A note on: Subcritical Tests reviewed, briefly, in the Irish times

GorseEditions-SubcriticalTests-Front (1).jpg

It's at the bottom, and spelling words differently than how they are given in a dictionary can be deliberate, and full of meeeninggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/leontia-flynn-serious-about-the-butts-of-her-jokes-1.3291470

"Ailbhe Darcy and SJ Fowler’s collaborative collection, Subcritical Texts, is the first book publication from Gorse (€13). Nicely designed but not entirely typo-free, its poems are often obscure and tense, pulled this way and that in what feels like a tug-of-war between Darcy and Fowler.

Images of nuclear bombs and fall-out recur and, every so often, in among the cross-talk and non sequiturs, pellucid lines or vivid passages emerge whose clarity feels both hard-won and relieving. “It is wrong” they write in Snooperscope,” to think of the day as busy, / or the army as impotent because of cakes / and waltzes. Do not be fooled, you cannot list / your way out of a fight, even with these beautiful men.” This is a strangely compelling book whose productive tensions are well described in Trumpet: “But no winter could be arrived at that / both parties would agree on; / the nations of you writing and I writing.”"

The book is http://gorse.ie/gorse-editions/subcritical-tests/

A note on : Revolve:R 3 available for pre-order

An opportunity to pre-order a copy of the Revolve:R, edition three publication. Edition three is the result of a multi-disiplinary collaboration (between artists from the UK, Europe, Africa, and the USA) over a two-year long duration and includes: 2D visual artworks, poetry, films, sound-art, and music.  /  Pre-orders of edition three will enable us to meet the publication costs and so are very much appreciated. To begin our funding campaign we are now offering a number of copies at a greatly discounted price (75% off). All pre-order backers of the project will be credited by name within the publication. 

Revolve:R, edition three includes: > 300+ 2D Visual Artworks > 15 Poems > 6 Films > 4 Soundscapes and 2 Songs / Pre-order Revolve:R, edition three  Here
Continuing from the thematic development of edition one and two - inspired by concepts of chance and synchronicity - in 2016 the curators sent an artwork to a number of artists with the invitation to respond with an artwork of their own by a set date. Once all these artworks were received a new work, both a synthesis, edit and reply to the collective works was produced and sent back to all participating artists. Within each Revolve:Rproject there are six such rounds (referred to as 'Revolves') of this process of communication, which effectively form six chapters within the edition.

For Revolve:R, edition three poets were invited to write poetry in response to the collective artworks of each of the six Revolves. These six poems were then forwarded to six artist-filmmakers who each made a short film in reply. Each  poem was also forwarded to another poet who in turn responded with a poem of their own. As well as the poets artists working with sound as well as musicians were also invited to create a soundscape, or song, inspired by the collective artworks of each of the six Revolves.

As a multidisciplinary site and source for experimentation and exchange, Revolve:R aims to support the artists involved through the publication and exhibition of their work. With a strong focus on collaborative practice, the project facilitates communications between national and international arts communities, transcending geographic and linguistic boundaries, and is intended as a vehicle for new and responsive artistic dialogue and interaction. Revolve:R, edition three is near completion and will be published in 2018.
Poem:11/15

The Instinct of Life is Trained Out of Memory When You're Tired

by Steven.J.Fowler.

The instinct of life is trained out of memory, for a moment.
Your flat earth we acknowledge as a series of visions, in two dimensions
that contain colour, shape, compositions under a guiding hand,
not like a poem in any visible sense.
Every point and place of this planet contains images like these,
in time, but not poems to match them, being out of time, their opposite.
Bone, rust, soil samples, sideways cities printed upon card.
They can be a votive for you, book owners, away from the adoration of dropbox.
Portals, twins - boxed images that confuse the rushing to our next meeting -
 hammers, those soil samples, writing visions as a competitive award.
 A black bin that appears a rose. But flatter than a black rose.
 What would be more hopeless than the claim that life itself
is to have survived long enough to have free time
that we do not need
to make books, images, objects and poems
that are less than the things they've been invented to oppose? 
Where sub-reality is more uniform,
more schedule, than actuality?
There is something in the bottom of this bucket worth reaching in to see.


