A note on: Tate Modern - Writing Photographs : October 13th



13 OCTOBER 2018 AT 11.00–17.00


Join us for this conference on how photography has evolved as a practice with talks, workshops and open discussions

Writing Photographs will bring together artists, writers, curators and researchers, to present and discuss photography as an expanded practice. Building on London College of Communication’s reputation for research into conceptual photography, the day aims to counter traditional notions of image and text, adding a contemporary understanding of Writing Photographs through inter-medial constellations.

The morning will start with a series of experimental and perfomative provocations, followed by workshops that develop on these in the afternoon. Results will be shared at the end of the day with all participants.


Grace Gelder / Marianne Mulvey and Ajamu X / Steven Fowler / Emmanuelle Waeckerle

Writing Photographs is a collaboration between Tate and The Photography and the Contemporary Imaginary Research Hub at London College of Communication.

A note on: Writers' Centre Kingston programme for 2018 / 2019

I'm very pleased to announce the programme for the second year of Writers' Centre Kingston at Kingston University. Themed events with guest speakers including Max Porter and Joe Dunthorne feature alongside unique standalone projects like the English PEN fest, European Poetry Festival, the annual Museum of Futures exhibition and collaborations events at Rich Mix in London. Each event will be opened by student readings and performances and the Centre will also host workshops, release new student publications and aim to bring together staff and students alike from a wide range of specialities.

Visit https://www.writerscentrekingston.com/schedule/ or click on the event below for more information.

October Thursday 4th 2018 – The Rose Theatre, Kingston : 7pm Free Entry
On the theme of Becoming, with Damian Le Bas, Tina Chanter, Christoph Lueder

October Thursday 18th – Kingston University, Penrhyn Road campus, PRJG0003 : John Galsworthy building : 7pm Free
On the theme of Gambling, with Revital Cohen, Tuur Van Balen, Isabella Van Elferen, Ghazal Mosadeq

November Thursday 8th - Kingston University, Penrhyn Road campus, PRJG0003 : John Galsworthy building : 7pm Free
On the theme of Purpose, with Joe Dunthorne, Éadaoin Agnew and Matthew Cunningham 

November Saturday 24th 2018 – The Kingston Camarade : Rich Mix, Venue 2. London : 7.30pm Free Entry
New collaborations in pairs from Kingston Uni students and staff including Nick Foxton, Mark Harris, Alison Baverstock, John Hughes & Mandy Ure, Catherine Humble, Diran Adebayo, Janice Miller, Joanne Addison, Andrew Benjamin.

January Thursday 17th - The Rose Theatre, Kingston : 7pm Free Entry
On the theme of Mythologising, with Max Porter Winsome Pinnock

January Thursday 24th - English PEN Modern Literature Fest : The Bishop. 2 Bishop Hall, Kingston. 7pm Free.
with Sam Jordison, Ellen Wiles, Gareth Evans, James Miller, Helen Palmer, Adam Baron, Sara Upstone and more

February Saturday 9th – The University Camarade IV : Rich Mix, London : 7.30pm Free
Students from Kingston University and other institutions across the UK present brand new collaborations.

February Thursday 21st : Visual Literature Exhibition opening - The Museum of Futures, Surbiton : 7.30pm Free
(The exhibition runs February 19th to March 13th 2019.)

March Thursday 7th :  Poem Brut - The Museum of Futures, Surbiton : 7.30pm Free
with Nise McCullough, Lisa Kiew, MJB and Patrick Cosgrove.

April Thursday 4th : European Poetry Festival - The Rose Theatre, Kingston : 7pm Free Entry
with Maja Jantar and many more poets from across the continent.

A note on : Cafe Oto October 1st for Feral Concord & The Seen




A grand scale, massed bands, first time collaboration between these two London based large ensembles - each with a fluid membership - led by Mark Wastell and Phil Minton.


Mark Wastell has been organising larger formations of musicians, collectively known as THE SEEN for over a fifteen years. Using predominantly improvised material with occasional instructions or themes distributed to individual musicians just prior to performance. No formation has ever been repeated, THE SEEN never stays static.


