Published: Selected Scribbling and Scrawling : - ZimZalla

Available to buy here http://www.lulu.com/shop/http://www.lulu.com/shop/sj-fowler/selected-scribbling-and-scrawling/paperback/product-23659470.html

My new asemic writing / art-poetry collection is now available from Zimzalla Press. It contains over 50 works of writing art, pansemic poems, doodles and scrawls, celebrating poetry that harries semantic content and explores the possibilities of the handwritten and illegible. The book contains essays by Tom Jenks and myself, and will be launched on June 6th at National Poetry Library for Poem Brut.

From the publisher "The scrawl or doodle is not a by-product of distraction; it is an active production of the mind when concentration moves downwards in the brain. It is the poetry of the mind’s rearguard, and it is more often a product of writing, pen in hand, than it is a visual art. So why should poetry, the language art, not have held scribbling to its chest? This volume of SJ Fowler’s collected works in the line let loose tradition attempts to return the wandering shapes of letters and words back to the front. Selected from over 1300 works spanning 11 & ½ years and touching upon asemic and pansemic writing, widely varying in tone, density, form and character, this selection of poems shows SJ Fowler’s fundamental impatience and childishness."

a5ae96d2-ea80-4ad8-bd93-d4844e8d17d5.png

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: Asemic Exhibition in Minnesota

Asemic Writing: Offline And In The Gallery: an Asemic Writing exhibit at Minnesota Center for Book Arts opens March 10th and runs till May 28th 2017. Curated by Michael Jacobson http://thenewpostliterate.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/asemic-writing-offline-and-in-gallery.html

Featuring Asemic Writing & Book Art from: Tim Gaze, Rosaire Appel, Luigi Serafini, Carlos M. Luis, Israel F Haros Lopez, Paul A Toth, Alain Satié, Jose Parlá, John M. Bennett, Marco Giovenale, Cecil Touchon, Scott Helmes, Derek Beaulieu, Brion Gysin, Satu Kaikkonen, Cheryl Penn, Raymond Queneau, Logan K. Young, Steve McCaffery, Xu Bing, Geof Huth, Gene Kannenberg Jr., Christopher Skinner, Max Ernst, Timothy Ely, Charles Stein, Gazaliel, Lucinda Sherlock, Volodymyr Bilyk, Catherine M. Bennett, Henri Michaux, Spencer Selby, Jim Leftwich, Louise Tournay, Abdourahamane Diarra, Joe Maneri, Michael Jacobson, Robyn Ellenbogen, Donna Maria De Creeft, Marilyn R Rosenberg, Francesco Aprile, Bill Beamer, Nuno De Matos, Lynn Alexander, Tony Burhouse, Scott Ross, Axel Calatayud,  Henry Denander, Jean-christophe Giacottino, Lin Tarczynski, Tom Cassidy, Ricky Brett, Edward Kulemin, Phil Openshaw, Kerri Pullo, Anneke Baeten, Benji Friedman, Laura Ortiz, John McConnochie, Kimm Kiriako, Sam Roxas Chua, Steven J Fowler, Tatiana Roumelioti, Ekaterina Samigulina & Yuli Ilyshchanska, Nico Vassilakis, the unknown author of  The Voynich Manuscript, all the authors & artists in Asemic Magazine, everyone in John Moore William's asemic issue of The Bleed, & including everyone in Paul A. Toth'sALPHA BET A TEST: The Eye Am Eye Asemic Anthology: Language In The Act of Disappearing.

Published: two works from Aletta Ocean Empire in The New Post Literate

Michael Jacobsen is doing a grand job at his e-journal The New Post Literate in collecting and documenting contemporary explorations of the asemic poetry and abstract writing which is a big interest and concern of mine in practise and especially in my teaching nowadays.

This will culminate in a new book next year with Blart Books, ( http://blartmagazine.jimdo.com/blart-books/ ) entitled Aletta Ocean Empire. It will bring together a series of hand rendered ink and handwritten abstracts and illustrated texts. Two of the early works have now been published.

http://thenewpostliterate.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/3-excerpts-from-forthcoming-book-aletta.html

Beginning the work of Mahu - 25 hours of handwriting into my exhibition novel

A concept that cannot be understood until it is realised. I had three days from exhibition opening to when I arrived back in London from time in Wales. During that time I had three events, including the launch of my book. I spent 25 hours in those three days in the Hardy Tree Gallery, writing the beginning of my novel by hand. I did not plan the content, but I did try and keep it, strictly, narrative (if strange and menacing) and clear. I began by writing on the wall, then I realised this would be a profound waste. So we got scrolls of paper to hang on the wall. Then I wrote on the scrolls. Then after 5 hours and one scroll done, I got deep stress position pains. So I took the other scrolls down and wrote on them while at a desk, pulling the paper slack up as it was needed. 

