Published : Greatist Hits II with Harry Man


A selected collaborative poetry collection like no other. An unlikely and amusing mixture of poetic styles and conceptual approaches from found text in reviews for Aloe Vera juice and Night Vision goggles, to translations of famous classic English poems into the language of dogs. This is a book of beautiful duo poems alongside disturbing letters from poetry superfans.  

Greatists Hits II, at its heart a conceptual, satirical work, evidences the mode of playful experimentation so indicative of a new generation of English European poets, and features sequences written by Man and Fowler on the road between 2014-2019, at festivals including Ledbury, Bjørnsonfestivalen in Molde, 10TAL in Stockholm, and StAnza in St Andrews.

Publisher: Kingston University Press Ltd 
ISBN: 9781909362321 
Number of pages: 130 
Weight: 137 g 
Dimensions: 203 x 127 x 7 mm

A note on : Nordic Poetry Festival - October 11th to 17th 2019 The first ever NPF in the UK, October 11th to 17th, with over 40 poets performing at 5 events in London, Norwich, York and Kingston-upon-Thames. All events are free to attend and doors at 7pm.

October Friday 11th - Opening of the NPF Exhibition with readings at Burley Fisher Books, London visual poetry by four Nordic poets plus performances on the night and an anthology launch

October Saturday 12th - The Nordic Camarade at Rich Mix, London
The grand event of the festival! 22 poets in 11 pairs present brand new collaborations made especially for this night

October Monday 14th - Nordic Norwich Camarade at the National Centre for Writing Poets from across the Nordic region present new collaborations with writers local to Norwich as part of the NCW’s UNESCO Meet-the-World series 

October Tuesday 15th - Nordic York Camarade at the JORVIK Viking Centre
The home of Nordic history in the UK hosts a night of new collaborations between visiting Nordic poets and York based writers 

October Thursday 17th - Nordic Poetry at Writers’ Centre Kingston
The festival closes at Kingston University with a focus on UK-based Nordic poets. Solo readings and performances at the Museum of Futures 

Published : Lunar Podcast, chatting with David Turner

I do not like my own voice and words but nice to have longform chat with david, and what an achivement this series is

David Turner is in central London talking to experimental poet and artist Steven J Fowler. The pair discuss Steven's approach to writing and editing (or lack of it), whether it helps to sometimes be ignored as a writer and his work as a curator of European and international literature events.

Download a full transcript here:…r.pdf

Steven is organising the first Nordic Poetry Festival to be held in the UK and will take place 11-17 October 2019 at various venues. For more information go here:

Listen to Steven on the Scaffold Podcast: Scaffoldpodcast – Ep-12-steven-j-fowler

A note on : launching my cinema poems book at the cinema museum of all places

Oo i made a little doc with the reading footages i did this night, have a watch

This was a strange and balmy and beautifully weird night. The venue of the cinema museum is unreal. Truly astonishing, huge, idiosyncratic, architecturally stunning. As ever with launch events it was a small audience of close friends and a few people I didn’t know. All this hidden behind Elephant roundabout. I enjoyed reading this poems though, they are not ugly in my mouth.

I adore peter greenaways work but i shouldve watched the pillow book before i screened it to basically a room of my mates. it has not brought the 90s with it into the present.

A note on : Illuminations for Friederike Mayrocker, warm times

the entire illuminations series has been strong, and furthered my deep ties with austrian poets and the austrian cultural forum in london. this one, the 7th, for the amazing Friederike Mayrocker, was punctuated by an unusually focused, convivial and alert atmosphere, and by five really considerable performances. more info

i was quite happy with my own performance too, as i came up with it, when someone dropped out (i wasnt supposed to perform) during the night. pure improvisation and warmly received.

A note on : Kickstarter for Lotje Sodderland film I co-wrote


About - Loneliness has reached epidemic proportions in the UK, and workplace automation further weakens bonds between people. As the population ages, as more people live alone, people of all ages are at risk from diseases brought on by loneliness and in need of care.

