Published : Unfinished Memmoirs of a Hypocrit

A new book of visual literature and handwritten poetry available now from Hesterglock Press

I'm happy to announce a new publication I've been working on for some years - Unfinished Memmoirs of a Hypocrit -  with more information www.stevenjfowler.com/memmoirs

From the publisher - “Memmoirs presents the handwritten and hand-drawn as a viable means of fiction - poetry - writing - art that emphasises context alongside content and challenges restrictive definitions. A book certainly as strange and unfortunately amusing as living mostly is, this is a dispatch from a prolific and future-facing writer attempting to operate on multiple fronts, and failing with aplomb.”

“A considerable book of poetic inarticulation, swamping somewhere in between poetry, notation for future projects forever unrealised, forgetful scrawlings, childhood dream illustrations, erratic geometry, collage and quotation. UMOAH attempts to operate on multiple fronts, and fails, as is the history of such abundance conflict. It wishes to present the notebook as a finished poetry. It wishes to emphasise context over content, or at least blend and blind the two. It wishes to be as strange and unfortunately amusing as living mostly is. It wishes to be about where it was made (Spain, mostly) and what is was made from (a single notebook of bone coloured paper, a christmas gift, and some bad black pens, and some fingerpaint).”

"Truly Fowler's magnum ice cream"
- Russell Bennetts : Berfrois

Sample poems from the book have been published online at 
Berfrois www.berfrois.com/2019/06/no-one-really-understands-me
Tentacular www.tentacularmag.com/issue3b/steven-fowler
Hotel Magazine https://partisanhotel.co.uk/S-J-Fowler
Perverse http://perverse/perverse

“It is the fifth entry in SJ Fowler’s Poem Brut publication series, and strives to embrace environment affecting writing and writing affecting environment. It celebrates the obscure movement of the hand, writing, lining, drawing – deliberately plain, worked, smoggy. A book about the grid, the box, the cloud, the tree, where the words are meant to make you squint, to battle for legibility, rather than you be able to pinch and extend your thumb and forefinger against the page to get a closer look. Handwriting illustrates, it is more interesting than type, as are crossings out, as are notes, strange lines, grids made with rulers – constant gestures toward the homemade, the amateur, towards composition and motion. Towards liquid and wood, attractive ugliness, toilet wall draughtsmanship, doodled portraits, minor collage.”

Published : The New Prim and Proper essay on Tentacular

I am quietly pleased with this essay. It serves to not only bookend my new book UNFINISHED MEMMOIRS OF A HYPOCRIT, but also to cover a lot of ground in terms of my thinking, processing, methods and experiences around book making. I wish to do this accessibly (i want my articles to be clear, poems not so), concisely, but irreverently, with no real theory or fat language. I want this to be prose ish, snapshots, insights, ideas to share. I think maybe it lands, just about. Jonathan Catherall at Tentacular, a really fine publication, was generous to share it too https://www.tentacularmag.com/elsewhere-blog/new-prim-and-proper

“The book is contextualised thus:

  • It was written using a single pen and a single notebook of a very distinct colour. Bone coloured paper. It was a Christmas gift from a family member who doesn’t know what poetry is. No work included was made without these two instruments.

  • It was written between December 28th 2015 and June 15th 2019.

  • It was ‘written’ directly after reading Stendhal’s ‘Memoirs of a Egotist’. Throughout the years since its beginning, I have made my way through every work I could find by the 17th French novelist. (Seek out Lucien Leuwen, parts 1 & 2 if you can, it’s his best and too little known in English). I realise an Egotist is not the same as a Hypocrite.

  • It was made almost entirely in Spain, and because of that country. Specifically, in Gandia, a provincial town bifurcated on the east coast, near Valencia - part seaside trap, part old world abandonment. This was the home city of the Borgia family.

  • It was made knowing it would be published, on sight of initial works, in early 2016 (I think), by my fellow poet Paul Hawkins, who runs Hesterglock press, out of Bristol, with Sarer Scotthorne. I knew it had a proper home, a place where it belonged.

