A note on : An Invisible Poetry : exhibition at Poetry Society

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….so this is pretty great. For the month of July I’ll be presenting a mix of new works made specifically for the Poetry Society Cafe space, including window poems and sculptural pieces, alongside a selection from my five poem brut books. I will also be curating a group show alongside my solo show, as the exhibition space has two floors. Both shows, but especially the group show, will firmly be a part of what I’ve tried to do with Poem Brut as a project - that is to make available ideas and methods of poetry is a way that is liberating and not judgemental to those who perhaps don’t find mess and play so appealing as I.

The Poetry Society, especially Michael Sims, have been hugely generous and supportive, and accommodating, and it bodes well that this summer month can be spent in the space, which is open six days a week, nearly 12 hours a day.

AN INVISIBLE POETRY : JULY 1ST TO JULY 27TH
a new solo show of paint and sculpture poems at The Poetry Society Cafe in Covent Garden 
https://poetrysociety.org.uk/poetry-cafe/exhibitions/future-exhibition/

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The Poetry Society Cafe : July 1st to 27th / 22 Betterton St, London WC2H 9BX
Opening Hours 11am to 10pm everyday bar sunday. www.stevenjfowler.com/invisible

"A visual poem should be visible, yet it seems it’s often not so. In this solo exhibition of new painterly poems, SJ Fowler asks questions so manifest they are almost indiscernible. What is in the shape of a letter and what images do words recall? What is the meaning of colour in poetry, and where went the handwritten word? Where is mess, notation, scrawling and material? Why is composition strange to an art-form that is as visual as it is sonic? An Invisible Poetry presents new sculptural poems and original visual literature alongside a selection from Fowler's Poem Brut project and its accompanying series of publications from Hesterglock Press, Stranger Press, ZimZalla and Penteract Press. These are poems exploring handwriting, abstraction, illustration, pansemia, scribbling and scrawling." 

Special View Performance Event - July 8th 2019 : 7pm doors for 7.30pm start. Free entry. & // This is a split exhibition, as in the basement gallery of the Poetry Society I am curating a group show - The Poet's Brut www.poembrut.com/poetrysociety

The Poet’s Brut : A group show with Chris McCabe, Paul Hawkins, Astra Papachristodoulos, Karen Sandhu, Simon Tyrrell, Imogen Reid, Vilde Torset and Patrick Cosgrove www.poembrut.com/poetrysociety

Brand new works exhibited by seven of the UK's most exciting contemporary poets. Poem Brut project has generated over a dozen events since 2017, alongside multiple exhibitions, workshops, conferences, publications and over 1000 submissions to it’s 3am magazine series. It advocates for an artistic creative writing, a visual literature, a concrete poetry - poetry that embraces colour, the handwritten, the composed, the abstract, the scribbled, the noted, the illustrated. Poem Brut affirms the possibilities of the page, the pen, and the pencil (and the crayon) for the poet in a computer age, and celebrates these ideas in the live realm alongside the two dimensional. This group show evidences a new generation of poets working in old traditions often forgotten or nudged into the realm of modern art. http://www.poembrut.com/exhibitions

Published: an interview with HIPOGLOTE

This was really fun, i had a blast chatting with portuguese sound poetry achivers / activists / investigators tiago swabl and nuno nevers who have been part of the Hipoglote interview series for 87 issues, up to mine. Everytime I get asked to mark my contribution to sound poetry is feels special, as I do feel a sense of great respect for those who created and lead the practise, it's always something on the frontline, and to be a little part of it, and to be recognised as such in europe, means something special

Nuno and Tiago have created a great route in to discussing sonic and sound poetry, with some brilliant conversations in the past. we got on like a house on fire, really a privilege to be part of the project for me, we chatted about loads of stuff, and they seemed to enjoy my notion that sound poetry is what we do the moment we are born and in the last moments before we die

listen in here https://www.mixcloud.com/Hipoglote/87o-hipoglote_2018-06-18_interview_-steven-j-fowler/

EPF2018 #5: European Poetry Festival celebrates Sound & Performance at Iklectic Artlab

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An extraordinary venue and a grand night of innovative live poetry, from the sonic to the electronic to the vocal to the conceptual. Eduard and the team (including Tony the Cat) at IKLECTIK are doing an amazing job and were so hospitable, we really felt like we were in someone’s beautiful living room. The place was nicely full, a good 70 people sat in to watch a real range of works. It was the first time I got to put on poets I’ve admired for years like Rike Scheffler from Berlin, Sergej Timofejev from Riga, and it was great to have back on in London poets like Robert Prosser from Vienna and Kinga Toth from Budapest. Range was the key element here, again, and the works complimented each other. It was a little nubache for me to run all the tech from my laptop while also filming but worth it, this movement of poets across Europe worrying about liveness and sound and time needed to be acknowledged in its own space and place.

