A note on: The University Camarade II

The University Camarade II : February Saturday 25th 2017 - 7.30pm - Free Entrance
Venue 2 : Rich Mix Arts Centre (35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, London E1 6LA)

The second University Camarade presents pairs of creative writing students from seven different Universities in the UK to collaborate on short new works of poetry or text, for performance. The only participants are students, and writing with poets they've never met before, who study within a different institution, this initiative allows them to expand their practise, knowledge and networks, and takes a stand against purported factionalism or department competition. The innovative collaborative methodology also allows them to include experimentation early in their writing careers, and perform to a large audience.

Students have been drawn from the Creative Writing departments of Kingston University, Oxford Brookes, York St John, Kent, Essex, York and Royal Holloway and the project has been curated by SJ Fowler with Kim Campanello, JT Welsch, Dorothy Lehane, Robert Hampson, Prudence Chamberlain, Philip Terry and Niall Munro.

A note on: Fiender, performing with Aase Berg

I enjoy collaborating with Aase Berg. We put on something conceptual, something about surprise, coldness, fakery, a satire I suppose, about the opinions of others. And about liveness against the page. A new work for the new audience. We had fun doing so.

This event was a return to the Camarade Harry Man and I put together at the Stockholm International Poetry fest last November, but this time, in enemies project style, pulling in 20 poets in all, 3 from swedeland, and a 100 people to witness the 10 new works. It was a fun evening, full of energy. All the videos www.theenemiesproject.com/fiender

Camaradefest : October 25th : the full lineup

100 poets. 50 pairs. one day.
october saturday 25th
the rich mix arts centre : main space
12 noon til late : free entry
Starting at 12 noon and running all day, Camaradefest will present 50 brand new collaborative works involving 100 poets working in pairs. A unique one day festival of collaborative poetry. There will a book table to browse and chat with the poets, & lengthy intermissions between each of the five sessions in which to do so. Please come, stay the day and find below the remarkable lineup of poets, writers and textual artists. Everything is free to attend, bring friends, spread the word.http://weareenemies.com/camaradefestii.html
John Clegg & Holly Corfield Carr
Nick Murray & Aki Schilz
Sarah Dawson & Robin Boothroyd
Jonah Wilberg & Lucy Furlong
Vera Chok & Sophie Herxheimer
Jon Stone & Harry Wooler
Paul Hawkins & TBA
Cali Dux & Simon Pomery
Angus Sinclair & Laura Elliott
Ross Sutherland & TBA
George Szirtes & Carol Watts
Gareth Rees & Gary Budden
Robert Kiely & Doug Jones
Mike Saunders & Emilia Weber
Tamar Yoseloff & Claire Crowther
Andy Spragg & Emma Hammond
Alan Halsey & Geraldine Monk
Nia Davies & Sarah Howe
Tim Allen & Richard Barrett
Prudence Chamberlain & Eley Williams
Hannah Silva & Andra Symons
Harry Man & Kirsten Irving
Vicky Sparrow & Dave Spittle
Agnes Lehoczky & Astrid Alben
Isobel Dixon & Claire Trevien
Edmund Hardy & Amy Cutler
Ollie Evans & Becky Varley Winter
Rebecca Tamas & Martin Jackson
Sarah Kelly & TBA
Jow Lindsay & Anne Laure Coxam
Colin Herd & Iain Morrison
Marcus Slease & JT Welsch
James Wilkes & Ariadne Radi Cor
Billy Ramsell & TBA
Sophie Collins & Livia Franchini
Nikolai Duffy & Rhys Trimble
Ryan Van Winkle & TBA
Calum Rodger & Anthony Autumn
Cristine Brache & Holly Childs
Lila Matsumoto & Samantha Walton
James Davies & Philip Terry
Nathan Jones & Christodoulos Makris
Zuzana Husarova & Olga Pek
Alison Gibb & Kimberley Campanello
Sean Bonney & nick-e melville
Luke Allan & Graeme Smith
Sam Riviere & Crispin Best
James Byrne & Sandeep Parmar
Tim Atkins & Jeff Hilson
Holly Pester & Emma Bennett

