A note on: reading at Torriano

This was a really pleasant evening, what I wish readings always were - personal, unpretentious, lots of people I hadn't met before. People listened, chatted without snarkiness, were generous. The people who go to Torriano, given it has been going so long, seem to be local and connected to the space and it's past. I was welcomed by Susan Johns, who has run the Torriano with the late John Rety (whose work is legend https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Rety) since 1982 before meeting old friends like Robert Vas Dias. The readings from the floor were short and sharp, well appreciated as to avoid the oft quag of open mics, and then all the poets gave really engaging recitals, a beneficial contrast between Linda, Lynne and Russell. 

This was what I think will be my last pseudo launch of my new book The Wrestlers and felt fitting, given that I am now a local to the Torriano and intend to return regularly. The night ended with my chewing the ear off of many who had come who lived nearby for decades upon decades and who shared with me a potted history of where I now live. For this alone, this was a memorable, intimate evening

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Published: Hugh the Iron in the Black Market ReView

very happy to have one of my Gates of Paradise poems, part of a series of texts I've written over the years about the history of christianity, this time about the child crusade, published in the Black Market ReView, edited by Luke Thurogood and co, all student led at Edge Hill University.

A great edition, features Robert Hampson, Daniele Pantano and other fine poets http://blackmarketre-view.weebly.com/

A note on: The EVP Sessions & The Black Dinner performance - November 14th 2015

The original EVP tour was a major turning point in my work with performance, being able to tour the UK with really wonderful artists like Hannah Silva and Ross Sutherland, and with the support of Nathan Jones and Tom Chivers (www.stevenjfowler.com/evp) When the opportunity to do a one off commission for the same project, at Shoreditch Town Hall, I had a clear thought to what I might do, melding both my original work for the project with a tradition I've had for three years now, being painted as a skeleton on or around the Mexican Day of the Dead. I first did so in Mexico City and try to do so every year in homage to my friends in Mexico, and because much of my work is about the symbology of death.

For this performance I was really lucky to have the amazingly generous artist and make up artist Amalie Russell paint my face professionally. I had then spent a few days covering a whole banquet of food in black paint and lacquer, and my performance, a fluxus meal of sorts, was to set the table and invite diners to join me. I waited outside the fire exit of the venue on a typically vapid Shoreditch saturday night and felt it appropriate to wait in the rain. The performance was accompanied by a track made in collaboration with the remarkable musician Alexander Kell, who did an incredible job mixing my reading of Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo, one of the authors I had discovered in Mexico.

"Electronic Voice Phenomena returns with a series of electrifying live sessions featuring the very best in hauntology, spoken word, glitch noise and performance. The EVP Sessions takes its inspiration from Konstantin Raudive’s notorious Breakthrough experiments of the 1970s, in which he divined voices-from-beyond in electronic noise. Enter the labyrinthine basement of Shoreditch Town Hall and experience a “mind-boggling”, “perplexingly good” avant-garde cabaret of human, ghostly and machine voices. http://www.electronicvoicephenomena.net/index.php/shoreditch-town-hall-london/"

A note on: OVADA, Brook & Black & a visit to Oxford on November 6th 2015

I was very generously invited to participate in a Symposium on collaboration in Oxford thanks to artists Brook & Black, whose exhibition Arkitektoniske Kramper made collaboration with Christina Bredahl Duelund and Natascha Thiara Rydvald was opening at OVADA. 

Really a beautiful day discovering people's work and listening to insights on the collaborative process. Lovely too to share the stage with longtime collaborator / friend, Tamarin Norwood, and to feel the unity of the scene in Oxford. That, and the hospitality and enthusiasm, was palpable. 

The large scale sculptural exhibition, which closed last week, was quite stunning and what an extraordinary space OVADA is. Do visit / support both the artists and the gallery if in Oxford. More info here. http://www.ovada.org.uk/arkitektoniske-kramper/

Ragnarok published in Long Poem magazine

A magazine I've long admired, the remit of Long Poem is beautifully attended to by Lucy Hamilton and Linda Black, and I am so happy my poem Ragnarok, part of my Viking series, has appeared as the very last poem of this wonderful latest issue. I'm happy too to be in there with some great poets - Geraldine Monk, Claire Trevien, Will Stone, Ian Seed and more.

My poem draws a lot from the work of Pentti Saarikoski, and was something I worked on quite intensely while in Copenhagen last year. It mediates his sense of disjunction and magical contradiction between the banal and the profound by evoking the world's end.

You can order the issue here: http://www.longpoemmagazine.org.uk/page4.htm

Rest is Noise festival - on Thomas Bernhard & the Black Mountain college

A day of two halves. The first, a bite talk, 15 minutes on Thomas Bernhard. It was a failed experiment. I overwrote the content, wanting it to be so good because of the passion I have for Bernhard, and was far too loyal to the text. I was boring. The art of lecturing is a practice I am engaged in learning. You learn more from a 'loss' I suppose. Still annoying to speak so poorly about an author I love so much, and if anyone stayed awake through my monotone the actual content had some moments of insight I hope. / I then went on to chair a panel on the Black Mountain college with Alyce Mahon from Cambridge Uni, and my old friends Tim Atkins and Peter Jaeger. It was a brilliant hour, fluid, insightful and balanced. Each speaker brought information from differing perspectives, and were all very generous with their thoughts. Peter offered real insight into John Cage and Zen, Alyce opened up the history of the school with its creative spark offset by administrative suicide, and Tim told everyone that poets killed the college. The list of alumni or teaching staff is unbelievable - Duncan, Olsen, Williams, Cage, Cunningham, Albers, Twombly, Creeley, de Kooning, Rauschenberg, Dorn. The questions were also very positive, and we ended up talking about the modern state of the education system and how restricted it is, against such a hotbed of radical innovation and collaboration as the BMC. / The rest is noise is an awesome opportunity to open up so many discussions that rarely get such a platform. Next up, Walter Abish and Jack Spicer in November