A note on: The European Camarade & collaborating with Endre Ruset

All but 2 pairs had never met each other before the night itself. From the 18 poets participating, travelling in from 12 nations across the continent, virtually none had established friendships. Yet, by the end of the night, a night that went on long after I went home, it was clear that a community had been made and relationships which would last years had begun. I can't emphasise enough how the collaborative creative act and the diffusion of energy away from the singular, representative, pre-written poetry, creates closeness and community and energy and openness. Quite amazing to witness on this night, almost the perfect evidence for what I spend quite a lot of my time talking about, theorising behind the Enemies project. The most gratifying thing was the poets themselves feeling they had had a generous and memorable experience, one where they were treated with hospitality and due respect. For me it was a great privilege to see so many friends,  Christodoulos Makris, Gabriele Labanauskaite, Christoph Szalay, Valgerður Þóroddsdóttir, Ville Hytonen and co, whom I had only known before in their countries, or during a festival. And to meet so many new poets. Every collaboration was distinct and dynamic in it's own way and many remarked it was the best Camarade they'd been to. All the videos are here: http://www.theenemiesproject.com/europeancamarade

And working with Endre Ruset, a friend for many years now, was wonderful. We had written a poem with ascending lines corresponding to the Fibonacci sequence, and then planted lines with other poets in the audience, so as our collaboration grew in number, so the number of voices would multiply too, and become intermittently choral. 

It capped a great run for me with events and performances, each one has been a special experience and motivating to keep on, keep curating and creating together. And keep travelling, extending reach and asking poets from all over the world to visit us in London.

European Literature Night Edinburgh videos

More to come from the various and ambitious readings that took place across the city of Edinburgh on May 14th, but a good selection can be found here http://www.theenemiesproject.com/eln 

Including Colin Herd & I's launch of the collaboration poetry book celebrating the life of Oskar Kokoschka - Oberwildling. 

European Literature Night: Edinburgh – May 14th: the full whack

European Literature Night 2015 will be a unique evening of live contemporary literature in Edinburgh, with over 30 poets performing at five events, from a dozen European nations, all on one night. www.theenemiesproject.com/el

Part of the continent-wide European Literature Night program, held in 75 cities during mid-May, and supported by the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature trust, our program brings together some of the most forceful European avant-garde, literary and sound poets, to share their work, to read alongside and to collaborate with a swathe of Edinburgh’s equally brilliant poetry scene.

Four simultaneous events take place in the early evening of Thursday May 14th, around 6pm, with solo readings, before all poets and audiences will congregate at Summerhall for the epic finale of the night, with 11 pairs of poets presenting brand new Camarade collaborations, starting around 8pm

Every event is free of charge, so join us at The Fruitmarket Gallery, The Saltire Society, The Sutton Gallery and The Forest before seeing the night in at Summerhall, with poets from France, Spain, Iceland, Austria, Germany, Sweden and of course, Scotland. 


European Literature Camarade! Summerhall - 8pm doors for an 8.30pm start - Free entry. In the Demonstration room http://www.summerhall.co.uk/2015/unesco-european-literature-night-edinburgh/ 

Following the amazing success of the Auld Enemies project in Summerhall in 2014, we return to the Demonstration room for the grand finale of this ambitious evening. Brand new collaborative work will be presented by pairs of poets from across the continent. Featuring:

Colin Herd & Iain Morrison
Ryan Van Winkle & Calum Rodger
Graeme Smith & Andres Anwandter
nick-e melville & Anne Laure Coxam
Valgerður Þórodds & Katy Hastie
Esther Strauss & Ann Cotten
SJ Fowler & Jorg Piringer
Max Hofler & Robert Herbert McClean
Eduard Escoffet & Martin Bakero

JL Williams & Jessica Johannesson Gaitán 

The Saltire Society Caesura on Sound poetry: supported by the Scottish Poetry Library
6pm - Free Entry https://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/connect/events/caesura-31-spl-saltire-society Enjoy some of Europe's most dynamic and pioneering sound poets, coming together for one night to present their innovative musique concrete, from Paris, Barcelona and Vienna. Featuring Eduard Escoffet (Barcelona), Martin Bakero (Paris) Jorg Piringer (Vienna) & curated by Graeme Smith (Edinburgh) as part of the Caesura series. 

The Sutton gallery on 20th century art:
6pm - Free entry http://www.thesuttongallery.com Join us for performance art from Esther Strauss (Vienna), readings from Tomasz Mielcarek (Poland), Robert Herbert McClean (Belfast), and the launch of Colin Herd & SJ Fowler's collaborative book Oberwildling: on the life of Oskar Kokoscka, published by the Austrian Cultural Forum all in the environs of one of Edinburgh's most beautiful galleries.

