and her father, who is also a (brilliant, I later find, researching) musician. They are both very nice, to go with the talent. How attractive are collaborations with other humans when they don’t do what you do and can confound what you do and realise your own suspicions about your work being pointless and sad and an endless arrangement of jumbled words very very few people care to read. How motivating.

March to September, spring to autumn 2018 : Diamanda and I begin a correspondence. She sends me an audio recording of her setting one of my poems, The Tradition, to herself and song. It’s quite moving, to have this kind of gift. I reciprocate and send her poems. I bury them away after sending, they are not going to be published elsewhere, I don’t read them once the email attachment attaches and the email disappears. But they seem to land somewhere. I keep getting audio files back, putting them on my mp3 player. Somehow something I once marked down is resurrected, edited, interpreted, better than before, like a dead pet returned to life. Diamanda is putting together a tour, a solo one woman show, which knits music written for her by Garth Knox with Dutch creation myths and of course a massive wooden lungbox that is her violin and how she plays it. She includes some of my poems, which is stranger still.

Diamanda - 28 nov 2018-04.jpg

October 13th 2018 : Diamanda and I meet for a second time and collaborate for European Poetry Festival. The digital curtain is drawn back and will the exchange of poems into songs be able to keep its jelly walls intact? It seems so. It’s fun, Diamanda is a brilliant performer and we make fun of it.

November 29th 2018 : I travel to Amsterdam for one night to witness the start of Diamanda’s Violin Spaces tour at Bimhuis. It is clearly a marked moment in her career. The venue is quite extraordinary, set over the water, huge letters denoting itself, which I see in the distance walking towards it in a rainstorm which is pleasing. It’s a blackbox jazzclub. Diamanda is clearly famed in Holland and Europe in general. Her separation of herself from her skill with the violin is admirable, but she still has that skill and that separates us in a profitable way. I arrive a little early and see that some of my visual poems, specifically my Scribbling and Scrawling, which Diamanda obtusely requested is projected onto the stage and over her face, for significant portions of the show. This is the most graceful and considerate use of my visual works ever. The show itself is mesmerising. I’m quite wordless, but write some things during it. The energy it requires, the multiplicity of skills, the idiosyncrasy, the technique, it’s bizarre. Three or four times during the show, the opening, near the closing, in its heart, are my texts. The resurrection of the dead pet has now become a human, or pet, the dead poet pet, the collective platonic resurrection. I did once write these words, likely in my pants, sat on my bed, a long time past, in a tiny corner, but I might’ve well as not have. But here they are sung back to me. I feel the show, without sounding insane, is at times for me, and I am moved. How did I end up with this fortune that this stupid stuff lives on in the mouths of others? Diamanda is rightly celebrated and mobbed afterwards. Garth Knox has travelled, like me, to support. It’s a really resonant, transitory experience.

Here’s more info on Diamanda’s show

Diamanda - 28 nov 2018-01.jpg
Diamanda - 28 nov 2018-07.jpg

A note on : Prose Poem Poetics, launching my selected articles

A really magic night at Torriano Reading House in Kentish Town brought over a dozen poets together presenting new works, responding to the remit of poems in prose or poems as poetics. Some amazing performances, Jeff Hilson, Mischa Foster Poole, Chrissy Williams, Julia Lewis, Susie Campbell and the whole crew were really on.

I launched my selected articles It Won’t Go Well at the event and read from the opening essay with a robot hamster.

All the performances are here

A note on : The Light Room: Poetry & Photography - a course for Poetry School


Face-To-Face Course

Explore the light and dark of poems to develop new ways of seeing

A course that explores the traditions of photography and poetry, entwined. We’ll aim to reach beyond the notions of illustration and response to reveal the connections, potentials, and co-habitations of the two artforms and explore how collaboration can enhance each medium and evoke what makes them so uniquely compelling. Participants will discover poets, photographers and artists from around the world and discuss ideas surrounding composition, language, light, sound, space, printing, narrative and writing. We’ll take inspiration from the work of Blaise Cendrars, Paul Eluard, and Paul Muldoon, alongside Duane Michaels, Wolfgang Tillmans, Tacita Dean, Sophie Calle and John Baldessari, before producing new pieces of your own. This is a chance for poets to develop their own projects and understandings of new and original ways of seeing, reading, and writing. No photography experience is necessary.