A group of London based vocal improvisers, sometimes under the misdirection of Phil Minton

Lauren Kinsella 
Illi Adato 
Luke Poot 
Dylan Nyoukis 
Sharon Gal 
Tim Fletcher 
Veryan Weston 
Elaine Mitchener
Jenny Minton 
Steven Fowler 
Kay Grant 
Alan Wilkinson
Jim Dvorak

A note on: a film by Emanuella Amichai translating my poem

Emanuella is an amazing film maker and artist who I’ve had the pleasure to correspond with for years. She made a film of my poetic sequence - Meditations on Strong Tea - which was in my 2014 Rottweiler’s guide to the Down Owner book, and written for tom and val raworth. It’s a beautiful example of abstract intermedia translation, a removed but potent form of collaboration. Her work is wonderful, worth seeking her out.

A note on: The Animal Drums screens Dec 13th at Whitechapel Gallery Cinema

A project many years in the making, the screening of my film made with Joshua Alexander, my first feature length art film, The Animal Drums, will take place for the very first time on December Thursday 13th at The Whitechapel Gallery cinema.

The film began in 2014, Josh and I having met at the British Museum, where we both worked, with both of us wanting to somehow explore what film and poetry could do together, and more pivotally, what it was we were experiencing, being boa constricted by a London we both loved, but facing 22000 visitors a day at the Museum before returning to our overpriced rented rooms on the periphery of that human mass. This began our meetings, to film and write and piece together what is now a large puzzle, a fusion of techniques and ideas that have centred around the notion of development that seems to presume London needs changing to be something impossible, in the future, as things crush and disappear. The film is about tracking the ghosts squeezed into the ether by all this.

Published: a poem on Berfrois



I think to hide something under the bridge. Then to hold a balloon. Then bubble. I’m always picked last, paddling, having children read me back my animals.

Am I pretty much the same, sand without intention, whispering, as those who work for years on every word? When I copy, at least I mean it. I help no one, though.

A new poem up on the brilliant Berfrois...

A note on: European Camarade, collaborating with Diamanda Dramm

The next instalment of the European Poetry Festival will be a one night camarade with 28 poets from 20 countries presenting new collaborations in pairs. It's going to be grand, so many really interesting writers coming together and many European poets living in London and across the UK, and this is key to my aims with the fest. Lots of poets brand new to my events too, which is another important facet to what I try to organise.  https://www.europeanpoetryfestival.com/eurocamarade

I'm always delighted to announce the next full festival will happen in 2019 April 5th to 17th.

For my own part I'll be collaborating with Diamanda Dramm, one of the most exciting young musicians in Europe.

We've been working together for over six months now, Diamanda creating new pieces with texts that I've written for her. October 13th will be the first night we'll work together live. I met Diamanda in Dublin, both of us performing, and she's doing really exciting things with the use of poetry alongside her magical music talent, which is pretty remarkable.

A note on: minidoc about Struga

Struga was my 51st poetry festival outside of engerland and often ive returned wishing I had documented these experiences better, being as they are often so idiosyncratic. I finally invested a bit of time in making a minidoc supercut of such a trip and Im quietly happy with the result. It captures just a touch of what it was like to be there.

A note on: Struga Poetry Festival travelogue

This can be read in it's entirety here www.stevenjfowler.com/struga (it's quite long but I hope worth a read...)

"With the opportunity to give the last reading of the festival, in Skopje's Daut Pasha Hamam, I said that I’ve had nearly 2000 weeks on the planet and this week was up there with the best. Embarrassed by the week behind me, I told the truth. 56 Struga festivals before us, behind me.

A week in Macedonia. The Struga Poetry Nights. Translucent time, hectic, furious but also gentle, diaphanous. This kind of altered rhythm of consciousness descends, a dislocated holiday from reality, a soft military excursion for poetry. The ether turned up, like a week on whippets.

The overriding feeling, reflecting upon it, a few days out, is about the sensation of sincerity without sentimentality that so marked the Macedonians running and steering the ship, and how that permeated into some really wonderful poets / poems / people / experiences.