a new review of Enemies by Sarah Gonnet

Nice to still be getting reviews for Enemies nearly six months after it came out, a testament to the book, or to the publisher perhaps. Either way, lovely to read this write up from Sarah Gonnet, she goes into a few areas others haven't, most specifically the humour of the book, as quoted below http://imaseriousjournalistyouknow.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/enemies-the-selected-collaborations-of-s-j-fowler/  
"Although it sounds like ‘Enemies’ is so overcrowded that it couldn’t possibly have any space left for a sense of humour; the collection is actually incredibly funny in parts. Overall it certainly empahsises an absurdist perspective on modern life and art. Questions and statements are often made and asked that unsettle the mind in a humorously absurdist way. For example: “Why should I be proud of reading many books from which I have derived little learning but much distress of mind?” and “It is a buffoon who calls Walt Whitman rubbish because he made some of it up”.
Many of the pieces have their own linguistic logic. Some also have blog-like spelling mistakes and some are delivered in a raw stream of coinciouness. These bouts of spontaneous expression can become uncensored rambling; but mostly they have a purpose. The pieces either highlight the degeneration of language due to technology, or examine abstract expression with words (as opposed to paint).
Several of my favourite lines from the collection are in the poem “1000 Proverbs” (written in collaboration with Tom Jenks). This list of nonsensical proverbs includes lines such as: “A cat in a warehouse is worth two in a call centre”; “We are all as individual as individual fruit pies” and “People who live with pandas should not build with bamboo.” As the collection draws to a close it begins to rely more and more on fast paced humour such as this."

Hidden Door Camarade in Edinburgh

Last year I had the chance to curate travelling Camarade events in Bristol and Manchester, at the Arnolfini and the Cornerhouse, and it was apparent of all the poetry event formats I've tried, this is the one that seems to work almost anywhere. The normal structure is 12 to 20 poets, in pairs, writing original works of around 5 to 10 minutes. Well now, this year, I have the chance to put a Camarade on in Edinburgh, my favourite city outside of London in the UK. There are so many amazing poets in Edinburgh, genuinely original and innovative in their stance, and welcoming too, I had such a good time doing Caesura last year. Moreover, Ryan Van Winkle, Colin Herd, nick-e melville, Ross Sutherland, Billy Letford and I got funding from Creative Scotland this year to do the Auld Enemies tour, which is a like a mini rolling tour camarade, so all these things have flowed together.

http://hiddendoorblog.org/2014/02/24/s-j-fowler/ The Hidden Door festival will host the event, on March 29th, and their program is a really exciting and ambitious list of art installations in the unused vaults of Edinburgh town centre, alongside music and performance. And us. Here is the final list of the 18 poets Ive roped in to do the Hidden Door:

Ross Sutherland & nick-e melville
Samantha Walton & Jow Lindsay
Daisy Grove Lafarge & Anne Laure Coxam
Kirsten MacGillivray & JL Williams
Tom Jenks & SJ Fowler
Lila Matsumoto & Greg Thomas
Ryan Van Winkle & Sarah Kelly
Colin Herd & Iain Morrison
Graeme Smith & Anthony Autumn