Two-day weekend workshop. 10.30am – 4.30pm, 19 + 20 January.

All classes will be in our offices at 1 Dock Offices, Surrey Quays Road, Canada Water, SE16 2XU. The venue is a 2-minute walk from Canada Water Station. Take the ‘Lower Road’ exit from the station onto Surrey Quays Road, then walk straight ahead, crossing over Deal Porters Way, and the Dock Offices come up on the left. The door for the school is at the far end of the building.

Plus an article for Poetry School, introducing a new course I’ll be teaching in the new year

Creative mediums are not indefinable. They have essential elements that mean they are not something else at root. But their practise is not best served by recourse to the ‘it is whatever you want it to be’ line of thinking….

A note on: Babelsprech at Torriano

A really lovely night at Torriano in Norf London, it brought loads of interesting folk together presenting new works of multi / poly linguistic poems, or new performances that investigate a european language in some way. The event was commissioned as part of BABELSPRECH, a cross Europe literary platform for live events. This was the London leg of a project which saw events happen at the same time in multiple cities across the continent. Great to share the stage with some brilliant poets and friends, some amazing work, people treated it with such consideration, it was very gratifying.

Published : a collaboration with Ausra Kaziliunaite

I’m picking heads of people / You’re picking heads of people

This work that I like, that was written in a day because of a dropout, that was read so coming-togetherly at the Poetry Society Cafe for European Poetry Festival, with the brilliant and ebullient and kindly lithuanian powerhouse Ausra Kazilinunaite, is part of a new series of collaborations with European poets I’ll be publishing over the coming months. This is the first.

You’re putting books on shelves.
Bibles, novels, instructional manuals. No poetry collections.
Pictures in books,
pictures of human mud.
Into your mouth
Into my dreams
Into your poems
Into my vagina
Into streets thronged with heads.
Into people dull with streets

Thanks to Wazogate, the spanish magazine of cultural energy.

A note on : Oslo & expanding the European Poetry Festival locations

Spent a magic week in Norway meeting with poets and literary folk to learn about their systems for poetry, pretty inspirational they are, from the writers union, their library system, their writer stipends and many other things. Time with my friends Morten Langeland. Jon Stale Ritland and Endre Ruset is always welcome, immense warm hospitality alongside their special poetry skills is revitalising, helps me gain knowledge and perspective. I’m trying to build on the success of the first year of european poetry festival and begin some new long term collaborations between the UK and other nations, deep in their scenes, beginning with norway planning wise, but going to other cities around Europe with the fest first.

A note on: Poem Brut IX at Rich Mix, a full blown bruta


A really beautiful evening of more than adequate even considerable even beguiling night in east london, at rich mix, my home for Poem Brut, with 11 new performances from artist poets who all took to the task of the project with quite remarkable professionalism seriousness enthusiasm and vivacity.

The works ranged from readings to naked wine baths, from bird paper throwing to choral sound poems, from live art peeling to cellophane octopi. All the performances can be seen on video here

My own performance I came up with about 45 minutes before talking to James Caley. I came up with around 10 phrases and repeated them each 5 times.


Published : It Won't Go Well - selected articles from Kingston Uni Press

Happy to announce the publication of a book of my selected articles, It Won't Go Well, from Kingston University Press. It's available for owning here for an exorbitant 7 quid.

The book collects a dozen or so articles I've written for Tate Online, Versopolis, Magma, Penned in the Margins, The British Council, The Poetry School, Atlantic Drift et al, with pieces on poetry and sex, violence, time, composition, collaboration and sound, alongside non-poetry stuff.

