A note on: Poem Brut at Rich Mix III

Poem Brut / Rich Mix III : March 17th 2017 : 7pm doors for 7.30pm start
Free entry  
35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, London E1 6LA

An literary event celebrating of the visual, visceral, messy, handwritten and colourful in poetry with new unique commissions from writers exploring alternate ways of making literature. Each presentation will be different from the last, with readings and performances alongside pop up exhibits, interactions, video poems and interactions. www.poembrut.com/richmix3

Featuring new work from Chrissy Williams, Lavinia Singer, Matvei Yankelevich, Julia Rose Lewis, Julia Schuster, Olga Moskvina, Oliver Mayeux, Mischa Foster Poole, Ruhi Parmar Amin, Andre Bagoo, Saradha Soobrayen and more. 

See videos and images from the first Poem Brut at Rich Mix event here.

Poem Brut is an exploration of poetry and colour, handwriting, composition, abstraction, scribbling, and illustration, affirming the possibilities of the page, the pen, the pencil - in a computer age - generating over a dozen events, multiple exhibitions, workshops, conferences and publications.  3am magazine, a partner in the project, is also running open call for new works that fit within the tradition

A note on: English PEN Modern Literature Fest III - March 8th


Kingston upon Thames. 14-16 Market Pl, Kingston upon Thames KT1 1JP www.writerscentrekingston.com/pen

Contemporary English writers present works written in tribute to a writer who is part of the English PEN Writer's at Risk programme, writers living under oppression around the world. http://www.englishpen.org/ 


Writers poets, novelists, playwrights and artists come together to continue English PEN's relationship with innovative contemporary literature. Each of the ten British writers will present poetry, text, reportage, performance on the day. The new works celebrate and evidence the struggle of fellow writers around the world, in solidarity.

The event is intended as a call to membership for writers, artists and readers in a time where we face perilous challenges to our freedom of expression and fundamental rights and hard fought liberties, both internationally and here in the UK. As the world changes so remarkably, and so rapidly, and on a global scale, it is vital the political will of our time and this generation of young, dynamic writers is directed purposefully to the work of English PEN, the writer's charity. The hope is this festival, away from creating new members of PEN, begins involvements and connections which will have exponential resonance for decades to come.

The event is free to attend but attendees are encouraged to join English PEN. The event is part of the wider English PEN Modern Literature Festival www.theenemiesproject.com/englishpen 
Curated by SJ Fowler and Cat Lucas.

Please join English PEN

You can join English PEN here http://www.englishpen.org/membership/join/ and if you are a writer, poet, artist, or someone who is passionate about defending our fundamental freedom of expression in the UK and around the world, please take the time to do so and become a part of the future of this extraordinary organisation.

European Poetry Festival is launched

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April 5th to April 14th 2018
over 50 poets from 24 European nations
9 events in 10 days


Programme  Click the event for further information : All events are free to attend

April Thursday 5th : European Poetry at Writers' Centre Kingston : Rose Theatre 
Opening the festival by the River Thames with readings from nearly a dozen European poets.

April Saturday 7th : The European Camarade : Rich Mix
The grand event of the festival. 30 poets in 15 pairs present brand new collaborations made for the night.

April Sunday 8th : Performance Literature & Sound Poetry : Parasol Unit
Celebrating innovation in live literature with new solo performances by a dozen of Europe's most considerable avant-garde poets.

April Monday 9th : Lithuanian Poetry in collaboration : The Poetry Cafe
Lithuanian and British poets collaborate and share new works at the home of The Poetry Society in London, joined by many other festival poets.

April Tuesday 10th : Versopolis poets in focus : London Bookfair
Lithuanian and British poets celebrate the pan-European poetry platform and review, Versopolis.

April Wednesday 11th : Polyphonic at Romanian Cultural Institute
A multimedia poetry show celebrating the Centenary of Greater Romania with readings by ten of the most talented Romanian poets.

April Thursday 12th : Austrian Poetry in collaboration : Austrian Cultural Forum
Austrian and British poets collaborate and share new works just off Hyde Park in the heart of London, joined by many other festival poets

April Friday 13th : The European Camarade in Liverpool
The festival leaves London and presents a night of new collaborations between poets local to Liverpool and those visiting from across Europe.

April Saturday 14th : The European Camarade in Middlesbrough : MIMA
The festival closes in the North East of England, where once more European poets will present collaborations with their English counterparts, many local to the area.