  • It was made as part of an overall project I have been running, called Poem Brut, and would be a publication in a series I have been doing exploring poetry’s potentials. I knew it had a role in that project and in that series.

  • It had three different titles before this one.

  • I was very taken also with book covers. My illustrations aren’t skilled, but I copied a few into this book, and this led me to other visual representations of existing artworks………………………….”

A note on : The Torriano Camarade

Second event in second days. This one I felt emptied out for but somehow the universe responded to that and allowed me to host / curate about a dozen remarkable performances. The level of commitment to each of these collaborations and the friendships the camarade seemed to create or deepen was evident and encouraging. And rarely do I feel such warmth and appreciation from those involved and watching as I did after this. My spirits rose from pointlessness to fair enough. There is something about this room, it’s history, it’s intiimacy, one of london’s disappearing special spaces. It all came together.

All can be witnessed www.theenemiesproject.com/torriano

A note on: Poem Brut XII at Rich Mix

I was happy to have made space for such powerful weirdpoe. Some of the performances, if not all 11 of them, featured some heavy and proper originality. It was a night as strange as that which was happening outside of itself. The crowd was lovely, open, welcoming, if a little small as its summertime, and the work was a very fine mix. I was given an empty champagne bottle afterwards and used a huge brush to sweep up remnants of a smashed clock, party poppers and plastic sheeting covered in egg. It is poetry here happening I am happy I had a role in making happen, as I said.

The 12th event in the Poem Brut series and the 5th at Rich Mix, all videos and pictures can be seen www.poembrut.com/richmix

A note on : The Nordic Poetry Festival ... coming this October

npfpoets.png

www.nordicpoetryfestival.com

Coming this winter, a brand new poetry festival celebrating the most innovative and dynamic contemporary Nordic poets with events in the UK - October 11th to 17th 2019 

I am happy to announce a brand new festival, the Nordic Poetry Festival, coming this October 2019. Featuring two dozen of the Nordic regions most exciting literary and avant-garde poets, the NPF will evidence the unique and powerful contribution Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, The Faroe Islands, Greenland and the Sami peoples are making to 21st century poetry.

With five events exploring collaboration and performance over one week, the festival will see events at Rich Mix and Burley Fisher Books in London, alongside visits to the National Centre for Writing in Norwich and York’s Jorvik Viking Centre.

Many poets still be announced and confirmed but so far the festival will host Morten Søndergaard, Endre Ruset, Iman Mohammed, Signe Gjessing, Tiina Lehikoinen, Sissal Kampmann, Inger-Mari Aikio, Ko Ko Thett, Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl, Morten Langeland, Ragnhildur Jóhanns, Tommi Musturi (Finland and Ville Hytonen

Published : new ape poems in Prototype Anthology 1

Grand to have brand new poems about Apes (versions of works that will definitely be a pre-cursor to a new full book) in the very first Prototype Publishing annual anthology, edited by the amazing Jess Chandler.

You can purchase it here, with full list of contributors https://prototypepublishing.co.uk/product/prototype-1/ or sign up to a generous subscription scheme.

Published : Nemesia #6, a waterwalk with Krisjanis Zelgis

The sixth edition of my series with the generous Spanish online platform Wazogate, following collaborations with Pauli Tapio, Yekta, Harry Man, Ausra Kaziliunaite, Morten Langeland, presents my work with Latvian poet Krisjanis Zelgis. One of the works I was most proud of from the www.europeanpoetryfestival.com this year

https://www.wazogate.com/nemesia-6-the-waterwalk/

K – Always flows
S – always needed, neverending, like the cleaning of a house
K – drips and soaks
S – wets
K – As a reminder

and you can watch it live https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzfyIpsfk3E&t=277s

A note on : Translated into Russian on on Literattura magazine

fav.png

Lovely to have a poem in Russian translated by the brilliant Maria Malinoskaya published on Literratura http://literratura.org/issue_poetry/3346-evropeyskiy-poeticheskiy-festival-chast-ii.html It’s part of a feature Maria has been generously running since her attendance at the european poetry festival this year. Worth checking out all the other poets too, she has done some incredible work.