The book will be launched at Torriano Reading House, Kentish Town, London on November 25th for an event entitled Prose Poem Poetics

The book has been featured in November's National Poetry Library latest acquisitions highlights, which is nice
and there's a few samples from the book here

Published : Burning House press - excerpts from The Gush and Chimp

I have four new fragments of work published at thanks to guest editor Paul Hawkins, running a month of new work around the concept of future facing poetry at the burning house press.

The Gush is a new long poem of sorts, about London, and it utilises online text quite heavily.

Chimp is another long poem, about a chimp. And about human beings inability to deal with our animal selves.

Two poem brut or art poems are also included, one an asemic geometric piece, and the other a copy of Hans Memling.

Pretty lovely to have a space to share work still growing into its final form.


A note on : The IGNOR festival travelogue and performance

You can read a full whack travelogue of my recent time in Slovenia here

Excerpta : “The fullest of full moons on the first night in Ljubljana, I travel in with Astra Papachristodoulos and Scott Daughters from London, Astra will also perform. I see friends, knowing people in the city who aren’t the people I’m going to meet. Good and bad in that, not making it to the opening night. But apparently everyone decamps to a squat afterwards which is decorred with available browned mattresses and reasonably priced horse. Oh well, you can’t win.

The next day, performance day, I’m writing my thing during the day, with photos taken on this day, trying to shape it immediate and responsive. I scope out the venue, people try and sell me drugs, I’ve got my meds thanks, it’s an autonomous art squat space near the train station, very different tone than the rest of the plush city, and this is a theme, what perhaps the notion of IGNOR is about, being an alternative. The readings start on Balkan time. Basically all readings, in Slovenian, no performances, one spoken word thing, so perhaps the alternative is contextual rather than content based. Astra is great, as ever, she really has gifts in performance. It’s nice too to hang out with Muanis, who is responsible for my being here, who came to London for the first European Poetry Festival and is a considerable presence and poetry mind. Not without some pretty severe and wonderful humour too. He introduces me to some really warm and dry people.

ON MY PERFORMA : I did a Powerpoint performance, the third of this series in fact, following works in Bucharest and Dublin. Those first two were two of the best things I’ve done live. This was not quite there like those, but it was certainly an experiment for the audience within the context of the festival. Some things went fine, but perhaps diminishing returns on the concept, or my failing, my impatience crept into me with the night being quite standard readings in a language I don’t speak starting late and pulling, giving me an edge of harshness I didn’t necessarily plan on having. That does happen to me, I felt my humour was landing in chats but then up on a stage, with a mic, that kind of cut, it stings people a bit. I had a lot of positive vibes but definitely, as has happened to me in other countries when travelling and performing like this, a certain coolness crept into some people’s demeanours after the slightly savage fingertips of the performance were felt. Also the tech got proper balls up twice, in big ways, and that really did crush my rhythm. The second one, when music was supposed to play me out, left me without the possibility of my final words seeming sarcastic or satirical, as they’re supposed to me. All a learning process.

We all go to a bar after, which stays open til 2am, and I have colacao or whatever, hot choco and it’s the loveliest night, just chatting, laughing, the best of this kind of small poetry festival travelling thing.

A note on: Burning House press and Facing up to the Future

I’ve had some really remarkable responses to the podcast addressed below. The biggest compliment is this though

Words by Burning House Press guest editor for this month coming, Paul Hawkins

“SJ Fowler was interviewed by Matthew Blunderfield  for Episode 12 of the Scaffold Podcast. In this interview Steven talks about many things, but of particular relevance to my guest editorship are his thoughts on the avant-garde, and future-facing poetry. I hope you may find this interview useful. With thanks to the Scaffold Podcast, Matthew Blunderfield & SJ Fowler.”

“After trying for a couple of years to write smooth poems about wild animals or foxes or whatever poets do in the countryside I realised actually I can’t control anything, I’m going to die, and that language, before that death, will not comfort me […] The first note of understanding language before you re-displace it as an art form is to understand that it will always fail to communicate what you want to communicate.”

