A note on: Launching Fights 2nd edition for Pugilistica at Apiary Studios

There are occasional nights when the feeling one might be seeking in writing and reading and organising comes together into one satisfying whole. This is one of the most distinct experiences of satisfaction I've had in sometime, in no small part because I was surrounded by many of my most generous friends but also because some of the most extraordinary boxing writers contributed and seemed genuinely enthused by the mixing of modes and forms towards the same goal - that is the celebration of the sport of boxing, in all its paradoxes and contradictions.

Veer books did a great job with the 2nd edition of Fights, it's a far better book, slimmer and more powerful. Every speaker (you can see all their readings by following the link below) presented fantastic work, from fiction to journalism, poetry to art history. Everyone enjoyed the others contributions, in the contrast, in the varied specialisms, so the strength of each art came to the fore. I'm sure this won't be the last event celebrating boxing that we'll do. All the videos are here www.theenemiesproject.com/pugilistica

And the new book is available here http://www.veerbooks.com/filter/veer-books/SJ-Fowler-fights-2nd-edition and my new webpage dedicated to it: www.stevenjfowlers.com/fights

FIGHTS: a book of boxing poetry

Fights, published by Veer Books, is a book of modernist and experimental poems, broken into cycles, each celebrating / reflecting on the life of a 20th century boxer, from Jack Dempsey to Antonio Margarito, from Yuriorkis Gamboa to Edwin Valero. 

Originally published in 2011, a new 2nd edition, extensively revised and featuring an introductory essay, remarking on the changing nature of the sport of boxing, in light of studios into brain injury in the sport and on the changing fate of the boxers featured within, was published nearly five years from original publication, in October 2015.

Each cycle within Fights uses a methodology that somehow represents the character of the boxer in question. The book employs a significant use of concrete poetry, collage, sound poetry, typographical experimentation and found text.

Fights was launched at Birkbeck college, University of London, in 2011, alongside new readings and talks from Kasia Boddy, Lynda Nead, Patrick Coyle and Tim Atkins. In it's second edition, Fights was launched at Apiary Studios in November 2015 alongside new readings and talks from Don McRae, Sarah Victoria Turner, Oliver Goldstein, Anna Whitwham and others.

  • New functions for the jaw. Poetic histories from all possible angles, and then some. Its about time boxing - the basis of all sport - was understood from the viewpoint of the poetic mind. Slam it into your mouth and read it out LOUD. Sean Bonney
     
  • ‘... a new beginning and one that is so much the swiftest, the widest, balanced. One hesitates to use the word pure, but’ A dazzling, visceral, proficient, kinetic work. Fights runs its combinations in formal excitement and trenchgut force.                                                                                           Maggie O’Sullivan

Drawing Breath: an installation at St John, Bethnal Green

Very happy to be a part of drawing breath, an installation which explores representations and interpretations of 'Air' in the belfry and gallery at St John on Bethnal Green, London E2 9PA

EVENTS
Thursday 7th May    6.30 - 9pm Opening event - pay bar.    (First Thursday
Saturday 16th May  6.30 - 9pm Closing event - pay bar  7.15 - Dance performance  7.45 Jenny Chamarette 'in conversation' 
Open:  May 8th, 9th,10th, 14th, 15th  1-5pm 

'Elemental Dialogues - Air' is a practice-led research project. It explores what happens when the short film Air is handed over to a network of poets /writers, sound artists/musicians, and scholars, with the original soundtrack removed. Each contributor then produces an interpretation of Air, through their own diverse practice. These interpretations are then re-embedded into the film, creating new, pluridisciplinary artworks, each of which tells a different and sometimes radically unexpected story.

Contributing writers and composers: Briony Bennet, Tami Haaland, Joan McGavin, SJ Fowler, Owen Lowery, Kate Koning, Brian Evans-Jones, Marcus Slease, Angela Rawlings, Sachiko Murakami, Steve Kemper, Abby Wollston, Tara Stuckey, Howard Moody, Jan Hendrickse, Sebastiane Hegarty, Aaron D'Sa, Deepak Venkateshvaran, Howard Moody, Stephen Emmerson

visit www.talkthinkmake.wordpress.com for information about the project and the artists. www.annacady.com www.elementaldialogues.co.uk

Kakania at the Freud Museum - January 22nd 2015

A more beautiful, more fitting setting could not be found for Kakania than the house of Sigmund Freud during his last days in London, now a museum. The Freud Museum showed us the same generosity so many have around the Kakania project and we were allowed to commission five new works, each by a contemporary artist, each taking place in a different room of the house. It's very rare to be able to present works in such a rarified space, one curated so carefully, but also one that maintains a fluency that would us to walk nearly 60 people from room to room on a tour of performances.