Title of Bookwork: Revolve:R, edition three Publisher: Arrow Bookworks (in collaboration with a publishers - to be announced) Publishing date: 2018 Bookwork dimensions: 21.5 cm, 21.5 cm, 7 cm Number of pages: 360 (approx) Edition size: Limited edition (exact number to be decided) Media: Card, Cloth, 170 GSM paper (plus HD card) Pre-order price: 100.00 Retail price: 250.00 Contact:  revolve_@icloud.com Website:  www.revolve-r.com Pre-order Revolve:R, edition three:
> All pre-order backers will be credited by name within the publication (unless specifically asked not to be).
> Initial pre-order backers will receive the edition at a discounted price (75% off).
> Pre-order Revolve:R, edition threeHere

Poem Brut : blog #2 - Brut at Rich Mix - Nov 25th

pa.jpeg

Poem Brut at Rich Mix : November Saturday 25th 2017 : 7pm - Free entry
35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, London E1 6LA www.richmix.org.uk/events/spoken-word/poem-brut-i

A 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, performances and talks alongside pop up exhibits, interactions, video poems and more. 

Featuring new works from Harry Man, Imogen Reid, Stephen Emmerson, Hiromi Suzuki, Paul Hawkins, Chloe Spicer, Kate Wakeling, Christian Patracchini, Patrick Cosgrove and Christopher Stephenson. These works will explore the possibilities of literature and liveness, responding to the page and to the act of writing itself.

Commissions include explorations of erasure and lettering, dyslexia, dyspraxia, and poetry, video poems, gif poems, passive reading, children's languages, abstract illustration and more.

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.  Our first event will be followed by an exhibition - Hard to Read - also at the Rich Mix, opening December 9th. 3am magazine, a partner in the project, is also running open call for new works that fit within the tradition. Future events:

A note on : Two new courses for Poetry School - European Poetry Now!

VD-C 1660.jpg

I'm delighted to be returning to teaching at the Poetry School, after nearly two years away from the fold. It is a place where I have met some of the finest poets and humans I've come across in this tiny tiny world. In the spring 2018 I am running two separate but intertwined courses. Please do book one of them and come be a part of our continent still yes.

You can see all my Poetry School experiences, including these below here www.stevenjfowler.com/poetryschool


European Poetry Now (& Then) – International Course

Online Course Celebrate and explore the best-kept secrets in innovative, contemporary European poetry https://poetryschool.com/courses/zur-holle-european-poetry-now-international-course/

As the UK sadly divorces itself from the EU, this course with SJ Fowler, director of London’s European Poetry Festival (April 2018), abjures further divisions by embracing (and reclaiming) contemporary European poetry. In this course you will be introduced to dozens of working poets and multifarious traditions, drawing on modern poetic history and with an emphasis on the radical, experimental and avant-garde. Exploring constraint, concrete, visual, sound, performance and language poetry, this is a chance to gain access to poetic cultures and scenes almost completely hidden from British poets and readers, and making your own new work in response.

5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks. No live chats. Suitable for UK & International students.


European Poetry Now! – Two Day Workshop

Face-To-Face CourseA practice-focused weekend looking at what is happening right now in a golden age of poetic innovation just over the Channel https://poetryschool.com/courses/zur-holle-european-poetry-now-two-day-workshop/

This intensive two-day course with SJ Fowler, director of London’s European Poetry Festival (April 2018), explores what is happening right now in a golden age of poetic innovation just over the Channel, and how that offers British poets the chance to expand their own poetic practice. Focusing on methodology and making over two days, exploring relay-style the ten themes of the Festival, this crash-course draws on huge array of ground-breaking yet little-known European poets to blaze new paths into language, visual and live poetries. Participants will also have the opportunity to develop their own works for presentation at the European Poetry Festival.