Poets presenting at the festival in 2018 :
Max Hofler, Daniela Chana, Robert Prosser (Austria), Damir Sodan (Croatia), Tomas Pridal (Czech Republic), Helianne Kallio (Finland), Iris Colomb (France), Rike Scheffler, Dagmara Kraus (Germany), Theodoros Chiotis, Astra Papachristodoulou, Katerina Koulouri (Greece), Erik Lindner, Hannah van Binsbergen (Holland), Kinga Toth, Orsolya Fenyvesi, George Szirtes (Hungary), Ásta Fanney Sigurðardóttir (Iceland), Christodoulos Makris, Ailbhe Darcy (Ireland), Alessandro Burbank, Livia Franchini, Serena Braida, Giovanna Coppola (Italy), Sergej Timofejev, Inga Pizane (Latvia), Aušra Kaziliūnaitė, Marius Burokas, Giedrė Kazlauskaitė (Lithuania), Jon Ståle Ritland, Endre Ruset, Henriette Hjorthen Støren, Vilde Valerie Torset (Norway), Simona Nastac (Romania), Olga Kolesnikova (Russia), Colin Herd (Scotland), Ana Seferovic (Serbia), Martin Solotruk (Slovakia), Muanis Sinanovic (Slovenia), Daniele Pantano (Switzerland), Anastasia Mina (Cyprus) Harry Man, John Clegg, Jen Calleja, SJ Fowler, Helen Michael, Simon Pomery (UK) and more...

European Poetry Festival is curated by SJ Fowler

The Written Eye : The Photographer's Gallery

The Written Eye : a course exploring Poetry & Photography
Wednesdays 25 April - 30 May, 18.30 - 20.30

in The Photographers’ Gallery, 16-18 Ramillies Street, London W1F 2LW

I'm delighted to be teaching a brand new course that explores the post-war traditions of modern photography and avant-garde poetry in both practice and concept in one of the world's foremost institutions of photographic art.
From the course description - "As forms of artistic expression, both poetry and photography are apt to convey a narrative or story without certainty or mere description. However both the poetic and the photographic are often still perceived as a solitary acts, occurring in isolation. This course will reveal the connections, potentials and co-habitations of poetry and photography, where collaboration both enhances each medium and evokes what makes them so uniquely compelling.  
Participants will discover poets from around the world and many photographers who have exhibited at The Photographer’s Gallery as the course covers ideas surrounding composition, language, light, sound, space, printing, narrative and writing, revealing how these practises are fundamental to both arts. Collaborations between the mediums, from Dada to John Berger and Jean Mohr, will be shared and analysed throughout.
Sessions are based within galleries themselves and participants will have the chance to engage directly with concurrent exhibitions … and be offered the opportunity to publish their own Poetic / Photographic works on Viewpoints, the galleries online blog. 
Primarily a practice-based course, complimented with discussion and theory, this course will offer anybody interested in the visual or literary a chance to develop their own skills and understanding of new and original ways of simultaneously seeing and reading."

Email stevenjfowler@yahoo.co.uk with any questions.

Published: Animal Waste

Animal Waste : The second of a set of five cinema-poetic collaborations with the artist-filmmaker Joshua Alexander.

Animal Waste spreads itself over the lands of London which seem to have inspired a re-understanding of the city's literary and psychological history, from Limehouse to Wapping, Rotherhithe to Ratcliff. Mutely nodding to this profound and now taken for granted reexamination of these once were slums, Animal Waste sets itself against the confident and touristic glean of that history, instead aligning itself with the suffering sediment of the actual past. Shot around Wellclose Sq and Hawksmoor's St Anne's, and hiding from the Thames, the film evokes Falk, Swedenborg, Linneaus in all their intelligent menace.

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

The animal films explore 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. The films aim to capture the ambiguous menace of an often accidentally humorous resolve, manner, apology and understatement so prevalent in the English character. 

A note on: The University Camarade III

February Saturday 10th 2018 - 7.30pm - Free Entrance
Venue 2 : Rich Mix Arts Centre (35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, London E1 6LA)

The University Camarade is an initiative that asks writing students from different Universities across the UK to collaborate on short new works of poetry or text, for performance. It is an opportunity for young writers to expand their practise, knowledge and networks, and the project takes a stand against purported factionalism in higher education. The innovative collaborative methodology also allows students to include experimentation early in their writing careers, and perform to a large audience.