Pedigree, an extraordinary history, coming into being during the early 60s and extending Yugoslavia’s idiosyncratic connections to independent post-colonial states and a myriad of political allies outside the Russia / US binary. Struga poetry is in Macedonia something that we in the UK do not have. It's important. I'm really happy to be invited, because not many english poets are, because its a cauldron of tradition that I feel bonded too. Global poetry. A friend who has been who has heard I'm invited tells me when he was invited it made the 2nd page of the national newspaper. In England not a single soul will notice. Good. All the better. Monkey in the shadows."

A note on: The sex lost in Porn - an article on Versopolis

The theme of August on the European Review of Poetry, Books and Culture is sex and pornography. http://www.versopolis.com/column/656/the-sex-that-s-lost-in-porn

I have the same attitude toward a plot of the usual type as a dentist to teeth.
I built the book on a dispute between people of two cultures; the events mentioned in the text serve only as material for the metaphors.~
This is a common device in erotic things, where real norms are repudiated and metaphoric norms affirmed.                       Viktor Shklovsky, Zoo

It is impossible to track the increased frequency of masturbation through human history into the 21st century. But it is likely that it is at its most frequent in human history. It has to be. Even the most self-loving ancestor of ours, be they 100,000 or 10,000, or 200 years in the past, could not have possibly imagined the kind of sexual stimulation that immediate and unlimited access to pornography provides the average person. There are, of course, more humans than ever before, the world population has doubled since 1970, and in western societies, more people are without a partner than ever before, in context. These are grounds on which we must think of pornography and its ubiquitous but resolutely underground presence.



Pornography wants waste. It may be just watched. It may be something other to those who make it. It may tax the senses of those who use into ineffectiveness. It may permeate mainstream ideas and culture, though far less than people say. It may be a force for whatever moralising or shifting nihilism that breezes through too much theoretical consideration. But what it is, in all it’s remove, vivacity, anger, necessity, absurdity, sorrow and energy is a mirror. Perhaps literally, a computer screen reflecting the figure of human, spread legged or hunched over, trying not to see themselves and their own desire, placing it elsewhere, in pieces, in the past, into the excess of other bodies. Pornography need not insist upon itself then, it is the fantastical growth from the part of ourselves we are as ready to deny now as in anytime during our western past. It is an answer, not a question.

A note on: work in some upcoming anthologies

  • We'll never have Paris, edited by Andrew Gallix for Repeater books - I've new short fiction in this anthology, entitled Laisse Tomber. It's an ode to Patrick Modiano in a sense, fragmented, open, about memories of being unhappy in that city. https://repeaterbooks.com/
  • Battlalion, edited by Kirsty Irving and Jon Stone for Sidekick books - Some new artworks about bats and their charming personalities. http://sidekickbooks.com/booklab/
  • Wretched Strangers, edited by JT Welsch and Agi Lehoczky for Boiler House Press- This one has just arrived or is about to be, collecting new poems that reflect or represent the experience of those estranged by england's divorce from its own continent. My poem is about the ubiquity of loneliness https://www.boilerhouse.press/wretched-strangers
  • Queen Mob’s Teahouse anthology edited by Russell Bennetts and Erik Kennedy for Dostoyevsky Wannabe - I've a visual brut poem in this one, that celebrates the brilliant online journal. https://queenmobs.com/
  • Counternarratives: an anthology of Experimental Writing edited by Lee Rourke for Dead Ink - new short fiction in this one. https://deadinkbooks.com/





A note on: the 57th Struga Poetry Festival in Macedonia

I'm happy as a pig to have been invited to one of the world's oldest and most prestigious poetry festivals, Struga in Macedonia, starting in a few weeks time. Struga has been going since the early 60s and has had some of my poetry heroes amongst its attendees and its golden wreath award is seen as one of the top things an international poet can receive, with Auden, Brodsky, Ginsberg,  Neruda, Montale, Senghor, Enzensberger, Adonis, Krleža, Amichai, Heaney and Tranströmer all having got it. Obviously I'm not getting that, it's Adam Zagajewski, but I am one of about 25 poets who got invited this year chosen from every country on the planet. Though that puts me in a group of probably around 1500 alumnus poets over the last 50 years, I think only a dozen or so have been English. I know Tom Raworth was one. Ted Hughes. Anyway it's validating in the way that means most to me, that my work is considered outside of any specific Circles, that it has a little bit of run in the world. My friend in Norway told me when he was invited it made the second page of the national newspaper. In the UK, no one will ever know that I have been invited. Not that I'm complaining, it's actually a great gift to me, to be able to do my own thing with poetry and not be fundamentally anonymous, even if I am a bit in my home nation. I sit in a quiet middle space which allows for more room in both directions. I'll get to spend 8 days by Lake Ohrid meeting great poets from all over the planet. Such things are very rare experiences.  

