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


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

The works ranged from readings to naked wine baths, from bird paper throwing to choral sound poems, from live art peeling to cellophane octopi. All the performances can be seen on video here https://www.poembrut.com/richmix4

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


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

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

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

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

The book has been featured in November's National Poetry Library latest acquisitions highlights, which is nice www.nationalpoetrylibrary.org.uk/news-stories/latest-acquisitions-november-2018
and there's a few samples from the book here www.stevenjfowler.com/articles

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

I have four new fragments of work published at https://burninghousepress.com/2018/11/09/sj-fowler-the-gush-more/ thanks to guest editor Paul Hawkins, running a month of new work around the concept of future facing poetry at the burning house press.

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

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

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

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


A note on : The IGNOR festival travelogue and performance

You can read a full whack travelogue of my recent time in Slovenia here http://www.stevenjfowler.com/slovenia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


A note on : how like muanis, how like astra

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

Also muanis and astra are great humans

Published : Simpanz, a short selected poems in Slovenian

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

A note on : on Radiostudent in Slovenia


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

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


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

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

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

Published: new art-poem in Scrap ghosts zine

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

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

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

Buyt it heRe http://scrapzine.co.uk/

THE ANIMAL DRUMS : Premieres at Whitechapel Gallery December 13th

T h e   A n i m a l   D r u m s

Whitechapel Gallery Cinema : Thursday December 13th : 7pm
Tickets http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/events/joshua-alexander-steven-j-fowler-animal-drums/

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


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

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

Four years in the making, The Animal Drums is a collaboration between poet and artist SJ Fowler and moving image artist Joshua Alexander. http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/events/joshua-alexander-steven-j-fowler-animal-drums/

A note on : collaborating with the powerful Diamanda Dramm

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

Visit https://diamandadramm.com/events/ to find out about her tour if you’re in Hollandaise.

A note on: IGNOR festival in Slovenia

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

festival I  g  n  o  r 2

klub Gromka, Metelkova 24. - 26. oktober 2018

p  r  o  g  r  a  m

Četrtek, 25.10.2018, ob 20.00

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

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

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

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

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

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

p o m e d v e d i l i   s m o   s e !

A note on : European Poetry Festival Camarade at Rich Mix

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

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


A note on : Writing Photographs at Tate Modern


Oct 13th 2018 - A powerful day of provocations and workshops led by Beverley Carruthers and Wiebke Leister and the staff of Tate Modern in the Starr Cinema of that institution exploring photographs intersection with the written word. https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/shape-light/writing-photographs

I had the chance to run a workshop that I turned into a paradox, essentially suggesting most collaborations between poetry (specifically, not text) and photography was a banal tennis match between the mediums, never exploring what is possible between the two precisely because they are so disparate and paradoxical when aligned and this is because no one wants to take a risk / responsibility and stake out working definitions of both mediums in order to fix a creative point of genesis between them. I presented the poor souls in my workshop with six exercises to exacerbate them further, each one designed around impossible, paradoxical tasks that related to photography & poetry / photography & poetry. After this lovely 90 minutes where people wrote some great bursts of work and shared some excellent suspicions I then gave a presentation to the wider group about what we were up to. A good day for me, to further and refine ideas for myself. Photographs by Xiaolin Zhang.


A note on : Battalion anthology from Sidekick Books

It was nice to put a correspondante to a voice. you sounded small powerful safe in the dark


the Battalion anthology is exquisitely beautiful and full of genuinely original visual poetry and illustrative poetry. + I may not be a poet who does nice warm poems but I can write clean about bats in poems yes I can do.

“Bats! Incredible creatures from story and science, flitting between bird and beast, fable and fact, fear and fascination. Sidekick Books presents Battalion, your interactive guide book to these enigmatic, intricate animals. Filled with art, essay and riddle, Battalion is a colourful cavalcade of pipistrelles and fruit bats, gadabouts and gods.


The bat is a liminal thing, and goes by many cultural identities: aviation expert, clandestine committee member, victim of superstition, delicate contraption, beautiful mishap, miniature aristocrat, occultist, conjuror, ninja. Battalion is your alternative, unregistered guide to bats – a live, writhy cave colony of findings, fixations and sonic experiments. Add your own inky skitterings to the mix, bring it on your evening flit. Take after its denizens: open your mouth and listen to the sky.


Sofia Amina, Katt Beatson, James Coghill, SJ Fowler, Matthew Haigh, Cliff Hammett, Daniel Holden, Holly Hopkins, Priyam Jancosko, Chris Kerr, L. Kiew, Amy Kinsman, Beatrix Kinsman, Julia Lewis, Yvonne Litschel, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Agnes Marton, Ceri May, Nick Murray, Suzanne Olivante, Abigail Parry, Alex Stevens, Claire Trévien, Tori Truslow, Mike Weston, Nell Wilson.”