THE STORY 'The Horse' is a 15 minute fiction-documentary hybrid film about Will who takes a new job as a care worker for elders in London. Under-trained and underpaid, Will speeds from home to home on his bicycle, entering hidden worlds to administer care to a delicate but dynamic assortment of elderly men. Spending long, lonely days with an overbearing phone app that monitors his efficiency, he endeavours to make his elderly “service users” his friends. But the job's punishing demands on Will’s time erode his attention, and in a moment of distraction, he makes a dangerous mistake. Throughout ‘The Horse’, the feisty, wheelchair-bound Derrick talks to Will about his desire to visit a horse in a derelict nearby field, but Will doesn’t really listen.

APPROACH Lotje's team are her production company Lief, EP Anthony Austin, producer Charlie Falconer and writer S J Fowler, with poetry by Wojciech Bonowicz. We have been working on this project for over a year for free, because we all have feelings of fondness and heartbreak when we think about our elderly relatives, and consequently, we love this project from the bottom of our hearts.

A note on : an interview with Charlie Baylis

Why do you write? Chance discovery that writing was. And then as a job. For meaning in my days, with some guilt and great doubt. For a way of being in the world, in my brief opening in the world, before it closes shut on me and Im dead like everyone else, that is nice and full of mostly good and kind folk. And to pursue problems of the mind and language itself, for the challenge of writing itself, to feel less alienated, when most ways of working and passing time are dominated by people who want things simple comforting sentimental selfrighteous careful cautious. That is saddening and some poetry aint. Good reasons but also stupid. I could do better with my life but Im not hurting anyone really so thats a fine baseline I reckon.

How would you define the relationship between poetry and film? Depends on our definition of the former. If its just a word used as a metaphor and not a concrete artform then whatever anyone wants. If poetry is an actual thing that operates on and through language for spmething other than direct info or emotional confession then the relationship is scant. Film can utilise a kind of poetic cinematic grammar which is very exciting and poetry can explore image realisation without realism. There are filmmaker poets all over but its all a bit tenuous.

What do you feel are the limitations of a poem? All language is fundamentally approximated but that’s good. That’s a beautiful and wondrous grounding with which we can begin to play not only with semantic content and grammatical convention but also with infinite contexts like the unsaid unseen page shape colour neologism sound shape mispelled etc. Poetry is the place we can make new languages and understandings and world codes which are new to each reading ape. Brilliant but limited because of this, because of the limits of knowing other consciousnesses. We cannot know another mind. Poetry is confined only by our mental experience but thats a prison well enough.

Who are you reading/what are you watching? Do you rate the contemporary poetry scene? Is it any better than previous generations? Why? Not reading much poetry. Only books sent to me by friends and connections and publishers as that is a lot / enough and is my job so has its limits, busmans holiday. 

Yep I rate it. Internet has created democracy of access and Im plugged into english translations literally across the globe. The 21st century is the best time ever for poetry. The world population has doubled since 1970s, everyone online and world travel. Amazing time, so much work happening its just the best isnt the famous work in the UK. The most exciting poetry in most countries seems to rise in most nations but not always in England because we can be, on one side, anti intellectual for fear of being elitist, throwing the baby out with the bathwater and trying to be populist for no well investigated reason, maybe straying into being patronising etc, and on the other side, being way too insular academic (?) keepung to coteries and exploring only one furrow of conveyor belting all intelligence and knowledge. But wow when you read I dunno stephen emmerson lucy harvest clarke tom jenks prue chamberlain eley williams karen sandhu ryan ormonde david berridge john catherall chris mccabe astra papachristodoulou jacqueline ennis cole paul hawkins and 100s of others. blows your mind the quality 

and previous generations, who knows, i cannot (yet) travels the times

Do you fear Rihanna’s best work is behind her? I know who she is but I genuinely have no working knowledge of her oeuvre. I saw her not act in luc bessons shite sci fi film with those two models and given how wooden she was I reckon not.


I Stand Alone by the Devil and other poems on films is out now from Broken Sleep Books

Read 3 of the poems up on Anthropocene.