СТИВЕН ФАУЛЕР

СТАРОЕ ВРЕМЯ БОРЕТСЯ С НОВЫМ ВРЕМЕНЕМ

Звучит захватывающе не иметь солнца даже внутри солнца. (нет солнца внутри солнца)
Не иметь излучения для оттенков. Только природный цвет. (лучший по природе, новый)
Всего-то фиолетовая полоска – цвет труда в провале солнца. (провал в черноту)
Лучше оставаться в убежище, оставаться внутри. Читать. (76 книг в год)
Лучше быть копателем могил, чем их наполнителем. (запах мерзкий)
Лучше быть сыном мёртвого, пошедшим вразнос. (я тебя вздрючу)
Обжёгшиеся на молоке всё галдят, повторяя (люди никогда не заткнутся)
если ты не знаешь, как плавать, ты утонешь. (еврейская поговорка)
Лучше быть искусным в формах, искусным в сделках. (проулыбать себе выход из неприятностей)
Лучше получить второй паспорт. (ирландский везунчик)
Защита заученного застилает все горизонты (ведомым)
Нувориши есть нувориши, не важно, сколько они трудятся. (свободное время)

A note on : An Invisible Poetry - my solo show at The Poetry Society

20190630_161506.gif

An Invisible Poetry : SJ Fowler The Poetry Society Cafe
July 1st to 27th 22 Betterton St, London WC2H 9BX
Opening Hours 11am to 10pm everyday bar sunday.
poetrysociety.org.uk/poetry-cafe/exhibitions/future-exhibition/

A pleasure to have my third solo exhibition (I’m actually really happy with it) in London take on the walls of the Poetry Society in Covent Garden, in their Poetry Cafe. The exhibition brings together new and existing poems, drawing together my explorations in the hand-made since late 2017.

Waaaay more info www.stevenjfowler.com/invisible

“A visual poem should be visible, yet it seems it’s often not so. In this solo exhibition of new painterly poems, SJ Fowler asks questions so manifest they are almost indiscernible. What is in the shape of a letter and what images do words recall?

A note on the installation of An Invisible Poetry : June 30th 2019 On the morning of June 30th, installation day, early on a sunday after the hottest day of the year, the poets who are kindly contributing to the Poet Brut group downstairs, friends and peers, were not only gracious and kind in the setting of their show, but immensely helpful with my own. They stayed for hours helping me create it, truly. For I am terrible at installations and such things, I rush them and cannot judge spatial meaning without falling into the desire for it to be deliberately messed so viewers think it accidently. The eyes and hands of Astra, Simon, Vilde, Patrick and Imogen made what should have been a chore into a really fun experience. All of this was really underpinned by the hospitality of Michael Sims, of the Poetry Society. He really deserves great praise. He could not have done more to help and facilitate ideas and offer advice. He made me feel my work was welcome in the space, and the institution, which isn’t a small thing.

A note on : The Poet's Brut exhibition at The Poetry Society

It felt not only natural but somewhat selfish of me, in taking on the Poetry Society Cafe space for my exhibition, to split levels, and use the upstairs for my own doodles and downstairs for the serious work of a group show. Those I asked to be a part of that are all singular for the face of their independed minded methods and styles in the visual poetry and poem brut fashion. Patrick, Astra, Karen, Vilde, Simon, Paul and Chris all do their own thing and have come to what some might call innovative methods purposefully, personally and organically. I wanted to bring them together precisely because they are each so unique and individual and characterful in their work. Moreover, they are all lovely humans, a joy to work with, as generous as they are talented. https://www.poembrut.com/poetrysociety

Go visit the exhibitions, if only for their work. July 1st to 27th, mon to sat, 11am to 10pm.

