EPF2018 #8: Versopolis at London Bookfair for European Poetry Festival

Entering the belly of the beast I had the pleasure to put together an event for Versopolis, a huge EU funded cross continental poetry platform, as one of the editors of their European Review of Books, Poetry and Culture. At the back of the massive Kensington Olympia, in the subsidy section, the poetry pavilion corner, I introduced Versopolis poets Marius Burokas, Hannah Lowe, Ausra Kaziliunaite and Sasha Dugdale – all writers I’ve worked with before. All poets I admire. A slightly dodgy sound scenario was overcome with notable readings, which forced close attention, and we finished the event with a quick discussion, which was quite insightful and starkly honest. Versopolis also produced a great little publication for the event. Anja Kovac was a great producer to work with too, the whole thing was smooth and it was fortunate to be able to bring the festival inside the bookfair.  www.europeanpoetryfestival.com/versopolis

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A note on: Launching my new book at Arnolfini in Bristol

Another grand launch, the third of four, at the world renowned gallery Arnolfini in Bristol. I read alongside friends and peers Holly Corfield Carr, Paul Hawkins, Matti Spence and John Hall, who is a great influence on my work, and Phil Owen, who is a curator as well as a writer, and was immensely hospitable to us. Shearsman Books and Tony Frazer, the editor, were on site too, being local, and it was a inviting, intellectually agile, open evening with some really fine readings. The weather in Bristol was beautiful, people sat along the dock before the Arnolfini and I had time during the day to really take it in, enjoy my book as an excuse to see friends, leave London and spend time busied with good things

A note on: Lightwave: New Performance in Lithuanian Literature

Wednesday March 15th / 6:30pm doors for 7pm start / Free Word Centre
60 Farringdon Road. EC1R 3GA : Free Entry but online booking requested here

A unique event celebrating Lithuanian’s new generation of literary artists, featuring brand new readings and performances by Gabrielė Labanauskaitė-Diena, Žygimantas Kudirka and SJ Fowler, a British poet connected to their innovative, collaborative practise.

Both Labanauskaite and Kudirka have carved out reputations across Europe for remarkable writing and live performances to match. This is a rare chance in London to witness poets who are breaking ground in the new European scene.

From Lithuania’s powerful lyrical and formal tradition has grown a culture of experimentation and in this event curated for the London Book Fair, the Lithuanian Culture Institute brings to light the best of Lithuania’s new generation of poets and performers.

Speakers Žygimantas Kudirka is a writer, artist and performer of interactive poetry, artificial languages and electronic music. Kudirka’s first poetry collection, XXI a. Kudirka (The Twenty-first Century Kudirka), is made up of interactive verses, literary remixes, internet poetry, and texts of unusual graphic forms and content. He is also a performer of avant-garde rap and one of the pioneers of poetry slam in Lithuania, representing the country in European slam poetry championships. His works have been translated in different languages and part of them can be found online herehere or here. / Gabrielė Labanauskaitė-Diena is a text producer. She combines poetry, drama, essay and other texts with interdisciplinary arts, enjoying her roles as writer, performer and organizer. Gabrielė also appears in classical forms – as a playwright in theatre, lecturer at Lithuanian Music and Theatre Academy, human being in everyday life. Find out more here and here.

A note on: Shifting Ground with J&L Gibbons at Dalston Curve

30 Year Anniversary Event and launching Shifting Ground, a publication - September 22nd 2016: A really wonderful night at Dalston Curve with all the friends, colleagues and members of J&L Gibbons, celebrating three decades of remarkable, innovative, mindful work in shaping the environment of London and beyond. Lovely to work towards this night, where I gave a small contribution with this collective, multivocal reading, through the Shifting Ground publication. A beautiful object, it combines articles, reflections, dialogues, celebrates the past through future work and enterprise, and fortunately for me, contains a suite of my poems. 

Published: Puebla Songs in Boto-Cor-De-Rosa Livros, Brazil

Sarah Rebecca Kersley, a British poet, quite remarkably, has started a bookshop and cafe in Bahia in Brazil with a focus on the contemporary and curation by Brazilian contemporary literature professor and critic Milena Britto, and adjoining the shop, has a beautiful online journal that publishes work in Portuguese, Spanish and English, and fortunately for me, the journal has now published one of my poems - Puebla Songs, part of a series I've written about violence and south america, written from a position of ignorance, but while I was travelling in the region.