A note on : Illuminations : Friederike Mayröcker : Sept 11th


Illuminations VII : celebrating Friederike Mayröcker
September Wednesday 11th 2019 : 7pm at Austrian Cultural Forum, London

Free but booking appreciated here 28 Rutland Gate, Knightsbridge, London SW7 1PQ

With Franziska Füchsl, David Hoffman, Robert Montgomery, Karen Sandhu, Chris McCabe, Victoria Bean and SJ Fowler

Friederike Mayröcker is one of the most important living European poets, and a trailblazer for her deeply complex poetry which not only spans methodological explorations of visual, concrete, sound, postmodern, diaristic and phenomenological poetry, but also for its range of subject matter. She is one of the few poets whose work is challenging complex yet generally popular, though not as she should be in the UK.. She is a recipient of the Buchner prize and lauded across Europe. This event will ask five of the UK’s most considerable innovative, performative and visual poets to respond to her life and work alongside two brilliant visiting writers from Austria. Join us for what should be a unique night of responsive, celebratory readings and performances.

Illuminations : celebrating modern Austrian writers is a series of innovative events bringing to light, in London, the work of writers fundamental to the unique Austrian contribution to world literature in the post-war era. These events, by commissioning contemporary artists, writers, poets and theatre makers to each make a new work responding to the works or life of the celebrated figure in question, aim to transpose the brilliance of the original into a new moment – one that will stimulate as well as illuminate. Featuring entirely new commissions from a host of artists and writers from Austria, the UK and across Europe.

(Friederike Mayröcker photograph (c) Lukas Dostal)

Published : 3 cinema poems on Anthropocene

Coinciding with the release of my new slimline poetry publication I Stand Alone by The Devils and other poems on films, out now from Broken Sleep Books, three poems from the volume have been published on Charlie Baylis’ new online journal, which is shaping up beautifully.

The poems are The Baby of Macon, Satan’s Brew and Nightwatch, and they give a taste of what the booklet is about.

A note on : Poetry and The Pillow Book at Cinema Museum

August Thursday 29th 2019 at the Cinema Museum : Booklaunch and a screening of Peter Greenaway’s The Pillow Book

7pm doors. £8 (£5 concessions)

Im very happy to be launching my new poetry publication at the brilliant Cinema Museum in south London to close out the summer. It's a venue so beautiful to be worth attending alone. The event is further special because it will feature a screening of Peter Greenaway's feature celebration of writing, calligraphy and the body as a living page, The Pillow Book, with Ewan McGregor and Vivian Wu.

The film screening will follow readings from myself and writers like David Spittle, Jonathan Catherall and Yvonne Litschel. The event will further explore the potential of literary and avant-garde poetry to refract and 'translate' popular or arthouse cinema, which is the vague purpose of the book I'll be launching.

Published : on Travelling for Versopolis, being followed by a corpse


The next, maybe last, of my poetic essay articles on themes for Versopolis, the European Review of Literature.

“The figure in the centre, who keeps pinching and pulling his shirt forward, to fan himself and allow the sweat to run into his shoes, declares that travel writing is the most ancient form of literature. He’s not being combative, it’s an event about travel writing, he has the audience in acquiescence. They have come to see him speak specifically, his name draws them in. Look to Ibn Jabaya, look to Marco Polo, he says. The novel is a far more modern invention, he says. The novel more modern, but perhaps, if we consider epic poetry to be its precursor, then not so, he adds, as an addendum. The travelling poet has a grand tradition. Look to Li Po. Look to Hessian. Poetry, yes, poetry is the oldest form of literature, it vies with travel writing, he says. Perhaps we can add a few since then to that list? Auden and Isherwood? I feel myself as likely to be in their company as I am to draw crowds at an international festival. I couldn’t draw crowds in a bar in my hometown. And all the gladder I am for that fact. Had I desire to be that man upon the stages, addressing the hundreds, I wouldn’t be a poet. I’d write something people actually read, like a young adult novel about a dystopian future, or magicians, or I’d write a travel book.”