A note on : how like muanis, how like astra

I made this video because this poem was kind of made up on the spot while on the radio in slovenia (full radio show below) and also because they put david bowie heroes weird mix below my reading which was pretty atmospheric.

Also muanis and astra are great humans

Published : Simpanz, a short selected poems in Slovenian

oh come on, these poems were translated by Muanis Sinanovic and include a selection of my works from many eons. they include poems, visual poems, art poems, but mainly word poems. they have poems from my favourite book of mine, if youll allow, Minimum Security Prison Dentistry, and my second favourite, Enthusiasm. they also have others. i don’t think you can buy this book outside of slovenia, but why would you, as 5 people will read this and not one of them will speak slovenian. but for me, inside, to know that my poems can now be read in slovenia by those who do not speak english is actually amazing and quite beautiful. i owe this pamphlet to the IGNOR festival, who produced it on inviting me to garble in Ljubljana in the october of 2018. Simpanz means sympathy. No it doesnt it means chimp. No it doesnt it means Man.

A note on : on Radiostudent in Slovenia


I am a pesnik. This was sooo fun. I was not honest but I was myself. ToO Much so. Listen to the last 10 minutes if you want a tastie. And my poem at the end, they put violion bowie under it. Amazant.

Apparently this radio has a radical politico history thing, but the intro makes it feel very much what people who have never been to slovenia think what slovennia is.

This is a curious interview. There was a ghost in the room, A ghost that was once a mushroom. This mushroom, when alive, walked into a pub. Everyone flocked around it. When a bystander asked, why, why? Someone else replied, because its a fungi to be with.

Muanis Sinanovic did the interviewing, he’s a clever complex man, a fine poet, and I was seated next to my friend and other fine poet Astra Papachristodoulos. I decided in the first half to speak quick and economic like and the second half pretend to be a prick because I was a bit tired even though I had no obvious reason to be. Who am I kidding? I was a prick all the time. I love Muanis’ enthusiastic use of the english word Yes. He even says Yea. I also love Astra’s pauses. They are poetically watertight.

also you like slovenian? bio Steven J Fowler je angleški pesnik, gledališčnik ter vizualni in zvočni umetnik. Preveden je bil v 22 jezikov, prejel je nagrade različnih institucij (Arts Council England, Jarwood Charitable Fundation, Creative Scotland, Arts Council Ireland …), sodeloval je s Tate Modern, BBC Radio 3, Tate Britain, London Sinfonietta, Wellcome Collection in Liverpool Biennial. Bral je na številnih festivalih po svetu. Je urednik pri portalu 3am magazine in učitelj kreativnega pisanja na Kingston University. Sodeluje še pri številnih drugih projektih.

Published: new art-poem in Scrap ghosts zine

“Scrap brings together found and original fragments of every kind; drawings, prose, images, rubbish and other things.

This issue focuses on the lingering fear of Ghosts, that beyond reason and contrary to science, thrills us. As an unexplained sound echoes in our mind, and a half seen figure forces us to take shelter under the smouldering duvet, a malevolent ghost prepares to throw your belongings across the room.

With Contributions by Matt Ager, Steven Fowler, Luke Frost, Christopher P. Green, Ed Hadfield, Nick Jeffrey, Zsófia Keresztes, Scott Kibblewhite, Ashley Kinnard, Bex Massey, Stuart Middleton, Cemal Okten, Craig David Parr, Victor Payares, Laurence Price, Susan Rocklin, Neil Rumming, Chris Thompson, Francis Thorburn, Sam Winston and featuring images from the Harry Price Library of Magical Literature at Senate House Library, University of London.”

Buyt it heRe

THE ANIMAL DRUMS : Premieres at Whitechapel Gallery December 13th

T h e   A n i m a l   D r u m s

Whitechapel Gallery Cinema : Thursday December 13th : 7pm

I'm excited to announce the first screening of my feature length art-film, made with Joshua Alexander, at Whitechapel Gallery cinema this December 13th. The film will be preceded by a talk from Iain Sinclair, and followed by a discussion between Joshua, Iain and I, led by curator Gareth Evans. A trailer for the film, and more information, below.