Visit the poem here http://www.livrariabotocorderosa.com/index.php/2016/09/15/puebla-songs-sj-fowler/ and submit to the magazine too.

A note on: Gorse publishing Subcritical Tests by Ailbhe Darcy & I in 2017

Wonderful that the hugely respected literary journal, Gorse, has announced it will begin publishing outside of its magazine format in the near future, beginning a press, and even more wonderful, that one of its first few titles, and its first poetry book, will be my collaborative collection, Subcritical tests, written with Ailbhe Darcy. The announcement was made here with an interview by Tristan Foster http://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/interview-with-gorse/

Gorse is a perfect place for our book, the situation could not be more fitting and pleasing, can't help but give Ailbhe and I, wading through the poetry sandpit, renewed energy and optimism. Susan Tomaselli, who founded Gorse, is someone who has helped me from within months of my starting writing, and with Gorse, the respect her erudition and activity has always commanded has been quite properly expanded, which is so gratifying to witness.

Gorse’s poetry editor, Christodoulos Makris, is one of the finest poets, innovators and organisers in Europe. His work has been an influence on my own, and to have the chance to work with him directly as an editor is exciting. These relationships should never be underestimated. And Ailbhe, such a remarkable poet. We met on the Yes But Are We Enemies? tour of 2014, beginning writing then about what we felt was pressing, for various reasons - a potential nuclear holocaust, and for well over a year beyond that brilliant few weeks we had been bonded by writing more and more poems on the same theme together, always in correspondence. We discovered how ubiquitous nuclear testing has become since WWII, how truly close the world has come to nuclear destruction, often from snaffus and clumsiness as much as aggression, and how poetic is the process of naming each one of these bombs. The perfect source material to mulch through. And Ailbhe's mulching, so different than mine, maybe not even a word eater as I am, she's an actual poet - so persuasive in her always exacting, intricate graceful work, that she's pulled me, in this book at least, into being more careful, more fixated, and perhaps, by osmosis, I have done the opposite to her, dragging her into the radioactive mud.

More on this soon, an exciting announcement and in the meantime visit, and buy, Gorse http://gorse.ie/.

Published: The House of Mouse by Prudence Chamberlain & I - Knives Forks & Spoons press: July 2016

To be launched as part of The Poetry School Camarade on July 17th 2016 at Rich Mix &The CapLet 1st year anniversary reading on August 10th at St Margaret's House, both near Bethnal Green.

I'm always interested in collaborating as a form of learning, growing as a poet and a person through the intelligence and idiosyncrasies of my collaborator. This book, and my ongoing collaborative work with Prudence Chamberlain, is a great example of that. These poems are unique for me, drawing me into new ways of writing, and this is such a beautiful book, dotted with new artworks by a variety of visual artists. Hopefully the humour, the intensity and the style will show through to readers too.

From the publisher: "Discursive, playful, obscene and satirical, The House of Mouse is a collection of ten poetic collaborations written by British poets SJ Fowler and Prudence Chamberlain - each responding to a famed cartoon, each uncovering the bizarre overt and covert symbols and signs of these pervasive animations. 
 
Dotted with original illustrations by contemporary artists like Lizzy Stewart and Duncan Marchbank, this unique collaborative collection aims to show that maybe the only thing stranger than corporate cartoon animals is avant-garde poetry."

One of the texts, Bambi, was published by the online poetry journal Country Music, edited by Scott Abels, in March 2016 is available to read below. http://countrymusicpoetry.org/index.php?pr=chamberlain-fowler

2016 so far: Beijing, Buenos Aires, Tractography & more

A rundown of recent publications, programmes, projects and performances from 2016 so far. 

