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.

A note on: Queens Mob Teahouse at Primrose Hill Library

Such a lovely reading - poetry does these intimate livenesses so well, where its just the people in the room alive to each others presence, better off with sub 20 souls than with an audience line - at Primrose Hill Community Library, hosted by Queens Mob Teahouse ans the grand russell bennetts, a really fine poet.

I got to read alongside old friends like Russell and Julia Lewis and then discover new folk like Anthony Etherin and Canadia's Rob Mclennan and Christine McNair who were visiting hard. We had fun in a private corner of north london on a sunday night by reading aloud piems we had written at a previous time. Magic. Piems I say.


Newsletter : Stuff on the go #1 (Oct 2018)

Scaffold Podcast, Writing Photographs, Diamanda Dramm, Feral Concord, Meditations on Strong Tea, A poem a week, Hipoglote Interviews & more View this email in your browser VIEW IT

Scaffold Podcast : Matthew Blunderfield's remarkable exploration of contemporary architecture and design veers off into a poetry wall with me. The podcast is available onitunes and soundcloud

Writing Photographs at Tate Modern : I'm presenting some ideas about poetry and photography, and a workshop, at this one day event still open for booking

European Poetry Festival Camarade : October 13th, 7pm at Rich Mix, London - Collaborating with the remarkable Dutch violinist and text player Diamanda Dramm. We are 2 of 28 poets presenting new co workings on the night. 

Performing as part of Phil Minton's Feral Concord at Cafe Oto - Monday October 1st. /  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. https://www.cafeoto.co.uk/events/confront-the-seen-feral-concord/

Newly published, a film translation of my poetic sequence - Meditations on Strong Tea ( for tom and val raworth) by the brilliant artist Emanuella Amichai https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuOBJY8F6D8

a poem a week podcast - a poem from my last collection - The Wrestlers with Kingston Uni Press - featured on Lizzy Palmer's elegant and succinct audio project. soundcloud.com/apoemaweek/ep33-old-time-wrestles-new-time-by-sj-fowler

HIPOGLOTE Sound Poetry Interview - Great to chat with Portuguese sound poetry archivers / activists / investigators tiago swabl and nuno nevers. I was the 87th respondent in their Hipoglote interview series. www.mixcloud.com/Hipoglote/87o-hipoglote_2018-06-18_interview_-steven-j-fowler/

New articles published in The European Review of Poetry, Books and Culture, including
The sex that's lost in porn
Tech, the consequence of abbreviation

Release of the softcover edition of my artpoetry book 'Aletta Ocean's Alphabet Empire' with the brilliant Hesterglock Press. Launched November 10th at Rich Mix at the last Poem Brut event for the foreseeable future, a huge night of performances bringing poets from all over the world to Londonhttp://www.poembrut.com/richmix4 

Published: speaking with Matthew Blunderfield on his Scaffold Podcast

Scaffold Podcast : Matthew Blunderfield's remarkable exploration of contemporary architecture and design veers off into a poetry wall with me. The podcast is available on itunes and soundcloud

We had a proper longform chat, the kind possible in the podcast realm, and while I wanted to veer into architecture, out of my room, Matthew was very generous and prepared and we stayed the course with some poetic focus. He allowed me to cover some of my more fundamental thoughts on my work and the field in general.

A note on: an article on tech, and the consequences of Abbreviation, for Versopolis

Check it please http://www.versopolis.com/interview/679/tech-the-consequence-of-abbreviation

“The word sounds harder, in English, when abbreviated, than it should be. The sound itself contains a measure of threat. It is somehow onomatopoeic, the sound of something being struck, perhaps with intent and measure but not the desire to do catastrophic harm, or the sound of something that is supposed to be fixed above us, breaking off and dropping to a concrete floor. Teck. I youtube search for pronunciations in other languages. They are all hard sounds. Someone must be pronouncing it with a CH. Tetch. I believe the word, like the word god, has taken upon itself a quality that obscures our clear understanding of its meaning. We are responsible for it and we will get what we deserve from it. Or are we not? These are the untechnical questions of someone who writes poetry for a living, who has no utility but a daily, dirty sense of what language is and does.

Did the word, in its abbreviated form, usher in a new age when it came to represent not a tool but the possibility of a new conceptual framework for our reality, if such a thing can be established profitably across other, disparate minds? Is this latter concern, the unresolved problem of other minds, more significant in our understanding of technology than we think? Is it why, thinking through literature and technology, that realist fiction is so lasting, despite it being a specific product of the late 19th century consciousness and the intellectual tumult of that time? When metaphysics and all that refusal of the question of reality were being loaded into a cannon, so people needed writers (but they were more than that word means, were they not?) who would describe the world in boring detail, just so everyone could check they were on the same page, figuratively speaking? Is that why humans tend to only read similar stuff now, 150 years later, because they are still unsure their reality is their fellow humans’ reality? Is tech just the latest excuse for protecting the fear that we are all not sharing the same experience of consciousness? Or is an opportunity to make that question, as religion once did, a secondary concern. Who needs to know if they share the world with others if one can build a new world for each and every soul? Who will cling on to reality writing when reality has been fundamentally debased? ……

A note on: new floppy softback cover version of AlettaOceanAlphabetEmpire

Release of the softcover edition of my artpoetry book 'Aletta Ocean's Alphabet Empire' with the brilliant Hesterglock Press is coming. After we did a really successful sell out hardback glossy super limited edition Paul Hawkins (the editor) and I decided my scrabbleblack nightmare poems could do with more of a release into the world and so this beautiful book has been born.

Launched November 10th at Rich Mix at the last Poem Brut event for the foreseeable future, a huge night of performances bringing poets from all over the world to London http://www.poembrut.com/richmix4 

“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 dollar sign is a duck walking backwards into a lake. Aletta Ocean’s Alphabet Empire is an almighty triumph, a well-earned relief.” 
Chris McCabe

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


A conference on how photography has evolved as a practice with talks, workshops and open discussions. I’m happy to be presenting provoking and leading a workshop around poetry and photography incompatibility as the beginning point for fruitful exchanges in our own minds.

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.

Workshops 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



£12 £10 ADVANCE £8 MEMBERS / 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.

THE SEEN 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.

FERAL CONCORD 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.