A two-day workshop running 10:30am – 4:30pm on Saturday 17 & Sunday 18 March.

A note on: Illuminations Peter Handke on Wed November 15th

I am very excited for this event. Peter Handke is my favourite novelist and maybe playwright too. I cannot speak to the influence his work has had on me. Come along.

Illuminations III : Peter Handke

Nov 15th 2017 - 6:30pm doors for 7pm start
Free entry
(booking required, link http://www.acflondon.org/events/illuminations-iii-peter-handke/)
Austrian Cultural Forum. 28 Rutland Gate, Knightsbridge, London SW7 1PQ

New performances, readings and artworks by Verena Duerr, Eley Williams, Phil Baber, SJ Fowler and more to be announced.

One of the world's foremost novelists, playwrights and poets, Peter Handke's body of work is a question to the entire consciousness of post-war Europe. Wholly singular, often particularly divisive, Handke's work creates an intensity out of the observational, skewers complacency and layers literature with the kind of distant complexity and forceful difficulty that actual living tends to bring. His work has been a beacon of critical and prolific experimentation, and his polarising persona and numerous works have forced European novelists of the last 50 years to, at the very least, accept or reject his style and substance. His output is remarkably underappreciated in the UK, if not generally unrecognised and so this event, in a small way, aims to rectify a considerable imbalance. 

This event, by commissioning contemporary artists, writers, poets and theatre makers to each make a new work responding to the works or life of Handke, aims to transpose his work into a new moment – one that will stimulate as well as illuminate.

Published: European Institute of Imaginary Authors by Robert Sheppard

Robert Sheppard's brilliantly inventive new book has just been released and I'm delighted to have been included Twitters for a Lark: The Poetry of the European Union of Imaginary Author is published by Shearsman Books at £9.99 and in available here: http://www.shearsman.com/ws- shop/product/6460-robert-sheppard-ed---twitters-for-a- lark

This is from Chris McCabe - Working in collaboration with a team of real writers, Robert Sheppard has created a lively and entertaining anthology of fictional European poets. There is no resultant ‘Europoem’, but a variety of styles that reflects the collaborative nature of the poems’ production, the richness of a continent. The works range from the comedic to the political, from the imaginatively sincere to the faux-autobiographical, from traditional lyricism to the experimental. Accompanied by biographical notes, the poets grow in vividness until they seem to possess lives of their own. Although devised before the neologism ‘Brexit’ was spat across the bitter political divide, this sample of 28 poets of the EUOIA (European Union of Imaginary Authors) takes on new meanings in our contemporary world that is far from fictive, ‘fake news’ or not.

The collaborators are: Joanne Ashcroft, Alan Baker, James Byrne, Alys Conran, Kelvin Corcoran, Anamaría Crowe Serrano, Patricia Farrell,Allen Fisher, S. J. Fowler, Robert Hampson, Jeff Hilson, Tom Jenks, Frances Kruk, Rupert Loydell, Steve McCaffery, Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl, Sandeep Parmar, Simon Perril, Jèssica Pujol i Duran, Zoë Skoulding, Damir Šodan, Philip Terry, Scott Thurston. 

Twitters for a Lark heralds a new movement: the European Poetry Revival. It is a book that arrives like a new channel forged by collaborative poets, with all past ideals of state rolled up in an old five pound note. This illuminated sect of future Rimbauds lightens the island’s burden, the lights on their vessels burning like the tips of duty free cigarettes. Chris McCabe

Writers' Centre Kingston : blog #4 - a performance, Dying

IMG_20171026_224906.jpg

The first few months of running the new literary centre at Kingston University have been really interesting, and our first few events have been as good as I could've hoped for. The second, the official launch, at Rose theatre in Kingston, featured Iain Sinclair, Andrew Teverson and myself speaking on the theme of Dying, to a full house.