A note on : Tickets on sale for Cinema Museum launch

It’s going to be grand to launch my new poetry volume on films at the Cinema Museum, a completely unique and beautiful space directed to the theme on August 29th. Alongside readings by myself and others including David Spittle, Yvonne Litschel, Jonathan Catherall, we will be screening Peter Greenaway’s exacting 1993 film The Baby of Macon.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cinema-and-poetry-tickets-64301105337

"The Baby of Macon is a sumptuous-looking tale of manipulation, greed, and religious fanaticism set in Peter Greenaway's favorite era, the 17th century." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Baby_of_M%C3%A2con

A note on : coming this October - NEMESES - selected collaborations Volume 2

Very chuffed that this October I’ll be releasing a new selected collaborations, entitled Nemeses. It’s going to be an ambitious volume, including lots of text collaborations with UK based poets and writers like Colin Herd, Prudence Chamberlain, Tom Jenks, Max Porter, Joe Dunthorne, Luke Kennard, Eley Williams, as well many around the world like Maja Jantar, Pauli Tapio, Shimon Adaf, Robert Prosser, Morten Sondergaard, Ausra Kaziliunaite. It’ll also try to reveal on the page collaborations which are anything but, like my works with composers and musicians like Claudia Molitor and Diamanda Dramm as well as lots of performance, like the ones I’ve done with Phil Minton and Max Hofler. It’s the follow up to my 2013 book Enemies. October 26th it shall be out, with Haverthorn press, who have put out some beautiful books over the last few years.

A note on : Poetry by Design exhibition in Leeds

Well pleased to have three Poem Brut postcard poemworks from my book ‘i Fear My Best Work Behind Me (Stranger press 2017) at The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery in Leeds, part of the Uni, for an exhibition reappraising British concrete poetry since WWII https://library.leeds.ac.uk/events/event/1900/galleries/211/poetry-by-design

Published : I Stand Alone by The Devils, and other poems on films

I Stand Alone by The Devils, and other poems on films
Broken Sleep Books : 33 pages : £5
www.stevenjfowler.com/istandalone
www.brokensleepbooks.com/product-page/sj-fowler-i-stand-alone-by-the-devils-and-other-poems-on-films

A book, though lean, I have been working on for years. It’s been a pleasure to bring it into life with Aaron Kent, editor of Broken Sleep. From the publisher = "26 new poems celebrating 26 cult films of the 20th and 21st century, I Stand Alone by The Devils is a slim volume of cinematic poetic ekphrasis. At play is an aberrant intersemiotic translation between the mediums of popular or arthouse cinema and contemporary, modernist poetry. The poems aim to re-imagine moving image in language, often cutting in tone, taking on the dark, symbolic and sardonic on film. Each poem is a single film, interpreting, reflecting, embodying and transposing, exploring both films familiar to many, and digging out, often from 20th century European cinema, more unorthodox motion pictures. From Querelle and The Baby of Mâcon, to American Werewolf in London and Don’t Look Now. From Aguirre and Festen to The Fly and Breaking the Waves, these poems are a strange and playful musing on cinema’s impact on poetry and language and a useless thinking through of how films are actually consumed."

A full list of films featured - Angel Heart, Querelle, Last Year at Marienbad, Ali : Fear Eats The Soul, The Fly, The Devils, Breaking the Waves, American Werewolf in London, Don’t Look Now, I Stand Alone, A short film about Love, En Coeur En Hiver, The Baby of Mâcon, Nightwatch (Nattevagten), Silence of the Lambs, Satan’s Brew, Aguirre, wrath of god, The Long Good Friday, Stalker, Salo, Festen, Three Colours Blue, Yojimbo, Possession, Beau Travail, M.

LAUNCH : August Thursday 29th 2019 at the Cinema Museum, London, alongside a screening of Peter Greenaway’s The Baby of Mâcon
http://www.cinemamuseum.org.uk/
7pm doors for 7.30pm entry. £8 (£5 concessions)
Readings, featuring Jonathan Catherall, Yvonne Litschel, Chris Kerr, David Spittle and more, alongside SJ Fowler, will mark this unique celebration of cinematic poetry, before a screening ofThe Baby of Mâcon, Peter Greenaway’s remarkable and challening 1993 film. More details to come soon.