See videos of every performance on the night and pictures too at www.europeanpoetryfestival.com/performance

A note on: Worm Wood exhibition : August 3rd to September 3rd

Worm Wood : an exhibition at Kensal Green Cemetery The Dissenter's Gallery
by Tereza Stehlíková and SJ Fowler - August 3rd to September 3rd

391 Ladbroke Grove. London W10 5AA. Entrance via Cemetery door on Ladbroke Grove or Main Gate during opening hours. Viewings by appointment.

An exhibition of found objects, artefacts., paintings, photographs and a new collaborative film from Czech moving-image artist Tereza Stehlikova and writer SJ Fowler which explores the historic, hidden and idiosyncratic in Kensal Green Cemetery, and its connection to disppeared and ever disappearing London. www.stevenjfowler.com/wormwood
 
Special View : Poetry Reading - August Wed 16th : Doors 7pm : Free Entry
www.theenemiesproject.com/dissenterschapel
Held in the beautiful Dissenter's Chapel, nearly twenty London-based poets will read mostly new works responding to Kensal Green Cemetery with Eley Williams, Fabian Peake, Joe Turrent, Michael Zand, Ariadne Radi Cor, Clover Peake, Adriana Diaz-Enciso, Ahsan Akbar, Alex MacDonald, Lavinia Singer, Richard Scott, Jonathan Mann, Giovanna Coppola, an audio installation performance by Pascal O'Loughlin & more.
 
Special View : Performance Night - August Thurs 24th : Doors 7pm : Free Entry
The exhibition's official special view before closing with screenings, interactive tours and performances, featuring new works in response to the place and themes on display from Gareth Evans, Thomas Duggan, Alexander Kell, Tereza Stehlikova, SJ Fowler and more to be announced. 
 
The exhibition is one of many facets of Worm Wood, a collaboration between the artists begun in 2015 and planned as ongoing with the area’s development. Worm Wood has included a summer long residency at Kensal Green Cemetery Dissenter's Chapel, multiple events, a film and publications.

Published: Three new poem bruts in Hotel Magazine

A really brilliant magazine is Hotel, and they've once again generously published some of my new art poems or poem bruts which will form the major output of my work over the next year or so, with a series of events at Rich Mix and four new limited edition books. These three works are taken from the book New Prim. 

http://partisanhotel.co.uk/S-J-Fowler-Poem-Brut-ii

Published: new artpoems in the latest Gorse issue 8

I've said before that I think Gorse to be one of the finest literary journals in the world. I read their impeccably produced issues cover to cover and feel the journal to be edited as beautifully as it made. To have some of my art brut poems, from my upcoming I fear my best work behind me book with Stranger Press in the latest issue is wonderful, not only to share that work, aberrant as it would be to most publications, but also because I knew how beautifully they would present the works. They look amazing on its pages, I couldnt be happier.

You can pick up issue 8 here http://gorse.ie/book/no-8/

A note on : Rauschenberg at Tate Modern, reflections on a fine course

Across five monday evenings in the new year of 2017 I had the chance to lead a course at Tate Modern, after hours, in the Robert Rauschenberg exhibition itself. With a remarkable group of people, ten hours were passed amongst the extraordinary range of artworks that made up this retrospective. All told I spent almost exactly twenty four hours in that space, most often alone or in a small group. I was able to really engage, in a way that is almost impossible in normal circumstance, with the lessons Rauschenberg's lifetime of art practise and general decency had to offer me. And I did feel it was a personal connection, feeling an immense kinship with his prolific and curious mode. 

I've generated an unwieldy volume of notes on his work that I intend to turn into an article or sorts, or a reminder for myself in smoother print, but for now, just fresh from the course's conclusion, I can only reflect on the generous human experience it provided. I must helped with quite some grace by curators Luisa Ulyett and Joseph Kendra, and I will admit at times the unique format of the after-hours adult-ed type format did provide challenges, I believe myself to be too conscious of every individual detail at times, trying to do all things at once, making sure everyone involved is satisfied in all ways, when this not possible and counterintuitive.  However the experience was resonant because of those generous enough to participate, really warm, intelligent, discerning people I had the chance to spend an extended time with, a ten hour conversation. Read more - http://www.stevenjfowler.com/tatemoderncourse

A note on: Aletta Ocean's Alphabet Empire, a book of marks

Aletta Ocean's Alphabet Empire : a book I am working a lot on at the moment, in the studio, with inks and experiments, for publication later in 2017 with Blart Books. AOAE will be one of the triology of poembrut books I release this year, and centred on the pansemic tradition, mark marking, material, sexuality, amoeba's and ... I'm writing essays for each of these three books too, to go in the back, not to explain but to discuss and am revisiting much Michaux and Bataille for AOAE.