A note on: a new Photography section


The last year to 18 months have been spent learning, a lot, from friends kind enough to teach me about photography. It was something (the inverse of my normal process) that I knew more about theoretically than practically before I started working, actively, with film and digital editing especially. The theoretical and conceptual knowledge, almost always learned in the context of understanding the photograph and the text or poem, allowed me opportunity to share ideas, at The Photographer’s Gallery most especially, thanks to Joseph Kendra, which in turn asked of me far more attention towards the taking of my own pictures, with nowt to do with my writing. This summer of 2018 was a often dominated by this for me, taking lots of pictures, wasting lots of money on developing shite, but coming out of it, as ever, knowing how little I know and relatively small my talents are in this area. But it’s joyous. A chance to then speak and work with Writing Photographs at Tate Modern extended my knowledge a bit further too, so it’s time for a small section, for my own mind and motivation, on my site, about my photography work www.stevenjfowler.com/photography

I have to thanks Alexander Kell for teaching me more than anyone (pictured i took this picture of him)

A note on : Poem Brut at Rich Mix on Nov 10th

Poem Brut at Rich Mix : November Sat 10th
7.30pm - Free 35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, London E1 6LA

Poet-artists from across the UK, Europe and the Americas descend on East London for a unique literary event celebrating the visual, visceral, messy, handwritten and colourful in poetic performance - a dozen new live poetry pieces made for the night from those exploring alternate ways of making literature. Each presentation will be different from the last, with readings and performances alongside pop up exhibits, interactions and video poems. 

Featuring new work from Susanna Crossman, Nathan Walker, Sarah Dawson, Peter Surkov, Ryan Mihaly & Karolina Zapal, Martin Wakefield, Arturo Desimone, Alban Low & Kevin Acott, Dovydas Laurinaitis. James Caley and Abi Palmer.

This event is the 9th in the Poem Brut series and the last in this cycle of events.www.poembrut.com 
This event will see the launch of SJ Fowler's 'Aletta Ocean’s Alphabet Empire' in paperback andJames Caley's 4 steps from the wire published by Hesterglock Press.
(Background image artwork by Susanna Crossman)

A note on: Illuminating Ingeborg Bachmann in London

The 5th in the Illuminations series I’ve had the joy to curate for the Austrian Cultural Forum in London, this was an intense, solemn, literary, powerful, concise and considered evening of new works by poet artist musicians from across Europa. Bachmann’s own intensity, measured and civilised in its cut, was as well as represented as could be the case. Some wonderful performances with videos available here www.theenemiesproject.com/illuminations and below, the amazing Diamanda Dramm and Anne Seidel, whose translations I had the pleasure of reading.

Upcoming events (that I'm curating) for the winter

A toasty winter with events, everyone is free to attend. Eight events, over a hundred artists and poets, I’m un lucky ducke.

October 10th - Illuminations V : Ingeborg Bachmann at Austrian Cultural Forum / London, UK
Some brilliant folk coming to London to celebrate the great Bachmann including Dutch violinist Diamanda Dramm, Austrian fiction writer Ana Schnabl and German poet Anne Seidel.

October 13th - European Poetry Festival : Camarade at Rich Mix
A huge energising celebration of the potential of collaboration and what’s happening in European Poetry right now. Will be memorable, these Euro Camarade’s are always epic.

October 18th - Writers’ Centre Kingston at Kingston Uni : an event on Destroying
An unusually pointed theme for a WCK event, Iranian Canadian writerpoet Ghazal Mosadeq joins artists Cohen & Van Balen is exploring destruction.

November 8th - Writers’ Centre Kingston at Kingston Uni : an event on Purpose
The brilliant Joe Dunthorne comes to Kingston Uni in an event surrounded by the notion of Purpose, alongside uni speakers Éadaoin Agnew and Matthew Cunningham.

November 10th - Poem Brut at Rich Mix
The last Poem Brut of the year and a massive one, with artistpoets travelling from America, across Europe and across the UK to present new commissions in the Brut vein. Will be an intense night at Rich Mix.

November 23rd - European Poetry Festival : Babelsprech 
New multi-lingual or anti-lingual poems presented in short bursts from European poets living in the UK at the intimate, historically powerful Torriano in Kentish Town.

November 24th - Kingston Camarade - Writers' Centre Kingston at Rich Mix
An experiment for the Camarade collaboration format, with staff, alum and students of Kingston Uni coming together to present new works for the night.

November 25th - Prose Poem Poetics at Torriano Reading House
Exploring the prose poem will over a dozen poets again at the wonderful Torriano. This will be the launch for my new book too, my selected essays entitled It Won’t Go Well.


A note on: being in a Feral Concord

By far the least experienced vocalist in the circle, I was so happy to be so. To be asked by Phil Minton, one of the world’s foremost improvised vocalists and a kindly golden ghidora of the avant garde music world, to be one of a dozen artists involved in a Feral Concord, that is an entirely improvised choral performance at Cafe Oto, meant a great deal to me. I have a toe in many pools, so naturally I’m ankle deep in none. I am therefore often at a remove, which is a grand thing most of the time, but also cautious, in this case, to not be the chimp whistling when others are singing or singing when others are whistling. In the group were friends like Dylan Nyoukis but also many others I had not met but whose work I knew and very much admired.

The actual experience was profound. It’s hard to describe. I was struck this time, during our 30 minute performance, just how remarkable it is to communicate with others so directly, following as the piece varies and alters and shifts like fish in the ocean, without any language or movement being the thing that makes the moves. A friend in attendance described it as a solemn seance that made everyone else not move.