Find out more at www.writerscentrekingston.com/dying

I had to give a performance for the event as a speaker dropped out in fact. I did an improvised talk, the kind I've been focusing in on the last year. Lots of speed talking, lying, comedy rhythms. As a condition I write them on the day, a few hours before, as bullet points and then just work them out live, frightening but satisfying. I wrote tonight's on toilet papiere while waiting for the audience to arrive.

 

Published: Atlantic Drift anthology now available

ed. James Byrne and Robert Sheppard Part of our Arc International Poets series
Atlantic Drift publishes twenty-four poets from the UK, Ireland, USA and Canada in an exciting partnership between Arc Publications and Edge Hill University Press. This anthology seeks to highlight new and existing writing and to define/redefine the discussions between poets from both sides of 'the pond'. By developing a dialogue between English-speaking traditions, Atlantic Drift will include some of the most exceptional poetry and poetics written in the twenty-first century, featuring Claudia Rankine, Jerome Rothenberg, Rosmarie Waldrop, Charles Bernstein, Bhanu Kapil and Allen Fisher. Edited by James Byrne and Robert Sheppard.

Published: 3 poems published in Wild Court

conrad.jpg

For a poetic celebration of Joseph Conrad, generously commissioned by Professor Robert Hampson, I've written 3 new poems on his work, published by Wild Court, the magazine of Kings College, London @wildcourtpoetry http://wildcourt.co.uk/new-work/920/ 

They are for this exciting event at National Poetry Library, a special edition on Conrad https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/124451-poetic-celebration-joseph-conrad-2017 …

Poem Brut : blog #1

www.poembrut.com An ambitious new project, 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.  The first event will take place at Rich Mix on November 25th followed by an exhibition - Hard to Read - also at the Rich Mix, opening December 9th. 3am magazine, a partner in the project, is also running open call for new worksthat fit within the tradition.  Further information on the project below.

poembrutbanner.png

Poem Brut aims to ask what is in the shape of a letter? What images do words recall? What is the meaning of colour in poetry and text upon the page? And white space? How does the situation of a poem change its meaning? Why is composition not a concept that applies to a medium that is innately visual? In literature, why has content overwhelmed context? Why has product dominated process? Poem Brut, in a playful, creative and accessible manner, aims to redress some of these concerns.

Poem Brut, conceptually, aims to not only support contemporary practitioners, but to illuminate an alternative history of modern poetry, while exploring how innovative methods of poetry are often utterly purposeful - often emerging from alternate experiences of language and consciousness in the world. In this way, Poem Brut aims to bridge a gap between poetry and art, and to support artists and poets who often have to navigate an unfortunate binary of outsider / insider.

Poem Brut will evidence the brilliance of poets working in underexplored traditions or whose work responds to their own alternative experience of consciousness, be that through neurological disorder, intellectual disability or mental health experience. It is a project which aims to share their methods and means, to create new works and bring light, primarily, to the inspiring potential of a poetry of colour, shape, composition, geometry, handwriting and material.

The project supposes that returning to the gestural and instinctual methods, often mistakenly associated with ‘high art / poetry’, can have an extraordinary effect on many individuals who are often ill at ease with formal learning of literature. In doing so, Poem Brut aims to create a narrative through historical poets who have explored this exciting territory, to show audiences and participants interested that they are part of a tradition. 

Poem Brut will be an examination of words that 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. It will be a celebration of scribbling, crossings out, forgotten notes, strange scrawls - the odd interaction between paper and pen, and pencil, and the colours that randomly collide. It is a project about the page as a block, about geometry, about lines that sever meaning, about inarticulate shapes, about minimalism and collage. It is about making, gesturing towards the handmade, the amateur, the outside, liquid and wood, ugliness, toilet wall draughtsmanship and mess. www.poembrut.com

Writers' Centre Kingston : blog #3 - a literary event on Dying October 26th

Writers' Centre Kingston presents a literary event on Dying at The Rose Theatre
October Thursday 26th : 7pm : Free entry www.writerscentrekingston.com/dying

David Jacobs Room. Rose Theatre Kingston. 24-26 High Street. Kingston. KT1 1HL
WITH GUEST SPEAKER IAIN SINCLAIR ALONGSIDE ANDREW TEVERSON AND SJ FOWLER, WITH READINGS FROM ZAKIA CARPENTER-HALL, DACY LIM AND MOLLY BERGIN

Writers' Centre Kingston is launched with a free event on the theme of Dying. Each of the three speakers will respond to that theme with a brand new piece of literature, performance or an informal talk. Accompanying the main programme will be readings from poets, launching new publications in the Writers' Centre Kingston Sampson Low series.