A note on : Poems in Jacket 2's 'Extreme Texts' summer feature

D9gpGyGUEAABO-n.jpg

Well happy to be featured in this feature in which I am extreme in a certain kind of silence maybe? https://jacket2.org/feature/extreme-texts I have three poems 'Atrocita,' 'Sphinxe,' and 'Your Own Double Entry' plus this note below. Check it please https://jacket2.org/poems/atrocita-sphinxe-and-your-own-double-entry

“Extremity is relative. The furthest thing from a given point, which is relative and changeable, cannot escape the tether of that stake. To some, within tradition, at the most surface level, any unusual gesture is severe. If one’s goal is to seek control over the uncontrollable, any submission to the unruly is a threatening gesture. If one has accepted that there is no control possible, only mediation, then only the fundamentally transgressive is extreme, because it touches on the opposite of life. All this begins within the human mind, not the poem, the strange secondary barrier of language that emerges, faulty and failing.

I came in late to poetry and without a clear orientation. I discovered many modes at once, had the naivety to hold them beside each other, and thought questions that occurred spontaneously to me to be obvious inquiries. The consequence of my own unpunctuality and gullibility is that, alongside what others might deem literary poetry, sound poetry, performance literature, and all the other ways of writing the poem, I felt it necessary to ask what is in the shape of a letter. What images do words recall? What is the meaning of color in poetry upon the page? And white space? The handmade? How does the situation of a poem change its meaning? Why is composition not a concept that applies to a medium that is innately visual? In poetry, why has content overwhelmed context? Why has product dominated process? There is nothing extreme about these questions; they are fundamental. But they have created poems of liquid and wood, ugliness, toilet wall draughtsmanship and mess. Water, ink, spit. And beneath the method lies the only thing that I might concede as extreme — that my work is about acknowledging in each banal mark on the page that these are useless impediments before what’s coming to each and every one of us and therefore quite pointless beyond time consumption, and yet I keep doing them anyway. Lots of them. That seems excessive. “ All three of the works below are featured in my book Aletta Ocean’s Alphabet Empire (Hesterglock Press, 2018).

A note on : Physical Education by Robert Reid Allan for BCMG

20190622_164025.jpg

Over the last numbers of months I’ve had the chance to work with composer Robert Reid Allan as he completed his Birmingham Contemporary Music Group apprentice composer in residence programme by developing a new and singular work. It premiered on June 21st in Birmingham and I witnessed Physical Education in its first ever iteration.

The piece was ambitious, dynamic, comfortable with knotty poetic paradoxes, working through multiple mediums, often at the same time, while still feeling quite generous to the audience, perhaps because it was fundamentally exploring a very specific topic and subject which allowed the aesthetic to be eclectic. It was personal while technical, playful as much as intensive.

My work with Robert was as open as the final piece itself, but aside from some conversations on the conceptual framework of the piece, and how multiple mediums might be fused, especially where text might sit with music, it was the words and the possibilities of the poetics in the show we discussed most. The language worked best to my ear, and eyes, when at its most intransigent and complex, inevitably, but Robert showed considerable skill with his writing given it was his debut foray into writing words for his own music.

A note on : a poem as a song on the Dramm's Modern Genetics

20190622_164151.jpg

Been a grand source of collaborative verve to work with Diamanda Dramm over the last 15 months or so (we’ve more significant outputs to release into the aetherworld this year that I am particularly proud of) and recently a poem of mine which was written to become a song of hers was featured on a remarkably beautiful “triple LP by laberge, laberge dramm and dramm.”, that is Diamanda and her creators. The LP is made up of live recordings & unreleased material on 180-gram vinyl, plus a high-quality digital download code. the first release on Splendor Records. I’m lucky to be a small part of a special sonic object

Modern Genetics can be ordered through Bandcamp online here

David Dramm plays guitars and sings. Anne La Berge play flutes and electronics, talks, and sings. Diamanda La Berge Dramm plays the violin, bass pedals, kick drum and sings.