The story is of a lonely, scholarly farm child called Mahu, living in the countryside of Wiltshire. The townspeople think him strange and he only goes into town to buy supplies for his ailing, if distant mother. His 12 brothers and sisters all have jobs, while he schemes of ways to keep from working so he can keep secretly reading the church histories and occult papers he has stolen in the company of his dog. He meets someone and his priorities shift. She disappears, and he begins to follow her, leaving Devizes for the first time in his life, down the polluted banks of the river Kennet.

Now I'll be writing a wall of the gallery for each week of the run, so by the end, by June 27th, all four walls will be covered and the novel will be finished. The first wall was an experience of chest pain and some agitation, but I have already forgotten that pain and the response from those who have seen it so far has been really pleasing. They say my handwriting is neat.

Mahu: an exhibition at the Hardy Tree Gallery - June 6th to 27th 2015

My first solo exhibition in London will run for three weeks in the Hardy Tree Gallery, in Kings Cross, just behind the British Library.

Mahu is an exhibition of writing - a novel written upon the gallery walls, growing as the exhibition passes. A living book in ink, veering between sense, story and abstraction. The gallery is covered in scrolls of paper, onto which I write, without preparation and entirely within the gallery. As the exhibition passes, so the walls become entirely covered. The text will never be typed, only read, ready to be unfurled.

Mahu remains a novel, in the true sense of that word, employing abstraction as a necessary part of the narrative, a narrative that will evolve as the exhibiting takes place. Ostensibly the story of a man living on a farm in Devizes with his distant mother, hagiographical manuscripts and loyal bulldog, Mahu must leave the only place he has ever known to follow the polluted river Kennet out of Devizes, tracing the clues left by the one human in town who'll tolerate him. A story of menace in small town England, Mahu can be read in cursive from the walls. 

As part of the exhibition, the gallery will host 11 events. Each & every event is free to attend, with doors at 7pm, unless otherwise stated below. The gallery’s address is 119 Pancras Road. London, UK. NW1 1UN www.hardytreegallery.com

Click on the event to visit its specific event page, with details of readers and happenings:

June Saturday 6th: Mahu in Sound - 6.30pm start
A sound poetry choir led by Sharon Gal, following a workshop - a celebration of Daniela Cascella's new book F-M-R-L, with Christian Patracchini, Eleanor Vonne Brown, Georgia Rodger, Helena Hunter, Mark Peter Wright & more. 

June Sunday 7th - Blart Books & Home baked Books
Curated by Stephen Emmerson & Lucy Harvest Clarke, readings from Blart Books authors, Richard Barrett, Cathy Weedon, Marcus Slease & more – Celebrating ten years of MJ Weller's Home Baked Books 

June Tuesday 9th - to Tom Raworth
A host of poets pay their debt to the greatest living British poet by reading selections from his work. Readings from Andrew Spragg, Tim Atkins, John Clegg, Fabian Peake, Philip Terry, Michael Zand & many more. 

June Wednesday 10th - Railtracks 
Curated by Gareth Evans. A complete reading of Anne Michaels & John Berger's collaborative book, read by actors. 11,000 words over an hour. Read by Anamaria Marinca and Tony Grisoni. RSVP required for this event. Please email steven@sjfowlerpoetry to reserve one of the last few places remaining.

June Friday 12th - Test Centre
Curated by Jess Chandler & Will Shutes, featuring Paul Buck's Pressed Curtains tape project. 

June Saturday 13th – Mahu Cinema
Co-curated by Dave Spittle. Screenings of over a dozen filmpoems, the emerging medium of poetry film or cinepoetry, crossing poetic principles with video art. A full program of screenings. 

June Sunday 14th - Mahu Camarade
Pairs of poets collaborate to produce original works of poetry especially for this night. Featuring Sarah Dawson & Lucy Furlong, Clover Peake & Giovanna Coppola, Doug Jones & Matt Martin & more.

June Wednesday 17th - a World without Words II
Co-curated by Lotje Sodderland & Thomas Duggan. A World Without Words is an exploration of language, neuroscience & art. Featuring talks by Harry Man, Malinda McPherson & more

June Thursday 25th - Kakania anthology launch
A celebration of Habsburg Vienna in 21st century London. www.kakania.co.uk Readings from Aki Schilz, David Kelly-Mancaux Emily Berry. Jeff Hilson, Pascal O'Loughlin, Rhys Trimble. Vicky Sparrow, Alison Gibb, Eley Williams & more 

June Friday 26th - Influx press
Curated by Gary Budden and Kit Caless. Influx press & their books explore, in some fashion, the idea of ‘place’. Readings from Paul Hawkins, Clare Sita Fisher & more. 