Iain Sinclair is a writer, filmmaker and ‘‘psychogeographer’ whose work and documentation of London is unrivalled.  Andrew Teverson is Head of the School of Arts, Culture and Communication, and Professor of English Literature at Kingston University. He researches primarily in the areas of folk narrative studies and international literatures in English.  Steven J Fowler is a writer and artist.

DSCF3160.jpg

Our first event of the year, a pre launch at the beautiful Dorich House, was a brilliant evening with talks from Tom McCarthy, Sara Upstone and Stella Bottai. For more information on the event, including pictures by Alexander Kell and videos of the talks, visit www.writerscentrekingston.com/living

Please do forward this newsletter to anyone you think interested.
Apologies for any cross-posting
www.writerscentrekingston.com

Writers' Centre Kingston : blog #2 - Sampson Low Poetry Publication series

future_dentist_molly_bergin_1-copy.jpg

I would say of all the initiatives I've lined up for my new role at Writers' Centre Kingston, this one, a series of new limited edition poetry pamphlets for current students or recent alumni of Kingston Uni, is the one I'm most excited about. It gives me the chance to work closely with some remarkably mature, original and exciting poets and its the first series I've edited like this, only seven years into my own writing. Molly, Zakia and Dacy have all made my time at kingston in the last few years more engrossing because of the constant surprises and reassurances their work has provided.  https://www.writerscentrekingston.com/sampsonlow

The link has the place to buy the booklets, and anything that supports Alban Low's work at Sampson Low is worthwhile. His professionalism and attention to detail is remarkable too. Here's my statement accompanying the series

“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

zakia_carpenter-hall_event_horizon_1-copy.jpg

A note on: my article on Home, in Dutch, published in Terras

very happy to have some of my journalism published in Dutch for the first time, featuring the latest issue of the respected Terras magazine. The magazine was founded by erik lindner and the article emerged from a commission for European Lliterature Night Amsterdam, thanks to the British council.

The full Dutch can be read here http://tijdschriftterras.nl/thuis-2/ and it was translated by Anne Tjerk Popkema

terras.png

"Het zijn onze vormende jaren op deze aarde die bepalen hoe we ‘thuis’ opvatten. Of het nu de plek is waar onze wieg toevallig stond, de plaats waar we opgroeiden of waar onze ouders vandaan komen: de omgeving van onze jeugdjaren vormt ons thuis. Althans, dat zeggen ze."

... and from the essay in English, an excerpt"I have always been distrustful of those who speak of home, actively, keenly, when they are young. Those who stay in the same town in which they were born. Home then becomes a word equivalent to repression, a soft claw coming up out of a bungalow, wrapping itself across my mouth.

London is my home, because I have no home. London is the world. As angry and lovely and populous as our world. As the population of our planet has doubled so London has become the biggest it has ever been, just recently catching the population of the pre-war era. I am one of these millions, delighted, against where I was raised, to be amongst the people of the world. I am home, briefly, with those I love, in a city which is not celebrated enough for being truly global, where I have never seen people in conflict because they are from different homes. Because everyone is from a different home here, almost no home is home when in London. So it is all of ours. Does this paradox qualify? Perhaps not, it cannot be a paradox if I say it is my home."

A note on: Millets anthology from Zeno Press

millets.jpg

http://www.zenopress.com/product/millets/

 

£7.00

Millets is the first of a series of anthologies published by ZenoPress. This issue features works by artists and writers who have been invited to respond creatively to nine of the most known Zeno’s paradoxes.