Commission: BBC Radio 3’s The Verb
The Worm in its Core was commissioned as a new poem / performance by Radio 3's The Verb in response to Hearing the Voice - a project which explores, and demystifies auditory verbal hallucinations. www.stevenjfowler.com/theverb

Commission: Forumstadtpark Graz - Glory Hole
Manners Maketh Man was commissioned by the Forumstadtpark in Graz as part of their public art series Glory Hole, projected onto a screen in the city centre.  http://www.stevenjfowler.com/blog/gloryhole

Buenos Aires: Enemigos with El Tercer Lugar
One of the most extraordinary Enemies Projects so far, a week of collaborations and performances in Argentina; new collaborations with Julián López, Anahí Mallol, Camilo Sanchez, Leonce Lupette & Patrick Coyle. http://www.stevenjfowler.com/argentina

Beijing: CCTSS Conference & Festival
A poetry readings held in Beijing to mark the Chinese Culture Translation and Studies Support (CCTSS) global literary conference featuring poets from across the world http://www.stevenjfowler.com/beijing

Tractography, published by Pyramid Editions
A limited edition pamphlet of 50, the first of a new series of poems exploring neuroscience.

Forty Feet, published by Knives Forks & Spoons press
A new collaborative poetry collection written with David Berridge, 40 Feet is a poem in dialogue. 40 poems as 40 moments, 40 fragments, 40 conversation starters / enders. http://www.stevenjfowler.com/40feet

The Night-Time Economy Exhibition in Newport
A new collaborative exhibition in Newport with the photographer Kate Mercer, images & poetry exploring the often fractious energy of Newport's nightlife http://www.theenemiesproject.com/nighttimeeconomy

Lexicon: performance at Marsden Woo Gallery
Responding to the work of artist and sculptor Alida Sayer at the remarkable London gallery Marsden Woo http://www.theenemiesproject.com/lexicon

StAnza Festival
One of the UK's principle poetry festivals, a great week reading, talking, curating and collaborating in St.Andrews http://www.stevenjfowler.com/stanza

Cyprus: The Iskele Poetry Festival
A memorable week in Northern Cyprus reading at the 18th Iskele-Kibatek poetry festival http://www.stevenjfowler.com/iskele

The English PEN Modern Literature Festival
An amazing experience curating nearly 30 authors responding with new works to writers-at-risk supported by English PEN. http://www.theenemiesproject.com/englishpen Including my poems and performance for Khadija Ismayilova and appearing on BBC Azeri world service.

Reykjavik, The Library of Water and Ovinir: Icelandic Enemies
Ambitious Enemies Project collaborations in Iceland, a new self-drowning performance in the Library of Water in Stykkishólmur, and a remarkable London reading to a nearly 200 strong crowd. http://www.stevenjfowler.com/iceland

Kakania at Austrian Cultural Forum
A symposium and six new commissions at the Austrian Cultural Forum – contemporary artists responding to figures of Habsburg Vienna. All performances and my own on the great Robert Musil.

The Essex Book Festival
Great to curate a Camarade with 18 poets and one family performing new works for the day, from the Colchester area & beyond. http://www.theenemiesproject.com/essex Including my collaboration with David Berridge

& new poetry has appeared in Gorse magazinePoetry WalesKarawa (new translations into German), Poems in WhichBlack Market ReviewCountry MusicFor Every Year and Wazogate. Thanks to all the editors. And to everyone who has read this far down. Happy Springtime to you all, Steven

A note on: The Essex Book Festival - Sunday March 20th 2016

About as nice a way as one can spend a Sunday. I had the pleasure, thanks to the generosity of Philip Terry, Ros Green, Jo Nancarrow, those behind the Essex Book Festival and University of Essex, to curate a Camarade event for the festival. I had the chance to bring poets from London and Manchester to Colchester, but also draw on lots of local talent. In the end, the works were held in an amazing venue, a huge auditorium in the Firstsite Gallery, and the performances were really distinct and interesting, all very complimentary, a range of voices and styles. 

It was especially satisfying to see so many poets discover new poets, and to reconnect to those who live in Essex whose work I admire so much like Townley and Bradby, who I had the pleasure to work with in a performance in 2015, who did a brilliant performance with their family, and Isabella Martin, Vicki Weitz, Justin Hopper, Lucy Greeves and many others. All the performances are available here www.theenemiesproject.com/essex

A note on: The StAnza Poetry Festival 2016 - Diary & Documention

StAnza is one of the UK’s principal poetry festivals, respected around the world, and drawing in a really admirable range of poets and events and audiences. I was very pleased then, having had many friends attend and perform, to be part of the festival in 2016, and could not have been better treated or had a better time sharing my work through readings, performances, discussions and workshops. 