Published : English PEN pieces on Elsewhere Journal

Thanks to the ever brilliant Ellen Wiles, Elsewhere Journal has been publishing the commissioned pieces made by Writers for the last English PEN celebration event that I curate. It’d grand they have found a home in print, as we’ve not done that before despite the event going for many years now.

You can read Ellen’s remarkable introduction here To take on writing a piece for another writer whose situation is so much harder than one’s own, and whose freedom is so much more limited, feels like a weight of responsibility as well as a privilege. Steve has described his feelings, when he co-curated the inaugural festival, on being presented with a pack of summaries of the lives of thirty English PEN-supported writers at risk: ‘When I received the files on the writers at risk… I was just about to board a long flight and so had the chance to read them in one go, over about nine hours, in the strange environs of a plane. It’s hard to describe the feeling afterwards, certainly the sense of responsibility, that I had sought out this project, enthusiastic from the off, but perhaps not truly prepared for the reality of the writers we would be writing about. It’s mawkish to speak of admiration, but coming face to face with such will, such commitment to principle… left me feeling as ashamed as I was inspired. Perhaps one can never really divorce oneself from the selfish question of whether I would continue to speak up in such circumstances, facing prison, torture, perhaps death. To risk my life and the lives of those I love.’

And my piece for Oleg Sentsov Second performance, June 2019 - For my second performance I once again nailed fruit and then ate it nailed, but this time 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, building on the six months between works I had to think about him. 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.

Sam Jordison for Narges Mohammadi
Sara Upstone for Dawit Isaak
Paul Ewen for Behrouz Boochani
Ellen Wiles for Dina Meza
James Miller for Nedim Türfent

Published : an interview with David Spittle on Light Glyphs

An ambitious and generous interview on the part of poet, critic and cineaste David Spittle, as part of his Light Glyphs series, which has featured John Ashbery and Andrew Kotting

We discussed my new book I Stand Alone by The Devils from Broken Sleep Press, my feature length film The Animal Drums and many other things about my work, especially with film.

It seems logical that Steve Fowler’s poetry would find itself in, and as, film…at some point. Steve’s poetry has taken his roving attention into performance art and sound art; into and through elements of comedy and theatre; from concrete poetry and the sculptural towards the pictorial, chance-led, accidental, and ritualistic; and in acts of art / poetry (the slash being always present) that move hungrily out of discipline and into abandon…why would the filmic not be there? Fluttering or strobing, as a kind of inevitable encounter, film, and the intensity of its absorptive hold, seems a natural partner (sparring and / or dancing, fighting and / or loving) for a poet so inventively conscious of how a performance can befriend, baffle or challenge an audience.


Now, here, at the half-way point, let’s move from Drums to Devils: your latest collection, I stand alone by the Devils, and other poems on films, gathers together a selection of poems that are all directed from, or to, specific films. Firstly, I wanted to ask whether this idea had been around for a while or whether there was something in particular that recently (the completion of Animal Drums?) inspired this explicit tribute to cinema?

The collection has been around for years. This happens with a lot of my books; they begin with a single work, grow slowly and an unforeseen event speeds them into being. The unforeseen event in this case was not the Drums but a sudden spate of watching and rewatching films. I just feel back into it, regained the patience one needs. For the first time, I remembered when I was a teenager, a bit lonely, watching like five art films a day for two years. I had never once thought this might’ve been an influence on what I do now, for a living. Which seems stupid now.

Many of the directors you include (Ken Russell, Werner Herzog, David Cronenberg, Nicolas Roeg, Gasper Noe, Lars Von Trier,) and many of the films (Pasolini’s Salo, Vinterberg’s Festen, Zulawski’s Possession) are known for their extremity, shock, or supposedly transgressive nature. It seems clear to me that being drawn towards the challenge of discomfort and our own interpretations of threat and vulnerability are elements that needle through much of your poetry. Did these films help inspire those interests in your poetic practice, or was it more a case of them resonating with a pre-existing sense that art should advance into a troubled / troubling space in order to better question itself and the viewer/ reader?