From the makers - “a collector’s item upon release, this triple LP is a musical family history unlike any other. a rousing mix of punk, country, spoken word and electro. recorded live in Splendor Amsterdam by the 21st von Trapp family La Berge Dramm & guests.” Modern Genetics was recorded during live concerts at Splendor Amsterdam, in various studios in New York City and Amsterdam, in a hall in Eindhoven, and at home between 1990 and 2018. https://diamandadramm.com/modern-genetics/

A note on: English PEN event at Greenwich Book Festival

Sara Upstone nearly made me cry. I felt my voice quivver a tiny bit as I wrapped up this event, giving props to the remarkable Cat Lucas, whom everyday sees, hears and gets emailed about writers suffering for principle and freedom across the world everyday. I said I felt we were all visitors in her world, and she was a visitor in theirs. But Sara, her piece for Dawit Isaak, it did exactly what I hoped this mini-fest event would do when I conceived of it a few years back. It neither collapsed on itself with self-referential guilt nor swung past the truth of Dawit’s life and struggle. It was something entirely new, complex, dense, celebratory and powerful sad. It was poignant and beautiful but in no way sentimental (the thing I dislike the most in these contexts, just after the endless apologies people make for their own lack of suffering, a kind of ungratefulness to my ears).

The whole event was like this. It was considered and serious, and yet playful and mindful. The environment, thanks to Sam Jordison, whose own piece was powerful and personal and brilliant, was a busy literary festival on a warm summer saturday, and we were in a lecture theatre. But all the context drifted away for an hour as Ellen Wiles, James Miller, Paul Ewen, Sam himself and Sara read pieces for authors around the world.

You can find more about the fest and all the videos from the event (https://greenwichbookfest.com/event/english-pen-writers-at-risk/ ) here on the Enemies Project website www.theenemiesproject.com/englishpen


For my own performance I nailed fruit and then ate it nailed with a black bag on my head while improvising some words about what Oleg Sentsov’s gesture of resistance, and life in general means to me. The principle that we might not be brave when called, and that even if, at first flush we may feel courage, it normally dissipates as reality sets in. This is an idea I have thought about my whole life. That it is easy to be what you hope to be when the weather is fair, but character is what happens when you realise days in you will be forgotten and your suffering, no matter how representative, symbolic or important, if yours alone. The man, Oleg Sentsov, is a giant. He has a giant soul. He embarrasses me into gratitude for my life, and that there seems no question on the horizon for my own principles like the one he has quite unbelievably answered.

A note on : Greenwich Book Fest - chatting with Paul Ewen, Isabel Waidner, Sam Jordison

An eye bleed get up for me, to get down to Greenwich and join three wonderful writers on a panel about writing and the contemporary university environment. As is often the way, precisely because it was a wee bit quiet and we were all a bit blurry eyed, it was a rare delight.

Sam essentially made a space for us in what was otherwise a very busy festival, of a certain tone, nowt wrong with it, but quite commercial and a little bit bourgeois diet prog type thing, indicative of greenwich itself, and we were perhaps a bit more eclectic? Or roughened? Not that the event and chat was in anyway contradictory. Our differences were small and complimentary as we talked over creative writing pedagogy, class and money and writing, the challenges 21st century students face and other such things.

I admire all three of their writing, and it was the best kind of literary festival event, authentic and unforced. https://greenwichbookfest.com/event/writers-on-campus/

Published: memmoirs poem on Berfrois

Grand to have a piece of #poembrut visual literature up today on the grand Berfrois, taken from my book 'Unfinished Memmoirs of a Hypcrit' due out from Hesterglock press in one month's time stevenjfowler.com/memmoirs & the poem itself https://www.berfrois.com/2019/06/no-one-really-understands-me-sj-fowler/