Two highlights of 2015, amazing performers and artists both Emma and Maja. So excited I get to do 7 more of these collaborations in 2016 with the help of the Hubbub group in residence at Wellcome Collection and Wellcome Library www.stevenfowler.com/soundings
Tom Jenks, Spruce (Blarts Books)
One of most overlooked poets in the UK, doing the work conceptualism should be doing, getting to the heart of uniquely British ennui through splicing methodology and jet black humour.
Sandeep Parmar, Eidolon (Shearsman Books)
High modernism powerfully maintained and redeployed by one of the most interesting poets crossing the American / UK scene.
Tom Chivers, Dark Islands (Test Centre)
One of the clearest voices in British poetry in his finest work to date, beautiful rendered, written and designed.
Emma Hammond, The Story of No (Penned in the Margins)
Powerful for it’s immediacy, incredibly sophisticated for it’s lack of pretension in the face of profoundly personal poetry. Amazing book.
Christodoulos Makris, The Architecture of Chance (wurm press)
This is the future of a poetry which reflects our world of language without dispensing with the expressionistic skill of interpreting that language. Found text lies with lyrical poetry, a thorough achievement to balance them to such effect.
Peter Jaeger, A Field Guide to Lost Things (If P Then Q press)
Clever, resonant and profound, as all of Peter Jaeger’s works are, a fine example of the possibilities of contextual, process-orientated thinking getting to the heart of contemporary poetry.
Bruno Neiva & Paul Hawkins, Servant Drone (Knives forks and spoons press)
Brilliant collaborative poetry collection (of which there are far too few) taking on a necessary issue in necessarily disjunctive ways.
Michael Thomas Taren, Eunuchs (Ugly Duckling Presse)
Best possible example of what is possible in contemporary American poetics of my generation. Excessive, authentic, ambitious.
Rebecca Perry, Beauty/Beauty (Bloodaxe Books)
Reflective and observational in the most well conceived way, a clear poetic experience as a book, it accumulates and resonates as a collection.
Lee Harwood, The Orchid Boat (Enitharmon Press)
The last work by one of the most interesting poets in the English language in the latter half of the 20th century, a typically beautiful book.
The beginning of Soundings couldn't have gone better. Not only because the performance was unique and well attended and went to plan, but because it was also completely idiosyncratic and unexpected for the audience, and enjoyable. Emma and I have known each for a few year now, and been in collective work together, but never performed a duo. The performance itself and the entire preparation period could not have been easier and more fluid. We met up numerous times to make our performance not only responsive to the materials given by the Wellcome Library under the theme of 'Restless Cities' but also to make sure we responded very specifically to the amazing environmental of Camley Street Natural Park.
We knew people's experience of what we did would be defined by the surroundings, and decided in fact to put on a walking tour, one that fused elements of performance and immersive theatre all rooted in something like a slightly alternative version of the contemporary 'landscape' 'cityscape' 'mindfulness' lexicon. Our performance was a mix of improvisation, preparation for this and written text that lay somewhere between poetry and satire.
In the end we had a remarkable audience, those very generously helping us, Harriet Martin, James Wilkes, Kim Staines, bringing together lots of people so that it felt quite a significant event, marching 50 or so people around the small stone clearings and ponds of the park. A strange experience for them, I hope, a great experience for us.
Soundings is a series of collaborative performances I will be presenting from August 2015 to October 2016, in conjunction with Hubbub and the Wellcome Library. There will be ten editions, each in a different location in and around London, each with a different collaborator.www.stevenjfowler.com/soundings
Each edition of Soundings will begin with Wellcome library staff raiding the library's extensive collection to suggest items, including images, manuscripts and books, in response to a title inspired by the Hubbub's research strands and initiated by Hubbub curators. These prompts will form the basis for the public performances of sound poetry, sonic art or conceptual performance, devised each time by myself and my collaborator. Collaborators include Emma Bennett, Dylan Nyoukis, Maja Jantar, Patrick Coyle, Sharon Gal, Tamarin Norwood and James Wilkes, with more to be announced.
Hubbub are the first residents of The Hub at Wellcome Collection, an international team of scientists, humanists, artists, clinicians, public health experts, broadcasters and public engagement professionals. We explore the dynamics of rest, noise, tumult, activity and work, as they operate in mental health, neuroscience, the arts and the everyday. I'm fortunate to be part of this extraordinary enterprise, as a poet and artist in residence, and you can read more about my work with Hubbub here: www.stevenjfowler.com/hubbubor www.hubbubgroup.org
Soundings #1: August 18th
at Camley Street Natural Park
with Emma Bennett
Time: 1pm – 2pm (12 Camley Street, London N1C 4PW). Free entrance.
Soundings #2: September 4th
at Wellcome Collection Late
with Dylan Nyoukis
Time: 19.40 and 21.30 (183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE). Free Entrance
Soundings #3: November 18th
at St Johns on Bethnal Green
with Maja Jantar
Time: 8pm to 9pm (200 Cambridge Heath Road. London E2 9PA). Free Entrance.