A note on: Lightwave, performing with Lithuanian poets in London

If you try to please audiences, uncritically accepting their tastes, it can only mean that you have no respect for them.
 -Andrei Tarkovsky

A memorable night at Free Word centre, bathed in a dirty UV light I had associated with searching for bodily fluids in hotel rooms transformed a literary house meeting hall into a space for real performance literature. I was performing alongside Lithuanian poets Zygimantas Kudirka and Gabriele Labanauskaite and thanks to Zygi's suggestion we themed the evening around the Lightwave, all presenting new live works thanks to an invitation by the Lithuanian Cultural Centre tying into the London Book Fair.

I've known Gabriele for years now, she has always been a peer whose work I find motivating, one of dozens of folk beyond the UK doing the work I think we should be doing on the island, blending heavy skill in theatre, poetry and sound. She has an immense presence too, calm, clear thinking, warm. And Zygimantas was a revelation, having never seen him perform before, he was unique, capitivating, authentic, very funny. He made my improvised speaking performance, which involved rope lights nosed around my neck, flames held under my palm and rambling engagements with the theme of light, seem conventional.

The Free Word was kitted out differently too and there was a sensitive, engaged feeling in the audience. It all emerged from the intent, mindful curation of the Lithuanian Cultural Institute, Rūta Nanartavičiūtė and her colleagues were a joy to work with, with an unusual sense of play and a taste for the contemporary and strange. The intense feeling of post performance energy, of soft relief, was permeated this time with a sense of hoping hospitality had been shown to the visiting poets, and it felt as thought they had shared an evening with myself and others that would be long in the memory.

A note on: the last soundings, performing with the great Phil Minton

An amazing privilege it was to perform an improvised vocal work with Phil Minton last October at Kings Place in London. The video of that work is now public, beautifully shot by Ed Prosser.

For over fifty years Phil Minton has been performing, singing, vocalising around the world. He absolutely has shaped, even defined, free vocalisation and improvised sound poetry since WWII. To get to work with him for the first time, with no prior preparation, no conversation about what we'd do before the performance even, was such an honour, and beautiful / terrifying in equal measure. So important for me to feel I'm crossing over with the greats of previous generations

Published: 3 poem-bruts on Partisan Hotel

Very happy the brilliant Partisan Hotel magazine have published a set of three of my poem-brut artpoems, all taken from my upcoming Stranger Press book 'I fear my best work behind me' due out in the summer. http://partisanhotel.co.uk/S-J-Fowler

From the magazine bio "These works are taken from his trilogy of books in the poem-brut tradition, exploring ready writing materials, the composition of handwriting and mark making and the role of illustration and legibility in determining poetic meaning. The three books are to be published in 2017 and are entitled I fear my best work behind me (Stranger Press), New prim (Hesterglock Press) and Aletta Ocean Empire (Blart Books). A sequence of Fowler’s poems will appear in Hotel #2."

A note on: Visual Art South West - New collection launch in Bristol

http://www.vasw.org.uk/events/the-guide-to-being-bear-aware-a-poetry-collection-by-sj-fowler.php

Arnolfini, 16 Narrow Quay, BS1 4QA / 0117 917 2300 boxoffice@arnolfini.org.uk
http://www.arnolfini.org.uk/whatson/the-guide-to-being-bear-aware-a-poetry-collection-by-sj-fowler

Thursday 06 April 2017 19:00 - 20:00 Opening Hours: 11:00 - 18:00 Booking recommended
The launch of SJ Fowler’s latest poetry collection The Guide to Being Bear Aware from Bristol-based Shearsman Books, featuring performances and readings from Fowler and guest readers John Hall, Holly Corfield Carr, Paul Hawkins, Phil Owen & more to be announced.

"The Guide to Being Bear Aware offers advice for living in a world gone awry. Wry, violent, contemplative, political, intimate and raucous by turns, these are poems that laze on your lap only to get their claws in... Morphing into unfamiliar shapes beneath the watching eye, these refreshing, quizzical, well-traveled poems forge a world entirely their own: they won’t let you go of you easily.” Sarah Howe http://www.stevenjfowler.com/bearaware

 

A note on: Museum of Futures Visual Poetry exhibition

Very happy to be curating this exhibition in Surbiton next month. It brings together colleagues at Kingston University from multiple departments, students, alumnus and local professional poets and artists. 