& here, a sneak peek from Colin & Iain, setting the tone heavy hard to follow

Wrogowie: Polish Enemies

"It had all the marks of a successful literary event: originality, variety, contrasts, even controversies..." So said one of the fine Polish poets who graced the rich mix with his poetry this saturday passed. I wasn't there for the last part, but the rest, I witnessed, and happily, considering it was lashing down outside, and in filthy weather, the event all the more of a success as an incubator for good will and really considered collaborations. I don't want to write too much about it, but the legacy of Polish poetry in the 20th is so immense, with such validated gravitas, that often working with the poets of the country brings out the worst in the formal (powerful) v. avant garde (flippant) myth. This wasnt the case saturday, these divisions didnt seem obvious, or present, or necessary, and so I judge the proceedings to be a success. My work with Piotr too was a great pleasure to write and to read. He is a really gentle soul, an erudite man, seemingly as emotionally wise as he is in his writing. Such a benefit to me to create this exchange with him, lifted from found texts in philosophy as well as new writing, all about the lost margins of our possible perception of death and transition. Suitably cheery. 
Amy Cutler & Ula Chowaniec http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6LdC442EKk
Angus Sinclair & Laura Elliott http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrH3G34BQ_M
Francesca Listette & Joanna Rzadowska http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZukpdL6Cxk0
Philip Terry & Adam Zdrodowski http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHzymaGAgPQ
Marcus Slease & Grzegorz Wroblewski http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yuRzUnOYXk

Enemies from Penned in the Margins

Really happy to say Enemies, my selected collaborations, from Penned in the Margins, is now available to order http://www.pennedinthemargins.co.uk/index.php/2013/09/enemies-2/
The book is 168 pages of collaborations with 29 different poets, artists, photographers, composers and includes full colour artworks and photographs amongst the text. I hope it stands as a unique document, of both my work and of the Enemies project in general, and I’m very proud to be associated with some of the most interesting and dynamic artists and writers working in their respective fields http://www.weareenemies.com/
The collaborators / works included, often excerpted from longer pieces, are:
Tim Atkins – Secretum Meum http://www.onedit.net/
David Berridge – 40 feet http://verysmallkitchen.com/
Cristine Brache – you’d love me, I’d tell everyone http://cristinebrache.info/
Patrick Coyle – Art Gallery Bouncer http://www.patrickcoyle.info/
Emily Critchley- The Mechanical Root http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emily_Critchley
Lone Eriksen – Brumhold’s diary http://www.loneeriksen.com/
Frédéric Forte – a Recipe of Franglais http://www.oulipo.net/oulipiens/ff
Tom Jenks – 1000 proverbs http://www.zshboo.org/
Alexander Kell – Museum of Debt http://alexanderkell.com/
David Kelly – Gilles de Rais / The Rasenna/ Saint Augustine of Hippo http://erkembode.com/
Sarah Kelly – Ways of Describing Cuts http://www.s-kelly.co.uk/
Anatol Knotek -  Inner life of Man http://www.anatol.cc/
Ilenia Madelaire – Cannibals http://www.ileniamadelaire.com/
Chris McCabe – Dead Souls Like http://chris-mccabe.blogspot.co.uk/
nick-e melville – Inside the Actor’s Studio http://nick-emelville.blogspot.co.uk/
Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl – a Recipe for Hakarl http://norddahl.org/
Matteo X Patocchi – Muyock http://www.matteopatocchi.com/
Claire Potter- Videodrome http://clairelouisepotter.blogspot.co.uk/
Monika Rinck – Phanomenologie mit einigen geist http://www.begriffsstudio.de/
Sam Riviere – Long Letter, Short Farewell http://samriviere.com/
Hannah Silva – Panopticon http://hannahsilva.wordpress.com/
Marcus Slease – Elephanche http://marcusslease.blogspot.co.uk/
Ross Sutherland – Battles http://www.rosssutherland.co.uk/
Ryan Van Winkle – The Burbs http://ryanvanwinkle.com/
Philip Venables – The Revenge of Miguel Cotto http://philipvenables.com/
Sian Williams – Animal Husbandry
Below is an excerpt from the book’s introduction:
“...Artists who are powerful alone, and need not collaborate, seem to do so easily, uninterested in the protection of their inspiration. If the book is held together by poetry, it is as a soft and tacky kind of glue – uhu - as good for eating as for adhesion, barely keeping pace (which is its strength, I hope, that it acknowledges this in its very firmament) with the photography, art, illustration, musical composition and design of so many gifted others to be found within these pages. I have had to be told it is a book dense and mysterious, full of challenging material, and shifts in tone. It doesn’t seem so to me, nor did it feel so in its multifarious creation or compilation. But then perhaps that is because I hope if my work stands for one thing, it is that experimentation and innovation is not a stance, but a pattern of behaviour, not a philosophy of theory, heavy with beneficial and smug associations of rebellion and kudos, but a specific reaction to a specific need or notion – a philosophy in action...”
& finally special debts of gratitude to Jon Opie and Shonagh Manson at the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, who, alongside Arts Council England support, have allowed the concept for this book to grow into a huge programme of events, as well as gratitude to all the collaborators who made it into the book, all those who didn’t, probably better off not being associated with me, and Tom Chivers, editor of Penned in the Margins who produced the immense object itself.