The Uni Camarade III is supported by Kingston University, Edge Hill University, Glasgow University and York St John. It is curated by SJ Fowler as a Writers' Centre Kingston project.

Published: a subcritical test in Poetry Ireland


Trumpet Issue 7 / Winter 2017/18
Roger McGough celebrates the fiftieth birthday of The Mersey Sound, still one of the best-selling poetry anthologies of all time; Duke Special writes about putting Michael Longley to music. Máighréad Medbh uses fragments of the everyday to compose her poem 'The 2nd of April'; Noel Duffy explores the literary device which makes a poem quintessentially a poem: the line break. Grace Wilentz reviews six of the best pamphlets;  John W Sexton reviews The Poetry of Pop. Other contributors include Tara Bergin, Sue Rainsford, Aifric Mac Aodha, Elaine Cosgrove, Ailbhe Darcy and SJ Fowler.  


Published: Aletta Ocean's Alphabet Empire

I'm happy to announce the release of my new art book, from Hesterglock Press, released in limited-edition hardback first-print of just 40 copies, 20 of which have sold so far. The book is available to purchase here - Aletta Ocean's Alphabet Empire from my bigcartel page.

"A book that asks, abstractly, are letters shaped like bodies? Can words evoke faces, captured in a screen? Who, or what, is assimilating, who or what? Aletta Ocean's Alphabet Empire is a collection of art poems, hand wrought in black, grey, silver and white, fashioned with indian ink, paint and pen, worked with techniques that edge around writing, vying with abstraction, constantly harrying semantic meaning and legibility. 

Five years in the making, conceptually this is a book about sex, poetry and pornography and the disconnect between the former and the latter. These pages explore technology in its absence and aim to evidence the power of materiality and the body, and our hands, that are still required for touch."

"Searching AOAE online (Aletta Ocean's Alphabet Empire) shows a YouTube clip of Japanese cats mating. What's a word in any case if not a monster? A monster that eats words. The toner explodes on the office carpet spilling out a perfectly formed oeuvre. Serifs skywrite like migrating gannets. The rorschach accidentally tells you what to think. The printed facsimile becomes original when the world goes JavaScript. The dollar sign is a duck walking backwards into a lake. The ATM dispenses glyphs. How do we know people have faces when they take the day off work? The tank rolls over the charcoal leaving a map of Iraq or a new version of Cathay. We're back in the world of Artaud's final journal where, thank fuck (and at last) we're not being told what to think. Aletta Ocean's Alphabet Empire is an almighty triumph, a well-earned relief. Picasso said it took a lifetime to learn to paint like a child. Or, for that matter, like the mad." Chris McCabe

A note on: reading boxing poems at Cambridge University


A resonant experience on multiple levels, I had the chance to read at Cambridge Uni thanks to Oliver Goldstein and his Sweet Science event in the Faculty of English. It was another entry in my experience of a small, welcoming community of writers and poets who care passionately about the sport and aim to reflect it in works as complex as the culture itself. Oliver is one of the world's leading boxing journalists and really fine poet, and as well he and I, there were multiple excellent readers and a really healthy and interested audience. Discerning you'd expect, but friendly with it too. I read some poems from an upcoming book, a sequel to my 2011 Fights, entitled Rematches, due out with Kingston University Press this year. I also got the chance to pop a balloon with a left hook. 

Perhaps the most unexpected highlight was meeting a cambridge english undergrad who told me they were doing their dissertation on my work. A first, as far as I know, and actually really warming and encouraging, it actually really touched me. It's very easy to feel one is wasting time, serving my own interests and no one gives a shit (which is true) but then a small thing like that happens, and you feel less in a bubble.

Published: Liberating the Canon anthology ed. Isabel Waidner

So nice to be included in this anthology, with a piece of fiction, never seen the light of day before, which is part of my Museum series. https://www.dostoyevskywannabe.com/experiments/liberating_the_canon

Liberating the Canon is an edited anthology capturing the contemporary emergence of radically innovative and nonconforming forms of literature in the UK and US. Historically, sociopolitical marginalisation and avant-garde aesthetics have not come together in UK literature, counterintuitively divorcing outsider experience and formal innovation. Bringing together intersectional identity and literary innovation, LTC is designed as an intervention against the normativity of literary publishing contexts and the institution 'Innovative Literature' as such. More widely, if literature, any literature, can act as a mode of cultural resistance and help imagine a more progressive politics in Tory Britain and beyond, it is this.