I have a page that explains my participation with a Festival Diary, pictures and videos:
www.stevenjfowler.com/stanza

Published: Revolve:R edition 2

Such a wonderful project curated by Ricarda Vidal and Sam Treadaway, Revolve:R is a multidisciplinary collaborative prorgramme based on visual correspondence, which explores a transmission of ideas, through a host of artists and a few poets. It's an exploration of collaboration, translation and transition of ideas and inspirations.

I got to write 3 new poems for the 2nd edition of the project, each responding to a new revolution of artworks, which has been published in a really beautiful hardback book, and has recently been shared at multiple galleries including the Fruitmarket in Edinburgh. http://revolve-r.com/index.php/edition-two/ You can read my poems in the book and buy it online.

A note on: Upcoming performances & events in March and April

March 3rd: Praxis at Parasol Unit, London
Performing a new work responding to Julian Charriere's amazing exhibition, alongside Maja Jantar, Sharon Gal, Simon Pomery and others. http://parasol-unit.org/poetry-innovations-praxis

March 5th & 6th: Stanza Festival, St.Andrews, Scotland
On a panel exploring poetry and the body, responding to a film about bp nichol, and leading a workshop about collaboration, alongside two performances. http://stanzapoetry.org/festival/poets-artists/fowler

March 18th: Soundings IV with Tamarin Norwood
A performance work for video, situated in Wellcome Library itself, responding to materials given by the librarians for the artist Tamarin Norwood and I to respond to. http://www.stevenjfowler.com/soundings

March 20th: The Essex Book Festival, First site Gallery, Colchester
Curating a Camarade with 10 pairs of poets for the festival, and reading with David Berridge, to launch our book, 40 feet, from Knives forks and spoons press. http://www.theenemiesproject.com/essex

March 24th to 26th: The Iskele Kibatek International Poetry Festival in Cyprus
Part of the 7th Annual Iskele Municipality Culture and Art Days, this festival sees poets from around Europe present their work, including Nurduran Duman and Jennifer Williams.

March 31st: Kakania returns at Austrian Cultural Forum, London
Kakania in London once again, with new commissions in the evening and a symposium of new presentations in the day. New work from Steve Beresford, Diane Silverthorne, Declan Ryan & more. http://www.theenemiesproject.com/kakania2016

April 2nd: The English PEN Modern Literature Festival - Rich Mix, London
30 English writers celebrate 30 writers at risk currently supported by English PEN with brand new works of literature. 2pm til late, all over one day. http://www.theenemiesproject.com/englishpen

April 6th: The Night-time Economy Exhibition opening - The Riverfront, Newport, Wales
A new exhibition between myself and the photographer Kate Mercer, poetry and photography exploring the fractious energy of Newport's nightlife. http://www.theenemiesproject.com/nighttimeeconomy

April 23rd: The University Camarade
Curating a Camarade which pairs 20 students from creative writing departments of 5 different universities to create 10 new works in pairs. http://www.theenemiesproject.com/unicamarade

Published: 2 limited editions released in March: Tractography (Pyramid Editions) & 40 Feet (Knives Forks & Spoons press)

Very pleased to see two new publications emerge in March. 

Tractography is the first of a new series of poems, called Neurocantos, and is launched in a boutique limited edition by Pyramid Editions, edited by Owen Vince. The poem is partially built from the words of a paper by the neuroscientist Daniel Margulies. http://pyramideditions.co.uk/

40 Feet, written with David Berridge is to be launched at the Essex Book Festival Camarade, on March 20th 2016, 40 Feet is published by Knives Forks and Spoons press. http://knivesforksandspoonspress.co.uk/ 

40 Feet is a poem in dialogue. 40 poems as 40 moments, 40 fragments, 40 conversation starters / enders. It is a poem deliberately broken, misheard, overheard and overlapping. It is a record of meeting, writing, witnessing; mulching and reflecting London in 2013, where both poets lived and frequently met. 40 Feet is the events of that time and the character of that place, fixed in the subjective, the miniature, the specific - through an open-ended poetics of expression and conversation. 