The Fruitmarket Gallery on Possibilities of the Object:
6pm - Free entry http://www.cityofliterature.com/event/european-literature-night-fruitmarket-gallery/ 
At one of Edinburgh's cultural hubs, The Fruitmarket Gallery, hear readings from Valgerður Þórodds (Reykjavik), Max Hofler (Graz), nick-e melville (Edinburgh), Jean-François Krebs (Paris/Edinburgh) and Iain Morrison (Edinburgh), all responding to the exhibition on display. 

The Forest Café on Activism / Craftivism
6pm - Free entry http://www.cityofliterature.com/event/european-literature-night-the-forest-on-activism-craftivism/ At an Edinburgh staple, join Ryan Van Winkle and other Scottish poets, alongside Austrian Ann Cotten, for readings on the theme of activism. Featuring Thomas MacColl, Ed Smith, Rachel McCrum & Ryan Van Winkle (Edinburgh), Katy Hastie & Calum Rodger (Glasgow) & Ann Cotten (Berlin) 

European Literature Night is supported by Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust, the Austrian Cultural Forum, the Polish Cultural Institute, the Scottish Poetry Library & many others.


Poetry at Little Sparta - May 15th 2015 

"Set in the Pentland Hills near Edinburgh, Little Sparta is Ian Hamilton Finlay’s greatest work of art. Imbued with a high idea content, the garden is created from the artistic fusion of poetic and sculptural elements with those of the natural landscape which is shaped and changed to become an inherent part of the concepts realised at Little Sparta.” http://www.littlesparta.org.uk 

The day following European Literature Night, we will be presenting this unique poetry event at Little Sparta. The performances will begin at 2.30pm and finish 4.30pm, taking the form of a series of short readings given as a tour of the gardens. This will be a unique mini-festival poetry celebration of one of the most extraordinary landscapes in Britain with an amazing array of contemporary European poets.

Readings & acoustic sound performances from Andres Andwandtner, Martin Bakero, Eduard Escoffet, Graeme Smith, Calum Rodger, Ryan Van Winkle, SJ Fowler, Colin Herd, Iain Morrison, Esther Strauss, Katy Hastie, Robert Herbert McClean, nick-e melville, Valgerður Þórodds & more.

Please note entrance to the garden is £10 and if you can't make your own way, you can join the poets on a pre-booked coach to the location by emailing me at steven@sjfowlerpoetry.com. The coach will meet at 1pm in Edinburgh city centre, at Waterloo place, and depart Little Sparta at 5pm. All are welcome. Thanks to the Little Sparta Trust, Calum Gardner & Graeme Smith.

a new reveiew of the Rottweiler's guide ... by Colin Lee Marshall on Intercapillary Spaces

http://intercapillaryspace.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/sj-fowlers-rottweilers-guide-to-dog.html

 

But it is more typically through modifications to language itself that Fowler unsettles the act of easy assumption. At the end of the poem ‘Scent’  (via the rendering of a hairdresser’s comment, only partially overheard) the modifications are orthographical:

[…] “…exicans have been decapitating
peeple for thousands of years
it doesn’t mean there,
what it means here.”

The aphaeresis of “…exicans” is a sly lexical analogue to the decapitations to which the text refers—assuming, of course, that we take “…exicans” to be an aphaeretic rendering of “Mexicans”. Irrespective of whether we make this readerly decision, and supply the missing ‘M’, the sense of violence, of complicity in what things “mean”, and of ultimate detachment from what they are is insurmountable. This is further reinforced by the fact that “peeple" are being decapitated, and not ‘people’. ‘Peeple’ and ‘people’ are homophones (what looks like it should be a diphthong in the standard spelling isn’t) and as such, whoever overheard the hairdresser’s words would not have been able to infer any orthographical difference by sound alone. Contextually, the subtle de-anthropomorphic tweak makes perfect sense, given the implication that the value of human life is lower in the culture in question than it is in the “here” of the utterance; but the homophony preserves the problem of whether we are to read this as satire, or as a straight-faced semantic downgrade—a problem compounded by the ambiguity as to whether these are words cognized as heard, words cognized as (vicariously) spoken, or words that have been tinkered with at the extradiegetic level. Regardless, the text aims deliberately to upset the facile imputation of the spoken words—and perhaps, by extension, any facile imputations that we might be tempted to make upon reading it.

 

considering Kakania before the IV at the Austrian Cultural Forum

http://www.acflondon.org/literature-and-books/kakania-iv/ Book your place
March 26th Thursday 7pm!

Kakania has been one of the most satisfying curatorial experiences of my career, perhaps the most satisfying. It's not just that the concept was so lovingly taken up by all the artists I approached, and that there was such a groundswell of positive responses from the extensive audiences and readers and creative folk involved, but because it began ambitious, almost intimidatingly so, and yet is coming to a close feeling intimate, careful and thoroughly realised. It's hard to marry one's ambition to reality in these kind of art projects, but four events in, two books, 40 artists each with a new commission and it feels I've barely broke a sweat. Without being cloy, the genuinely amazing support of the Austrian Cultural Forum is a huge part of this.