Featuring texts by:

Richard SkinnerMaria FuscoSteven J FowlerJohn BoursnellLiz ZuminPaolo InverniJeremy EvansRobin BaleNicola WoodhamClaudia KappenbergGiovanna CoppolaClover PeakeTasha HainesChristian Patracchini

 

Writers' Centre Kingston : blog #1

I'm very pleased to have been named the new director of Writers' Centre Kingston - Kingston University's literary cultural centre. A brand new year of events, projects, festivals and initiatives will begin in October. 

The core programme consists of a dozen events – each themed, with three speakers responding to that concept with a new reading or talk or performance. The speakers are both guests to the Centre, including Tom McCarthy, Stella Duffy, Nell Leyshon and Iain Sinclair, as well as those drawn from the academic staff at Kingston University. Student and alumnus readings often accompany this main programme. 

The Centre will present brand new initiatives including a programme of adult education courses, a bookclub curated with Stanley Picker Gallery and a publication series for student poets with Sampson Low.

Please see www.writerscentrekingston.com for more details on the centre and the year ahead.

A note on : The end of Fiender in Malmo

A final event in the Fiender project, a Swedish collaborative enterprise that Harry Man and I put together, 12 poets presented new collaborations in Malmo, one of the most interesting cities in Sweden. The event was really thanks to Kristian Carlsson, whom I had met in Georgia in 2016, a remarkable activist and publisher living in the city, he was our key co curator.

We took over the Poet on the Corner shopfront venue for one night and poets from Mexico, Iran, Uruguay, American, England and Sweden trod the boards, a signifier of Malmo’s international character. It was an intimate, gentle, often quiet, even timid, Camarade, but as ever, meeting the poets and discovering new spaces, especially alongside old friends like Harry and JT Welsch, was rewarding. My collaboration with Iranian poet Naeimeh Doostdar was a literary work, quite careful, but opening into some interesting textual spaces at times. We always seemed at a remove from each other, no matter what I tried to do to allow her the space to define the context and content it always seemed gentle, generous but not really collaborative. A rare thing for me nowadays, and a lot to take from it, certain barriers can’t be crossed quickly, these things are miniature friendships and that takes time. So Naeimeh and I got on well, but it was merely a beginning.

IMG_20170904_121656.jpg
IMG_20170903_230036.jpg

Malmo is an interesting place but it didn’t reveal itself immediately, felt metaphorically connected to the limitations of the event and my collaboration. It appeared obvious or residential on its surface, but clearly promised a great deal. This is attractive in a sense, enticing if not immediately gratifying. Certainly finishing another rare visit to Sweden, where I have blood ties and a quarter of me is actually from, sat around a dinner table with friends old and new, is something to prize.

A note on : Reverse - poetry festival in Copenhagen

My second time reading in Copenhagen, a visit to the Reverse poetry festival in Copenhagen. It’s a festival that exists because of a small group of dedicated people and it invites genuinely contemporary poets, clearly invitations that are the result some serious knowledge and research into the wider world of poetry. These festival days then were a concentration of much effort and attention and the Literatur Haus in the city was always busy. The highlight for me was meeting some really talented and good natured poets - Pierre Alferi, Derek Beaulieu, Ida Borjel, Jorg Piringer, to name but a few, and sharing a couple of what might be deemed anti-performances. Again I got visit the brilliant Ark books too, who are another volunteer led enterprise.