You are invited to the Launch of Enemies

Toynbee Studios, London E1 6AB (Map)

Friday 25 October
7pm, Free

Please pop along if you can. I'll be reading with Sam Riviere, David Berridge, Tim Atkins, Sarah Kelly, Eirikur Orn Norddahl and Tom Jenks. From the publisher:

"You are invited to join independent poetry publisher Penned in the Margins for the launch of SJ Fowler’s groundbreaking, multi-disciplinary collection Enemies; the result of collaborations with over thirty artists, photographers and writers – each imbued with the energy, innovation and generosity of spirit that has become Fowler’s calling card as a poet.

Meta-diary entries mingle with a partially redacted email exchange; texts slip and fragment, finding new contexts alongside paintings, diagrams and YouTube clips. Animalistic Rorschach blots and behind-the-scenes photographs from the Museum inspire a poetic that is dynamic but unstable: Fowler’s texts walk the high-wire between reason and madness, the individual and the collective, human and animal.

The Enemies are: Tim Atkins, David Berridge, Cristine Brache, Patrick Coyle, Emily Critchley, Lone Eriksen, Frédéric Forte, Tom Jenks, Samantha Johnson, Alexander Kell, David Kelly, Sarah Kelly, Anatol Knotek, Ilenia Madelaire, Chris McCabe, nick-e melville, Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl, Matteo X Patocchi, Claire Potter, Monika Rinck, Sam Riviere, Hannah Silva, Marcus Slease, Ross Sutherland, Ryan Van Winkle, Philip Venables, Sian Williams"

"An overwhelming assault. The geography is unnerving, almost familiar, then stinging in its estrangement.Intensity crackles. Tension teases. At what point does collision become collaboration? When do the bandages come off?"
Iain Sinclair

SJ Fowler 

The Poetry School: a cameo

http://www.poetryschool.com/ The Poetry school is an intriguing thing. An admirable endeavour, but one, perhaps because of my background in the avant garde (or towards it, a bit more than some), that I haven't encountered often. My first such tryst came thanks to Chris McCabe, who kindly invited me to join him for the last hour of his penultimate class on collaborations. Set back on Lambeth walk, amidst boutique shops and a few housing estates, the evening was spent chatting with genuinely engaged and interesting people about Enemies, Camarade and my opinions on collaboration in and outside of poetry. I brought some books, books in boxes and anecdotal stories along with the theories. Then I joined the group in a frightening local pub afterwards... The hope, of course, in such a class is that the teacher is just leading the flow of an organic exchange, rather than being demonstrative. In this situation, where those attending were so erudite, artists and poets of significant merit in their own right, and the teacher was so capable and multifaceted as a poet himself, this was the inevitable result. It is really considerable that people will pay to attend such a focused programme about poetry, and collaborations at that! after working a full day, and bring so much creativity, energy and enthusiasm. Respect to everyone involved. I'm sure the relationships began on the night will bear fruit in the future. Here is a link to one of the students in the class speaking with the Poetry School too. http://www.poetryschool.com/courses/featured-student--sophie-herxheimer.php