The final event is not a culmination, it is, as each event has been, it's own entity, curated with it's own rhythm and feel, relative to the venue and artists. Yet, there is a natural build towards it. It is built on language works, poets, both new to Kakania and those who have acted as a sort of creative spine to the project, will be reading - Stephen Emmerson so beautifully engaging with Rilke (his son is called Rainer), Colin Herd so brilliantly evoking Kokoschka, George Szirtes born to write about Schnitzler. These poets are complimented with some radically different mediums, Josh Alexander with his abstract film on Paul Wittgenstein, Fabian Faltin with a conceptual performance on Otto Wagner and Ben Morris, a sound art beast, on Ernst Krenek. 

The point is to create a specific energy and experience throughout the evening that rests on complimentary and responsive artforms, artworks and artists. And more than that to show how powerful the connection is in 21st century London to the iconoclasts of early 20th century Vienna. Each work will speak to the next, as together they are far more about the artists through the ghost voices of their Habsburg predecessors, than the details of the individual artworks themselves. It'll be unique, come along

Kakania at the Horse Hospital - February 19th

Another extraordinary lineup of contemporary artists presenting new works responding to figures of Habsburg Vienna one century ago marks our third Kakania event, this time taking place at the iconic Horse Hospital in Bloomsbury, London. A host of artists I am very proud to present, coming from Vienna, Paris, Zagreb & elsewhere just for Kakania. Doors 7pm, for a 7.30 start.
 
Caroline Bergvall on Gustav Klimt
Martin Bakero on Arnold Schoenberg
Colin Herd on Oskar Kokoschka
Marcus Slease on Max Kurzweil
Damir Sodan on Gustav Mahler
Joerg Zemmler on Karl Kraus
Stephen Emmerson on Rainer Maria Rilke

 
Tickets, at £8, on the door, with info available here: http://www.thehorsehospital.com/now/kakania-iii/

More news soon on the launches of the Kakania anthology and Oberwilding: on the life of Oskar Kokoschka, both original publications made for the project, now in print and presented for the first time at the Freud Museum. As well as our last event on March 26th at the Austrian Cultural Forum, who must be thanked for their generous support of this project. www.kakania.co.uk / www.acflondon.org
 
I would also like to draw your attention to the awful news that the Horse Hospital, an endlessly innovative and generous home for avant garde artwork in London, for 20 years now, is in the process of being sold off. There is a campaign against this http://www.thehorsehospital.com/horse-hospital-to-be-sold/ Please support the HH in anyway you can.

the Auld Fold! 1st publication of 2015

As part of Kathrine Sowerby's beautiful Four Fold publication series, five of the core touring poets also produced this collaborative poem that was published in January 2015 as the Auld Fold, featuring nick-e melville, Colin Herd, Ryan Van Winkle, Ross Sutherland and SJ Fowler. https://fourdotfold.wordpress.com/

Auld Enemies in London

It all ends up in London, and so we reconvened at the Rich Mix Arts Centre to invite new pairs of poets, screen some of Ross Sutherland's amazing documentary he made during our Scotland tour and share excerpts of the core poet's collaborations. A lovely evening to come together so soon, to reminiscence {already} and share our experience with friends and the like.  Auld Enemies London
Ross Sutherland & Colin Herd & Ryan Van Winkle & nick-e melville & SJ Fowler https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSUC5L742SQ
Emily Berry & John Clegg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJeKEFHrpUA
Vahni Capildeo & Jeremy Noel-Tod https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfA6MIC94mo
Tim Atkins & Jeff Hilson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bi6wp_2wLFQ
Nick Murray & Eley Williams https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9RD4-hGK84
Kirsty Irving & Harry Man https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VP91dLg1qk

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

Gorse issue #1 arrives


This is an extraordinary journal, the production value is breathtaking, removing it from the package it really strikes one as a wholly considered and serious arrival on the avant garde literature scene. It has the feel of something that might be remembered as a moment. Great credit goes to Susan Tomaselli and the team in Dublin, the contributors are all remarkable, but especially nice to be the only poetry in the magazine alongside Colin Herd. 

Colin Herd's Glovebox is on its way

http://colinherd.com/books/ How many poets of our time own their universe as Colin Herd owns his? Work so disarming, so true and graceful, and deserving of these moribund superlatives precisely because the poetry is so urbane, personal, and assured. It is an offhand profundity he possesses, and the poems within Glovebox evidence yet again his poignancy, his accuracy and his depth. Encountering this collection I can’t help but recall the reason why Ginsberg, Bukowski and O’Hara are responsible for the ruin of an entire generation of aspiring poets. They wrote with an unerring and deceiving simplicity that was all their own, and was every bit as accessible as it was groundbreaking, and thus could not be imitated. So it is with Colin Herd, and we are better for only being able to watch on in admiration. S J Fowler, author of Fights, Red Museum and Recipes http://www.knivesforksandspoonspress.co.uk/