Edited by Isabel Waidner, Liberating the Canon includes contributors working at the intersections of prose, poetry, art, performance, indie publishing and various subcultural contexts:

Mojisola Adebayo, Jess Arndt (US), Jay Bernard, Richard Brammer, Victoria Brown, SJ Fowler, Juliet Jacques, Sara Jaffe (US), Roz Kaveney, R. Zamora Linmark (US), Mira Mattar, Seabright D.Mortimer, Nat Raha, Nisha Ramayya, Rosie Snajdr, Timothy Thornton, Isabel Waidner, Joanna Walsh and Eley Williams.

272 pages
ISBN: 978-1999924508
Dimensions: 5 x 8 inches
Cat No: DW-391

A note on: first commissions up on The European Review


So far executive editing The European of Poetry, Books and Culture is pleasant pleasant, working with some really remarkable writers to shape new pieces. Online already are articles by the authors below, all of whom have produced really striking pieces, with dozens in the pipeline.

A note on: speaking at the Garden Museum in London on February 27th 2018

A huge pleasure to continue my residency with J&L Gibbons, landscape architects and friends I admire so much, by being part of The Landscape Learn event to be held at the beautiful Garden Museum in Lambeth. I'll be giving a talk on poetry's primary ethical purpose as a way of seeing and understanding language, or something like that.

TUESDAY 27 FEBRUARY 2018 - 17:30–19:30 - £10-30 FOR EACH SESSION


Following the success of our sold-out events last autumn at the Garden Museum, we are holding three Tuesday evening events focusing on Right of Way, Critical Infrastructure and The Taxonomy of Language. For this event series we are delighted that Landscape Learn will once again be hosted by the Garden Museum in the new Clore Learning Space.

Language is our complex system of communication, implied and explicit. We categorise, encode, and abbreviate in direct and ambiguous styles in a spectrum of forms that can inspire, inform, or confuse. Language is the foundation of the learning process. BOOK HERE

A note on: latest poetry on 3am magazine

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It's been a good time to be getting submissions for 3am's poetry section. Seems what I've been trying to do over the years has stuck a little, and so much of the work I'm getting is brilliant. So more than usual has been published, and this is in no small part down to the Poem Brut and Duos series, being the only poetry I'm accepting at the mo. As ever there's a big backlog, so much more to come soon. Since September 2017...

Published: a new essay on The Learned Pig


As part of my new series of art book publications for Poem Brut I've written a series of essays. Each one acts as a kind of contextualised full stop to the books and their otherwise un-explained content, but they aren't explanations, just ruminations. The brilliant online journal The Learned Pig have kindly published the essay On Time and Mess, which closed out I fear my best work behind me, with selections of the work from that book


Once we understand excess, then we can get really simple.

– Robert Rauschenberg

Exploring poetry’s absent indispensable character

"Because poetry is not a thing that lives, to put it mildly, upon the regulation and control of grammar and correct spelling, in the final preparations for the publication of my book, ‘I fear my best work behind me,’ an exploration of the rudimentary character of poetry – that is letters and words – there was only one correction to make for my editor. Only one deliberate error, with all the obsequiousness that this phrase entails, for him to find and for me to defend. The title. I fear my best work is behind me. Remove the is. Then perhaps, to those dozen or so reading the title, and those few within the dozen who are concentrated by interest, the absence of the is will take on its proper significance. The primary significance I would posit that poetry has, outside of letters and words, is purposeful semantic omission.

I do not imagine my best work is behind me, literally, but in those whom I’ve discovered – and that is the right word to use (for they have to be unearthed, do poets, in England) – who have given me permission to make such works as those that often litter my pages, they are behind me, and are the best work, for they were and are not making what can be mine. What they have made was original, or based on poets they have buried with themselves, as I shall not do........"


A note on: editing a new anthology - Austrian Illuminations

Illuminations poster Jelinek.jpg

Thanks to the Austrian Cultural Forum I'm currently bringing together brand new work from 15 writers and artists for a new anthology due out in the summer of 2018. It celebrates three modern Austrian authors - Elfriede Jelinek, Eric Fried and Peter Handke, all of whom have been the subject of the Illuminations event series in London. I get to work with Polemikanos design agency once more, as I did for the Kakania anthology in 2014, which was also part of the Occasions series. The book will bring together some beautiful images with new texts and translations.