A note on : my Lego concrete poem on Typeroom magazine



I must have missed this brilliant article from Typeroom.eu a few years ago when the amazing New Concrete anthology arrived. It includes my Lego poem that I made on the night of that anthologies launch, live, in front of the audience. It also includes...."13. futura then futura now; Hansjörg Mayers’ publishing projects in the early ‘60s included prints, portfolios, books and the broadside series futura which featured his own work and that of many major practitioners of concrete poetry at the time - all set in the Futura typeface. Antonio Claudio Carvalho has recreated this series of broadsides under the name p.o.w – prisoners opposed to war, featuring The New Concrete contributors Roel Goussey, Chris McCabe, Sophie Herxheimer, Nick-e Melvile, Sam Winston, Simon Barraclough, Tom Jenkins, SJ Fowler, Hansjorg Mayer, Victoria Bean, Augusto de Campos, Peter Finch and Julie Johnstone."

A note on : Michael Jacobsen reviews two of my Poem Brut books


"Aletta Ocean's Alphabet Empire is the more unreadable of the two. It contains mostly black and white asemic writing with the occasional "Picasso" blue page of asemic script. The art/writing has a storm like quality to it with lightning bolts of asemic writing. Other pages seem to contain illegible asemic animal tracks, and still others remind me of Morse code birch bark dashes. This book's main focus and general theme is the raw erotic power of creation of an excelled asemic mythology. AOAE is presented in a fine hardcover volume by Hesterglock Press and is limited to 40 copies.

I Fear My Best Work Behind Me is the slightly more legible of the two and is more colourful than Aletta. It has a spring-like playfulness and joy bringing qualities that makes me think of an asemic Kenneth Patchen crossed with finger painted art. There are a few more recognizable drolleries such as a deer's head and a crab, and the skulls on the cover art, but most of the text/art is nebulous. Fowler has acknowledged the influence of Christian Dotremont and Henri Michaux in this book, but from these predecessors he has developed his own calligraphic style and signature. The publisher Stranger Press has taken Steven's work and made an admirable codex which I will treasure.

Both works offer an excellent introduction to Steven J. Fowler's personal raw art poetry. This is Poem Brut in its finest form, a term I believed coined by Steven to describe the outsider poetry not created with a computer. It is refreshing to read/hold these handwritten books since they offer a respite and rest from the bloated techno-culture. Asemic books prove that we are not robots; they are the ultimate captcha. It is invigorating to read through these two works in a time when everything is being digitized, to have these two beautiful works of resistance now is essential. Find these books and you will know."

A note on: my selected Scribbling in Cordite magazine article

Scribbles_full_cover v3.png

Tim Gaze is a visual and avant garde poet whose work I have followed for some years though we've not been in touch. I was therefore happy indeed that his recent article in Australia's Cordite magazine, which covers the gammut for Asemic poetry's entire purpose and history, mentions my selected scribbles, just before Michaux - http://cordite.org.au/essays/punk-calligraphy/ 

"Steven J Fowler’s Selected Scribbling and Scrawling (ZimZalla, 2018) is a collection of what Fowler calls ‘scrawlpoems, scribblepoems, asemic poems, pansemic poems, doodle poems and other messes’. His scribbliness is less extreme than some of the others listed above, and reminds me of handwritten visual poetry by the likes of Carlfriedrich Claus, Robert Corydon and Edgard Braga. Fowler takes handwriting for a run, and sometimes lets it off the leash."

Scribble can be bought from ZimZalla https://zimzalla.co.uk/051-sj-fowler-selected-scribbling-and-scrawling/