Opening night, with a camarade reading, is February Thursday 23rd. All info here www.theenemiesproject.com/futures

I'm also still taking submission for the exhibition until February 5th www.theenemiesproject.com/opencallfutures

A note on: a new course at Tate Modern - Inventing Rauschenberg

INVENTING RAUSCHENBERG: THE ARTIST AS ENGINEER 20 FEBRUARY – 20 MARCH 2017 BOOK TICKETS

Over five weeks explore the pioneering art of Robert Rauschenberg with the like-minded artist and poet SJ Fowler - Through talks, discussions and practical writing exercises, participants will follow Robert Rauschenberg’s innovations fundamental to twentieth-century art, while surrounded by his work. Inspired equally by poetry, fiction, theatre, sonic art, visual art, installation and performance, Fowler will also draw from the people and places that inspired Rauschenberg’s remarkable and multidisciplinary practice. http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/course/robert-rauschenberg/inventing-rauschenberg-artist-engineer

Discover Rauschenberg’s use of material, his ground-breaking combines, his engagement with popular and global culture beyond the US, his exploration of collaboration at the Black Mountain College, his work in performance, and his telling use of technology. This course is a chance to trace this pioneering artist’s life and continued reinvention, and to explore in their own work the lessons we can draw from his extraordinary legacy.

A note on: A performance for Jerome Rothenberg

What an immense pleasure this was. To have the chance to celebrate Jerome Rothenberg, his influence on me, and on so many people, it was a beautiful night all told. 

The event was held at Birkbeck College, London, hosted by the Contemporary Poetics Research Centre (www.bbk.ac.uk/cprc) on October 17th 2016. Organised by the centre's director, Dr. Steve Willey.

For my performance I carefully selected poems taken from Rothenberg's 1974 collection Poland/1931 and 1978 collection Seneca Journal and after much deliberation, I interspersed them with my own poems that responded / related to these works as influences. In the live performance, the poems were glued to paper to form two long poems, and then illustrated. Then for the last few minutes, wonderfully, Jerome joined me in the painting.

I had the pleasure to then spend a day with Jerome and his wife Diane in London and really feel inspired and humbled by their extraordinary lifetime of travelling, writing and following a path any of us would be lucky to follow. 

A note on: performing with Phil Minton

An amazing privilege to perform an improvised sound poetry piece with the legendary Phil Minton on October Friday 7th 2016 at Kings Place, London.

For over fifty years Phil Minton has been performing, singing, vocalising around the world. He absolutely has shaped, even defined, free vocalisation and improvised sound poetry since WWII. To get to work with him for the first time, with no prior preparation, no conversation about what we'd do before the performance even, was such an honour, and beautiful / terrifying in equal measure. So important for me to feel I'm crossing over with the greats of previous generations. This was a real landmark for me. There's more pictures like this beautiful pair below by Ed Prosser on www.stevenjfowler.com/soundings

A great night overall too, closing out the Hubbub residency in a sense, with some fine work from James Wilkes, Emma Bennett, Phaedra ensemble and others making it a varied and intense evening of performance.

 

A note on: Rest and Its Discontents exhibition at the Mile End Arts Pavilion

A beautiful job has been done, the exhibition runs until October 31st and is really well worth a visit. Some wonderful and works and installations by some brilliant artists and thinkers. http://hubbubresearch.org/event/rest-discontents/

DATE & TIME 30 September – 30 October 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
VENUE: The Mile End Art Pavilion  Mile End Park, Clinton Road  London, E3 4QY United Kingdom

A note on: Lunalia: a lunar sound project with Maja Jantar

One of the most comprehensive sound collaborations I've ever undertaken. One month of recordings, an entire lunar cycle, Maja Jantar and I exchanged sonic responses to the moon over the summer, including poem, songs, found recordings, mixed for publication. I was the 11th collaborator in Maja’s remarkable series. This was a brilliant, often intense process, another lovely moment in a series of works I’ve had the pleasure to collaborate on with Maja. And as before, I learned an extraordinary amount working with her, with her in my mind as I tried to keep up to the daily recording schedule. I’m proud of the result, it’s extensive, a real record of a time in my life.

All 30 files with adjoining blogs are available http://www.stevenjfowler.com/lunalia

Week One

August 18th: Worm-moon Wormwood Scrubs is a place most in London would associate with its adjacent prison. Outside of London it’s hardly known. It’s where I go to exercise, often at night, especially in the summer. It’s totally dark, surrounded by a belt of light, and the industrial trains entering and exiting Willesden Junction. From the middle of the scrubs I can see the moon, first 2/3 blood moon, and by the end of my exercise, the full red moon. I took the recorder to the middle of the open expanse of grass, empty of people aside from the odd dog walker emerging from the darkness and let my exhausted breathing ebb as I watched up. By complete chance, a genuine coincidence, earlier in the day, someone had said to me that I should watch for the super moon that night, that the celts called it the Dispute Moon, others the Hunger Moon, Corn Moon and Wolf Moon....