A note on: editing the Sampson Low Poetry Pamphlet series in 2018

The Sampson Low Poetry Pamphlet Series is designed to evidence the remarkable contemporary and innovative poetry being written by current and recent Kingston University Creative Writing students. This series of beautifully designed pamphlets each features a suite of poems, most often on one theme or in one style, by a solo author. Visit https://sampsonlow.co/wck-pamphlets/ to purchase from the series.

New releases in the series, debut works by Olga Kolesnikova, Yvonne Litschel and Silje are now available to purchase. Click on the title and author to read more about each publication so far and buy a copy!: Click on the title and author to read more about each publication so far and buy a copy!:

“Kingston University brings together students from all over the world, from as wide a range of backgrounds and cultures as can be found in the UK. It creates a community that cross pollinates influences and ideas, and this is inevitably reflected in the work the students create. The university does not get enough credit for this – it is, I have seen, a vibrant, harmonious environment where originality and difference can be transformed into exciting and innovative expression. The students are hungry for that which is innovative, that which allows them to express the true size and complexity of their experience and their community at the university. This series of poetry pamphlets reflects that. The work is utterly contemporary, it is exciting and energetic. It is, I hope, the best kind of representation of what Kingston University stands for – intelligent, unique and various in its character.”  
Series editor, SJ Fowler

A note on: Poem Brut III at Rich Mix and smashing closed my exhibition

Another remarkable night for the Poem Brut events. There is a community forming around the notion of literary performance through these events which is warm and welcoming but is producing some challenging, though often very funny, poetry. It feels, though early in the Poem Brut project which took years to begin, that the concept of the events, like with The Enemies Project, has grand potential.

The event also saw the closing of my exhibition Hard to Read. It was a privilege to have space at the Rich Mix for a whole month, but the exhibition was a collecting of previous things rather than a showing of that which is new, so I felt I needed to close it down with something memorable. 

A note on: O Mayeux with Post Asemic press


Very pleased to have blurbed this brilliant and original book from debut asemicist O Mayeux.

In January 2017, O Mayeux wrote a computer program to dismantle all the poetry he has ever written, to tear it apart at its seams, to stitch its syntax into itself. What remains are these Artefacts, a cycle of asemic poetry. The abstract erotic narrative threaded through these poems is a delicate lament for the fragility of semantics, a tale of how we all remain unreadable to each other.

O Mayeux (http://4f4d.xyz/) is an artist and linguist. Artefacts is his first book. 

'Through disappointment comes clarity. From clarity comes conviction. And thus, from conviction, arises opacity, again, inescapable, overlapping, murky. This beautiful work, Artefacts, is a testament to life, through poetry, the way it actually is. Broken, eclipsing itself, beautiful, made of older pieces, physical, disfigured. Showing there can be no real clarity in language art, just a pristine fracture.' — SJ Fowler

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Artefacts-Oliver-Mayeux/dp/0692989447/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1516311394&sr=8-1-fkmr1&keywords=artefacts+oliver+mateix


A note on : Poem Brut 2018

This Saturday sees the first Poem Brut event of the year at Rich Mix. Three further events are confirmed for the year ahead and one exhibition, with an open call. Details below.www.poembrut.com


Poem Brut at Rich Mix II: January Saturday 13th - 7pm onwards
Rich Mix Gallery : Free Entry (free wine too) 
35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, London E1 6LA (downstairs from the Indigo Cafe) 
Featuring brand new literary performances from Paul Hawkins, Imogen Reid, Christian Patracchini, Patrick Cosgrove, Mischa Foster Poole and more. A last chance to see my Hard to Read exhibition before it closes and a first chance to soil my book Aletta Ocean's Alphabet Empire, published by Hesterglock Press.


Poem Brut at Rich Mix III : March Sat 17th 2018
with Chrissy Williams, Lavinia Singer, Matvei Yankelevich, Julia Rose Lewis, Julia Schuster, Olga Moskvina, Oliver Mayeux, Mischa Foster Poole, Ruhi Parmar Amin, Andre Bagoo and more. 

Poem Brut at Writers' Centre Kingston : March Thursday 22nd 2018
with Revital Cohen, Tuur Van Balen, Harry Man, Tawny Andersen, Jeramu Dodds, Sarah Dawson, Lucy Furlong & more.

Poem Brut at National Poetry Library : Wednesday June 6th 2018
with Maja Jantar, SJ Fowler, Tom Jenks, Saradha Soobrayen (TBC)


Poem Brut, supported by Arts Council England.