The night of my performance, the street of the Literatur Haus was closed and a small stage set up for Jorg, myself and a few others to read. It felt as though no many were there to see the poetry, which I can relate to, but as they milled in their black gowns and drank, which again, is fine, a DJ played us in. They DJ’d into my reading and before my performance I walked around introducing myself to strangers and handing them pieces of paper. They were genuinely contemptuous of me talking to them, perhaps this is why I have this lingering feeling now, writing this. Jorg did a wonderful set, technically brilliant, funny, captivating. Perhaps 30 to 50 people from the 200 or so on the street circled him, distantly, to listen. The rest continued to chat and drink, which again, is fine. I wasn’t really introduced, just took the mic when Jorg finished. I told the audience how about strange the experience is going to festivals like this – that you pass through so invisibly, its ghostly, often, and the travelling, the infrastructure of the amazing invitation, its often for a ten minute reading in a language foreign to the audience. So I wouldn’t do it, wouldn’t pretend they were going to listen. Instead I asked them to write down on those pieces of paper the name of someone they knew who had passed away. Then I said I’d sit in Ark bookshop talk to anyone who wanted to speak to me about that person, and write a poem about them, in memorial, if they wanted to.

So followed an hour I’ll not forget, a deeply sad and authentic series of conversations with very kind people who followed me into the shop, away from the crowd and its disinterest, and in the stories of dead lovers, parents, children, brothers, sisters, cats and poets, I made a corner of the world for myself.

The following day I had the grand pleasure to having lunch with many of the poets, thanks to the hospitality of my old friend Martin Glaz Serup. He is a wonderfully ebullient, funny and sweet hearted man, and this was another lovely hour. My final performance, which was supposed to be a talk, was perhaps even more memorable.

IMG_20170902_224748.jpg

Sat on stage with Ida Borjel and Henny Hagerup, my chair was placed for me. The stage was in three parts, and the flanking pieces were an inch lower than the central piece. So when I shifted my chair just a few centremetres from the middle of the stage, to better see the moderator, it fell out beneath me. This in front of a full audience and with a series of glasses on that stage. I wasn’t embarrassed at first, nor overly shocked, but it was quite spectacular. I stood up and said ‘my arse is wet’, then someone pointed out to me my leg had been cut and blood streaked across my trousers. Indeed the glass had cut into my knee joint somewhat, though I was lucky to not have been really hurt. We finished the event, a fine chat about collaboration, and then I spent some time trying to wack plasters over the wound, in my pants, in the literature haus’ office. It was clear I had to go the hospital and luckily the festival folk and my dear friend Harry Man were on hand to help me there where I was sewn up brilliantly. So ended my time at Reverse, hobbling through the Copenhagen night, eating cinnamon buns with Harry on a man made mound next to a man made lake, my leg full of synthetic stitches.

A note on: a solo exhibition at Rich Mix this winter - HARD TO READ : Collected Paint Poems, Pansemia, Cinematic Drawings and Logograms

AOAE scan 19.jpg

SJ FOWLER // Rich Mix Gallery : December 9th 2017 to january 6th 2018
 

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

From the gallery "Collecting together the art poetry of SJ Fowler, this solo exhibition aims to pose several questions of the poem as a concrete, visual thing in the world. What is in the shape of a letter and what images do words recall? What is the meaning of colour in poetry and text upon the page, and white space? How does the situation of a poem change its meaning? Why is composition not a concept that applies to a medium that is innately visual? In literature, why has content overwhelmed context? Why has product dominated process? HARD TO READ poses these questions and answers them poorly, playfully, with over 40 original works drawn from multiple publications and previous exhibitions - works that interrogate handwriting, abstraction, illustration, asemic and pansemic writing, scribbling, crossings out, forgotten notes, strange scrawls - the odd interaction between paper and pen, and pencil, and coloured words that randomly collide with image recalling words.

This is an exhibition about the page as a block, about geometry, about lines that sever meaning, about inarticulate shapes, about minimalism and collage. It is about making, gesturing towards the handmade poem, the amateur poet, the outside, liquid and paper, the absence of technology, and ugliness - toilet wall draughtsmanship and mess. It is a response to being called an artist in the poetry world, and a poet in the arts world."

This is my second solo sexhibition and will kick off The Poem Brut, a new project I'm doing which includes the books I fear my best work behind me (Stranger Press 2017), Aletta Ocean's Alphabet Empire (Hesterglock Press), The Collected Scribblings of SJ Fowler (Zimzalla 2018). It's also part of my time as Rich Mix Associate Artist.