An excerpt featured in Enemies: the selected collaborations of SJ Fowler (2013) and is now published in it's entirety by Knives, Forks & Spoons press. And you can read more about David's work herehttp://verysmallkitchen.com/ 

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eating a book for Enemigos: performing with the video Amanda de la Garza

A series of adaptations were required to complete this collaboration, one taking place on the first night of the London Bookfair, for an event I was hosting & curating, with Amanda de la Garza. In the end, the evening was genuinely beautiful, easy to put together, and the performance between a video Amanda & I was really resonant (to me, I wouldn't presume further than that.)

The British Council have been a great partner on this event, providing lots of support and the presence of the brilliant Carmen Buellosa, and I had some time at the bohemyth bookfair in the day before the evening, where I reconnected with lots of friends I met on my two visits to perform in Mexico. It was during that afternoon, strolling in the Olympia, that I received Amanda's video, and then, with crippling audio problems, at great speed, I rushed home and we hashed out a deliberately unsynched audio reading track which had pauses for me to read in, around her words, and then I came up with some actions, reflecting her own performance in the video, when the audience could see her extraordinary visage, looming large. I bit pages from the Enemigos anthology and crawled on the stage. The final result was gentle, unsettled and singular, I think. I was very pleased.

The evening gave life once again into what has been one of the most exciting Enemies projects, and to see Rocio Ceron, Holly Pester, Adriana Enciso, Fabian Peake, Nell Leyshon, all shine so cohesively, with such clear relationships emanating from the collaborations was satisfying. I can vaguely relax for the rest of the bookfair now, cold selling my cupcakes to the massive trade delegations who also feed on books.

You can see all the Enemigos videos here : www.theenemiesproject.com/enemigos

Enemigos - April 14th at the rich mix for the London Book Fair

Enemigos at the London Bookfair - April Tuesday 14th 2015 at the Rich Mix Arts Centre
ww.theenemiesproject.com/enemigos / @enemiesproject

Held in the Main Space - Free Entry - 7.30pm doors for an 8pm start.
http://www.richmix.org.uk/whats-on/event/enemigos-poetry-from-london-to-mexico-city/

Join a host of Mexican poets and writers on the first night of the London Bookfair as they collaborate and exchange with their British counterparts in an original evening of literature, read and discussed as part of the Enemies project. Each of the four pairs of writers will present a unique collaboration, varying from art performance, translation, dialogue and discussion. It will be an evening of poetry and literature that is as original in content as it is in form.

Carmen Buellosa & Nell Leyshon
Rocio Ceron & Holly Pester
Fabian Peake & Adriana Diaz Enciso
SJ Fowler & Amanda de la Garza

Enemigos 2015 will also serve as the launch of the Enemigos anthology in the UK. This beautiful anthology of radical translation features new work from 16 poets who have worked in pairs to translate each other's work in aberrant and inventive ways. Available outside of Mexico for the first time, the anthology contains new work from:

Tom Raworth & Rodolfo Mata / Carol Watts & Enzia Verducchi / David Berridge & Alberto Blanco / Tim Atkins & Gaspar Orozco / Jeff Hilson & Pura Lopez Colome / Tom Chivers & Ana Franco / SJ Fowler & Amanda de la Garza / Holly Pester &  Rocio Ceron

Thanks to the British Council, Conaculta and the London Bookfair. More information on the 2015 Mexico market focus can be found here :http://literature.britishcouncil.org/projects/2015/the-london-book-fair-2015

Coming up for the Enemies project in 2015:
Feinde: Austrian Enemies – May 1st to 14th
a World without Words – May 6th
Unesco European Literature Night Edinburgh – May 14th
Gelynion: Enemies Cymru – May 19th to 29th
Mahu: an exhibition – June 6th to 27th
Enemies: a Berlin camarade – June 23rd

reading at Clare Saponia's launch - April 10th at the Poetry Cafe

I was very pleased to be asked to be one of many reading works from Clare Saponia's new book The Oranges of Revolution (Smokestack Books) 

It's launched Friday 10th April at The Poetry Café, 22 Betterton Street, London, WC2H 9BX. Doors open 7.30pm/ Kick-off 8pm. £3 on the door. 

http://smokestack-books.co.uk/book.php?book=106

Below Ground: a book with J&L Gibbons selected for On Landscape project at Materia Gallery

So pleased to be associated with the amazing landscape architects J&L Gibbons and to be a part of their beautifully produced Below Ground publication was a lovely thing, with my poems on Soil. 