A city developer's life and mind begins to breakdown as he re-encounters the London he once tried to shape as an active adversary. The Animal Drums is a feature-length art-film exploring the sad, macabre, abstract threat of a contemporary London in the grips of constant and nefarious growth. The film charts the the particular, baffled and morbid character of English attitudes to mortality, along with the specific influence of place and conformity on the quintessentially English deferral of emotion and melodrama. It captures the ambiguous menace of an often accidentally humorous resolve, manner, apology and understatement so prevalent in the English character within a city that is proudly unEnglish.

'Manichean visions revive disputed and despoiled London ground. Poetry in light and stone' Iain Sinclair

Four years in the making, The Animal Drums is a collaboration between poet and artist SJ Fowler and moving image artist Joshua Alexander.

A note on : collaborating with the powerful Diamanda Dramm

Diamanda’s bio note often mentioned she has played with a violin since she was 4. I believe this. Her talent is quite intimidating / extraordinary. For many months we’ve corresponded and I’ve ended up writing new poems, many new poems, that Diamanda has set to her magic music, editing the words and creating the sounds, and some of these tracksss will be on an album and will be performed as part of her upcoming tour in Holland. She is also using some of my scribble poems as the backdrop of her staging on that tour. Whhat more could I ask for? Well, we collaborated for the European Poetry Festival Camarade, in front of 200 people, and she was generous enough to move over from her world renowned music talents, bringing them with her, but stepping hard below, to monkey with folk, as is my thing. She was great at that too, we hoodwinked a bit and she played and I read and we swapped and she played the violion on / through / over me. A first. Not a last perhaps.

Visit to find out about her tour if you’re in Hollandaise.

A note on: IGNOR festival in Slovenia

I’m on in Slovenia next week for a festival which looks proper good. I’m on Thursday night in Ljubljana and the amazing folk organising the fest have also created a new publication of my work translated into Slovenian. More afterwards…

festival I  g  n  o  r 2

klub Gromka, Metelkova 24. - 26. oktober 2018

p  r  o  g  r  a  m

Četrtek, 25.10.2018, ob 20.00

  • Kaja Blazinšek (Slovenija) / M.I.K. demo Rdeč kanu / poezija / 15 minut

  • Silvana Marijanović (BiH, Nemčija) / M.I.K. demo Original v muzeju, reprodukcija v stanovanju / 15 minut

  • Ignacio Perini (Argentina) / Error / pesniški performans / 15 minut

  • Astra Papachristodoulou (Velika Britanija) / M.I.K. demo Skoraj nočna mora / pesniški performans / 20 minut

  • Alenka Jovanovski (Slovenija) / Tisoč osemdeset stopinj / poezija / 10 minut

  • Steven J. Fowler (Velika Britanija) / M.I.K. demo Šimpanz / pesniški performans / 20 minut

p o m e d v e d i l i   s m o   s e !

A note on : European Poetry Festival Camarade at Rich Mix

Nearly 200 people came to this event. That’s gratifying, having run events in this space of Rich Mix since May 2010, and this taking place in october 2018. It was the best attended event in that space. 27 poets from 20 countries showed off new collaborations. I met new friends, some of whom had travelled in from Spain, Greece, Latvia, and spent lovely hours with old friends, from across Europe, but many of whom live in London. It was a collective, as before with the Camarade events, bonding between those making the works and witnessing them.

The actual work was a little different than normal, a little more mixed, but many of the poets, 5 in fact, were giving their first ever readings, as I’d met them through their work in different fields, around poetry, me feeling the poetry in their work, or through courses I’d run at a few different institutions. This created a valley peak feel to the outputs, which can be better, at times, to offer contrast in not only rhythm, but style. But it was a captivating mass, energised, intense, various, experimental. And it bodes well for the project, The European Poetry Festival, and it’s next full festival coming in April 2019.