We began with Emily Berry reading beautiful new poems appropriated from Sigmund Freud's beautiful correspondence before moving onto Tom Jenks new conceptual work on Otto Gross, read in the exhibition room, Eros around him. We then moved into Anna Freud's study, where the remarkable performance artist Esther Strauss was asleep on Anna's original couch. Esther had stayed up for a whole day to make herself tired enough to sleep, to dream in Anna's room. It was a mesmerising and unforgettable performance. We then moved downstairs where Dylan Nyoukis resurrected Raoul Hausmann in the dining room before Jeff Hilson finished the event, reading his Wittgenstein poems in the landing. 

A major highlight for me, as the first Kakania had been, as a curator. To be able to work with such a calibre of artists, thanks to the Austrian Cultural Forum's generosity, and to launch our two new original Kakania publications too, it was a satisfying feeling. I've long wanted to perform or organise in the Freud Museum also in fact it was a motivation for me to develop Kakania to work in that space, having had a long relationship with Freud's text. In the light of these artists works, the museum became something new to me, and Im sure the audience too felt this was a special evening.

Thanks to Lili Spain for all her support. Pictures below by Wanda O'Connor.


my summer reading on 3am magazine

http://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/summer-reading-steven-j-fowler/ 

summer reading: steven j. fowler

By Steven J. Fowler, Poetry Editor
@stevenjfowler
Poetry:
Stephen Emmerson’s Comfortable Knives
Colin Herd’s Glovebox
Tim Allen’s Tattered by Magnets
James Davies’s Two Fat Boys
Kristiina Ehin’s Walker on Water
Tom Jenks’s On Liberty, Repressed and Crabtree
Anna McKerrow’s Regressive Poetics
Tom Chivers’s Flood Drain
Chris McCabe’s in the catacombs 

Essays 
Tom Chivers & Martin Kratz’s Mount London 
Fiction
Tomaz Gonzalez’s In the Beginning was the Sea

Translation Games workshop for TCCE conference

I had a really fun afternoon at the TCCE conference in the swanky Guildhall building next to the Barbican doing a seminar with the brilliant Ricarda Vidal for the Translation games project http://translationgames.net/?page_id=346 (click the link to see loads of great pictures of the day and the work that was written)

I was a wee bit ill and wonky, though that tends to make me more relaxed and so far more palatable, but the whole of the day seemed so positive and open that it always seemed like itd be a success. This conference is for creative professionals to share ideas, to try new projects, to network, in the best way, and we had a nice group that Ricarda led through the concepts around cross medium translation before they actually had a go at rendering Anna Cady's film back into the poetry from whence it came. I was really positively surprised with the openness of the participants and thought Ricarda did an amazing job. Such a lovely thing to continue my work with Translation Games, long may that grow.

Translation Games at the Poetry Library

From the moment I came into contact with Translation Games, through the unusually considered and energetic work of Ricarda Vidal and Jenny Chamarette, I knew it was the kind of project I wanted to be involved in. The kinship it has with what Im trying to do with the Enemies project goes beyond the similar contextual concerns into the very culture of the project, it's openness, it's direction, it's appreciation of complexity. translationgames.net
ALL IS CIRCULAR, LIKE THE SUN. AND ALL BURNS US, EVENTUALLY.
I came into Translation Games at the beginning of it's second phase, as Ricarda and Jenny were expanding the scope of the program and working towards an event, which happened just a few days ago, at the Poetry Library, as part of their special edition series. The process involved 3 artists translating a selection of concrete poems from Antonio Claudio Carvalho's amazing POW series, into their own mediums. They had just a week to do so, and the results were unveiled at the event, with a general presentation of the project and its aims, as I sat in the dark, at the back of audience, live translating the translations and the general goings on.
THE NEEDLE THAT BOWS THE MUSCLES BEFORE IT PIERCES.
There was a Q&A after the works were presented too, where I got to share the stage with Ricarda, and with two of the artists involved, the film maker Anna Cady and the artist Sam Treadaway. Both their work really was a joy to witness, and being so familiar with the POW series, I felt I had an inside track to the roots of their process. Anna's ethereal filmwork highlighted the potential of realising certain paradoxes about death and expiry which cannot be attained in formal language, and Sam's transforming of Simon Barraclough's sun poetry into scent was breathtaking. Sam handed tiny discs to the audience, which were miniaturised renditions of the poem and were infused with the scent of leather, oranges, cedarwood...it was remarkable. You can, and should, read more about it on the translation games website.
7 MINUTES OF LENGTH
IS LOOPED
CUT
LIKE FILM
So much came out of the discussion and the work, but perhaps pivotally for me, I was really forced to consider the lines between translating and collaborating, and how intention defines the difference between these ambiguous concepts when they are deployed as I deploy them, which is, hopefully, a test to traditional boundaries. The live writing was a pleasure, because the event was a pleasure, and I tried to inculcate a meta-dialogue (humorous, I hope) alongside actual expressionistic poetic response. The words, as I was spilling them out, appeared on a screen so the audience could read as the event unfolded. The entire live writing text has been published online and if you liked the excerpts here, you can read it allll http://translationgames.net/?page_id=295