Now to find out that work has been selected for the On Landscape exhibition at the Materia gallery, is a grand and unexpected development. http://www.materiagallery.com/

"Matèria is proud to announce the results of the On Landscape #2 book call. On behalf of the judging panel we would like to thank all the participants; the response and quality of submitted work has been exceptional. After careful deliberation the judges selected 44 books that will be exhibited at Matèria alongside work by Dafna TalmorEmma WieslanderMinna Kantonen and Marco Strappato."

London Art Book Fair - reading for Akerman Daly

Poetry reading at London Art Book Fair


Sunday 28 September, 3pm - 4pm, Gallery 8
Free, no booking required.
 
Akerman Daly presents performative readings by a selection of artists from the poetry of Fabian Peake. Peake and guest artists Phyllida BarlowFiona BannerClover Peake, Steven J. Fowler, Jess Flood-Paddock, Maria Zahle, Giovanna Coppola will read from his new collection Loose Monk.

Akerman Daly will be at the London Art Book Fair 26–28 September 2014. Preview 25 September 6–9pm. 
http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/shop/product/category_id/218/product_id/2091

performing the striking of light & sound for Syndrome: Liverpool

http://www.syn-dro.me/syndrome-2-1-choros-21st-24th-august/ Such a privilege to work with Nathan Jones again on his remarkable Syndrome project in Liverpool, and creating a piece of work which will be one of the most innovative and intensive pieces of performance art that I've ever undertaken. Again it calls back to my martial arts practise, but this time, in collaboration with two remarkable technologists, the performance of shadow boxing, or kata, is in a light and sound receptive cell, a space in which every move I undertake is responded to, not only in colour and light, but in sound, both specific to the space into which I move and to the depth also. It is complex, better seen than explained, and I'm lucky to have a small residency with Syndrome with which to develop it before the big performance on Thursday August 21st, at 5.30pm at Kitchen 24. 

Syndrome 2.1: Choros // 21st – 24th AUGUST

A room-as-instrument devised by artist Jamie Gledhill with sound artist Stefan Kazassoglou, using an array of computers attached to X-box Kinect devices. This project brings together popularly available motion capture technology with 3D audio set up into a unique experiential and performative artwork.
The work will allow for the dynamics and speed of a users movement within the space form a live illustrative mapping on the walls, and for sound to be literally ‘thrown’ across the 3D space by a performer – and members of the public as active participators in their own performative moment with the work.
The CHOROS installation will be open for playing and viewing from 10 – 4pm on 22nd – 24th August. Entering the space, the movements of your limbs will be traced by light and sound across a 3D axis using projections and an ambisonic speaker array. Entry is free for all, and suitable for all ages.
A launch event will feature a brand new movement work by SJ Fowler in which he explores the ritual and violence of martial arts:
The Book of Five Rings by SJ FOWLER
The Book of Five Rings is an unforgettable exploration of physicality and martial spirituality through cutting edge avant garde theatre and performance. And while each Ring will be decidedly different, each a unique, responsive production to its subject, as a whole, they will form an unforgettable tale of a universal human expression, battle without violence, war without war.
no. 1: Pugilistica UK / US (western boxing)
A conceptual performance exploring the sport of Boxing. SJ Fowler takes the audience through a boxing workout with a different, shadow boxing with a complex, cutting edge technological rig, so that each movement has a responsive light and sound reaction. An exhausting, explosive performance of light and sound
The work will then be available to view from 21st – 24th August.
Booking recommended and encouraged for groups.

P.O.W. poetry poster art celebration reading

Held at the Juggler in Hoxton, supported by the Bookart Bookshop and curated by the lovely Sophie Herxheimer, this was a really intimate, warm and enjoyable reading, a celebration of the brilliant work of Antonio Claudio Carvalho and this unique concrete poetry series that he has published. Good to meet some really brilliant poets too, like Robert Vas Dias and Victoria Bean. & I got to read with Chris McCabe, with some heavy male bond swaying.