June Saturday 27th - If P then Q press & Mahu in Paint
If P then Q is a pioneering British press edited by James Davies, readings from Peter Jaeger, Nathan Walker, Chrissy Williams & more. Following the readings a live collective art & poetry collective collaboration.

Crossing Voices - a Venice diary

Crossing Voices is the kind of project I will always want to be a part of. A project that was so resonant to experience, it’s ruined others by comparison and informed me massively on how I want to develop my own stuff. I got to spend nearly a week in Venice, learning from and sharing with 5 brilliant poets, a remarkable curator, working toward genuinely innovative work, in the shadow of a Venetian venice, well away from the Disneyland city I had experienced before. Just a privilege from the first moment to the last. http://crossingvoices.weebly.com/

Crossing Voices is the child of Alessandro Mistrorigo, who is part of the faculty at the University in Venice, and who had connected with James Wilkes in the UK, and being part of the collective Mopha with Jamie, and Emma Bennett, who also attended, I found myself invited to be part of the program. The format had six of us, three Brits and three Italians, spending three days together in the Cultural Flow Zone (!) workplace connected to the library of the University, which was pretty much on the water in Venice, developing six brand new pieces of collaborative work, each led by one of us, and involving the other five of us. These six pieces would be performed back to back at a night in the University.

To make this work was an extraordinary achievement on Alessandro’s part, to choose the right people, to make sure the context of their experience together was conducive to the work, to emphasise the process and shape the direction. It was an amazingly energising experience to be part of, the works were so exploratory and there really was the space to workshop things, take things into new directions, and all of us were together in risking that. Such a rare thing, to have the time and space to really collaborate. The Italian poets were all young, humble, eccentric and authentic – Alessandro Burbank, a gentle bear like presence who would descend on the group as quickly as he would disappear, a true Venetian, who mediated the city for us. Andrea Leonessa, immensely open, intense, technologically considered and genuinely innovative. Ariadne Radi Cor – a poet, but also a live writer, a penwoman, a gentle, visual presence.

We arrived straight into a reading in a gallery on Guidecca, or Judgment Island, getting a full whack of the really interesting local poets, who read with video or music accompaniment, and seemed really open to the more conceptual, avant garde work we were presenting. Emma did a beautiful birdsong performance, and Jamie, his wonderful delayed feedback strokeout work. I did some new performative stuff from Fights, I thought it was a bit naff in the end, punching the air, stuttering, but I wanted to try it. We were introduced to each other through this reading, the group was exposed to each other before we would spend three days in close quarters, in a room, having to trust each other, push each other, before a looming performative deadline.

The first day we shared the concepts we had prepared before the meeting, ideas that were reasoned but not fully formed, and the complimentary nature of the directions we wanted to go in was immediately apparent. I wanted to use the project to try something to do with song, with choral multivocal techniques that use multiplicity to mediate atonality, something Im interested in because I cant sing. I used a lot of musical references to introduce, sacred harp singing, Calabrian fishing work songs, Swans. Emma developed a piece based on repetition, and unfamiliar languages, that evolved live into a brilliant Chinese whispers circle, where we would race around our hexagon, mauling words and phrases as they passed from mouth to mouth. James had brought some amazing visual materials, acetate and inks, and gave us the chance to create collaboration asemic and calligraphic works. These were developed and then read as scores by us in pairs, Cobbing esque, reading abstraction as noise. Andrea designed a program that read his voice, awkwardly, and read into his computer while playing a flight simulator, leaving James, Emma and I to live interpret the bastardised text that would scroll out after he spoke. Ariadne used his full range of skills to actually shoot and edit a beautiful short film over the 3 days, and Alessandro created a really complex psychogeographical live skype performance with Greek chorus accompaniment, half translations, security camera streaming and live google searches. Hard to explain.

The works developed over hours and hours, but over our breakfasts and our evening meals as much as in the workshop. We were treated to local treatment, masses of seafood, black spaghetti, long walks through the city, live translations, Venetian wit and hospitality. The entirety of the experience was genuinely absorbing, and for me, a week back from an equally overwhelming experience in Iraq, in which time I contracted norovirus and was in fever blindness, I felt like everything was somehow more immediate for feeling so ethereal. Venice has that about it, when you can get it without feeling utterly outside. The company of the people made it, channelled so carefully by the gentility and intelligence of James and Alessandro.

I loved the experience of the performance itself, really rare to feel collaboration as truly collective. The audience seemed to feel that, that they were invited to become a further extension of what had become a miniature, fleeting community of artists. The war of it brought us into friendships too, having to balance so many elements creatively and performatively, and to step outside of our normal zones. The final night, like the others, was spent around a food filled table, talking, until late, until we got the boat home. Sad to leave it behind, but I am sure it won’t be the last note of a remarkable thing. I’m very lucky I was a small part of it.