It’s funny, while I do recognise these films are intense, I haven’t conceived them that way. It’s just what I’m interested in, that serious investment of attention should be met with challenge and complexity. I’d say your question is interesting because you didn’t mention that most of the films are European, especially the 'violent' ones. In European cinema, and European culture in general, it seems obvious that art must reveal the most awful truth of human behaviours, because they are true, through fictional means. This is difficult to experience, but not unpleasant. I know some people seem to think fictional violence is worse than the real thing happening on their street but it’s just my taste that films and art, that are serious, not intending to give you a nice brain fog, which has its place, should not comfort and reassure. So, I’d move the terms of the question and say these films aren't about violence but culture.

Could you say a bit about the process of writing these poems?

There are multiple methods at play but quite a few involved note taking, of dialogue, of scene description, of ideas happening in language while I was watching. So they are found poems in a sense, then blended through edits and additions. Translations in a weird sense, as much as responses. Others were written from memories of the films, what they come to represent for me, idiosyncratically. Others from research, post-watching, digging through books about the films or their makers. I saw myself as only trying to be faithful to each specific piece of cinema, and doing so by choosing not only the language of the poem and its machinery, but also the method of that.

A note on : Launching Unfinished Memmoirs of a Hypocrit at MayDay Rooms

It was the hottest day ever in London. It broke the record, 37 degrees. Everyone brave enough to come to this launch was melting through the floor. The floor of the MayDay rooms meeting place in Fleet Street. It was a very cool space to celebrate Paul Hawkins’ Hesterglock press and its list. I am very proud to be on the list with the folk who read this evening, though I was deflated.

My book UNFINISHED MEMMOIRS OF A HYPOCRIT I am proud of. And working with Paul is inspiring.

A note on: Nordic Poetry Festival NORWAY, coming this September

I recently got to announce the sister festival to the European Poetry Festival, coming this October and now I am very happy to announce that project will actually begin in Norway, with two events coming this September to the West coast of that country.

Events in Ålesund and Bergen this Sept 17th and 18th will feature some of the finest poets from across Europe, from Ireland, Russia, Belgium and the UK, performing and collaborating with some of Norway’s best. The project is curated by Jon Ståle Ritland, myself & Erlend Nødtvedt.

It’ll feature Hilde Myklebust, Kaisa Aglen, SJ Fowler, Jon Ståle Ritland, Harry Man, Maja Jantar, Endre Ruset, Dan Andersen, Eli Fossdal Waage, Christodoulos Makris, Maria Malinovskaya, and David Spittle. More on the link.

A note on : Poem Brut will return with a new program of workshops and events later in 2019

Lovely news indeed that Poem Brut has been given funding by Serendip Studio in the US and Arts Council England. The hope is a new program of events, begun in a strong sense by the Poetry Society double exhibition we’ve had will be bolstered by two new things - a series of open access workshops and a set of new commissions. The project will increasingly focus on the neuro part of its concerns too, how different cognitive experiences affect how we read and write poetry. WWW.POEMBRUT.COM

A note on: Subverse by Diamanda Dramm features my poems


A new solo show by Diamanda Dramm continues her and I’s collaboration, as this time, at Mittelfest (IT), Wonderfeel Festival (NL), and Gaudeamus Festival (NL), she is presenting “an unrelenting solo violin set extending into the bass realm: Diamanda accompanies herself with her feet, using drums and organ pedal, uniting her whole physique into sound. She unfolds the sound of her violin, navigating its peripheries and pushing them out a little bit. The set designed uniquely for this program connects the sonic experience to its visual manifestation.” with music by Dramm, La Berge Dramm, Bach, Corelli. Purcell, Biber. and text by me. The text is taken from a new unpublished work, a book length work about CHIMPS. Diamanda recites it from her mind in between the proper music. This is strange and magical for those words.

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

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 
Hotel Magazine
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.”