A note on: South Korean Enemies Project - June 3rd in London

This is a project I am delighted has come off the ground, it features a second leg in South Korea too, which will be my first time there and a grand privilege.


Three of South Korea's most brilliant and innovative contemporary poets visit London for a dynamic new collaborative project, where they will present new live works created in cahoots with British poets. Introducing South Korean writers Yuwon Hwang, Minjung Kim and Kiwan Sung, all three remarkably original poets and artists, to a British audience this headline event at Rich Mix London will feature new works for the night, as well as new collaborations from multiple pairs of locally based poets .

Hannah Silva and Minjung Kim / Kiwan Sung and SJ Fowler / Luke Kennard and Yuwon Hwang plus Edward Doegar and Anna Selby / Dacy Lim and Cheryl Moskowitz / Dorothy Lehane & Elinor Cleghorn / Joe Turrent & more

With a program visiting both nations, Beyond Words will explore the 21st century international avant garde which has seen poetic pracitioners engage in performance and collaboration in a way never seen before.

Beyond Words is part of UK/Korea Creative Futures series, sponsored by ARKO (Arts Council Korea) and ACE (Arts Council England). Curated by Seryu Oh, Hyounjin Lee, SJ Fowler and Chaikwan Lee.

Penned in the Margins 2015 program

really pleased & proud to feature in this wonderful program for Penned in the Margins.
 my production is in October, visit the page and read the program to find out what it is! Wonderful company Im in too, with Hannah Silva's amazing show Schlock! and Ryan Van Winkle's new book the Good Dark


Very excited for Schlock! by Hannah Silva

I am extremely excited for Hannah Silva's new show, being produced by Penned in the Margins. Not only does it seem groundbreaking, a really necessarily dynamic and ambitious use of cut up / collage methodology, but its subject matter also seems to me as an distinctly necessary and timely theme to be exploring, precisely because of the popularity of the literary material it is partially made of. I can't wait to see it. http://www.pennedinthemargins.co.uk/index.php/2014/08/schlock-3/

"Schlock! is a subversive fifty-minute performance about sex and power that premieres at Aldeburgh Poetry Festival on 8th November. Audiences will hear voices spliced from EL James's infamous erotic novel, together with texts by the feminist writer Kathy Acker restored for the stage by Silva's inventive cut-and-paste techniques. The result is a paradox: a wildly original new work, entirely composed of other people's words.

Hannah Silva is a poet and performer known for her unique vocal delivery and praised as 'radical, political, courageous' by Whatsonstage. Her previous works have explored themes as diverse as politics, pseudoscience and women in business; but in this new show Silva returns to the topics that first caught her imagination.

"Schlock! is my most personal work. It's rooted in the physical, in the female body. The strange sadness I felt reading Fifty Shades of Greyseemed at odds with the book's popularity and was something I wanted to explore. At the same time I was re-reading Kathy Acker's books, and finding them shocking and also beautiful and inspiring. Like her, I want to disturb the boundaries between pleasure and pain, high art and schlock."

As well as being a rich sonic experience, Schlock! is a new departure for Silva in its use of physical storytelling. She has been collaborating with Deaf performer and interpreter Daryl Jackson (Dazzy Jacko) to make Schlock! accessible for d/Deaf audiences. Her performance shifts between spoken word and an embodied poetry consisting of British Sign Language and physical theatre. Sign language enables me to embody poetry in new ways. Our physicality and facial expressions communicate an incredible amount. It's humbling to realise how redundant much of spoken language really is. My hope is that this performance will connect with both hearing and d/Deaf audiences on an emotional, gut level.

Hannah Silva is one of a new wave of spoken word artists expanding what poetry can be. A highlight of the UK's preeminent poetry festival at Aldeburgh in Suffolk, and with a national tour planned for 2015, Schlock! looks set to stir up important debates and provoke strong reactions. "

The Prolific Myth: Interview with Hannah Silva

I'm really pleased to have spoken with Hannah Silva recently at the British Library, she as generous enough to invite me to have an extended ramble with her for her exciting archival project there. Hannah has been a generous friend since we met on the EVP tour last year, and genuinely one of the people, one of my peers I suppose, whom I am constantly learning from and trying to follow. It sounds limited to say that, that I might not mean it, but her exactitude, her professionalism, her openness, her remarkable understanding of technology and the width of her practice are spectacular. I actively seek to work such different worlds of poetry, from spoken word to the avant garde, as I actively seek to wield technology, as I aspire to write for the stage. She is a model I can work from, learn from, meeting her, like so many others who have proven themselves brilliant outside the page or reading form of poetry, has been significant. So to be interviewed by her is pretty funny to me, an immense pleasure.
Interview excerpt found  http://hannahsilva.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/the-prolific-myth-interview-with-sj-fowler/
"I’m glad about that but I think that it would horrify some people, that this thing exists in the world that represents you, that’s got your name on it, and people can read it and you can be ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about’. That happened to me recently. Someone published an extract of one of my poems, and I was like, where did you get the title from? He said –it’s one of your poems, I said I’m pretty sure it’s not, but alright…I just don’t care about that. There’s poets who have done this, and might not be in the public’s consciousness, who I really admire. People like Pierre Joris and Tom Raworth who just pump out book after book, I’ve always believed in that. When I was interested in film, it was people like Bergman, who’d create radically brilliant, often different works, year after year. I admire that approach because they are I suppose professionals. That’s how they saw it/see it. It was a life engagement, not about dropping their rarefied thoughts on the world, but about grinding it out and if it pops out and it’s genius you can just see them smiling ‘oh alright that was genius, onto the next’ – that’s how I feel, if people say something I’ve done is rubbish, or brilliant, I don’t care. I care about writing, I love writing, it’s helped me be a better human being, it’s helped me mediate the world around me, it’s helped me sublimate really fundamentally aggressive energies in the world and I feel better for that. I’m not going to slow down or strategically launch the books so that people can take the time to actually read the work I’ve done in order to somehow mitigate the form…I think there’s a myth about being prolific, that it harms you, but I don’t think anyone will read me anyway and if they do I’ll be dead. Why not just do fifty books, and then they’ve got lots to read?
I’ve had some great conversations with people about their first collections, and I’m really interested in it, like Jack Underwood was in the faber young poets pamphlet and I don’t know what happened, something with faber, and now his next book is out, he announced on twitter it’ll be out in 2016, he announced this last year, and that to me is amazing because what that says to me is that …he’s going to get a huge reception and I hope he wins prizes, he’s a sweet man and he’s well known, he’ll do so well and he’ll be known by so many more middle class people than me!…But, the reality is that to me that says he’s going to spend the next year and a half not writing, because if he writes hundreds of poems in the next year and a half they’re just going to be in a dusty drawer…maybe not, but that’s just how it feels, that’s my instinct.
I’ve spoken to a poet who was told off by his PhD supervisor for publishing an extended chapbook because the guy was like: your first collection is the most important collection, you must go to these people and make these connections and slowly breed these relationships over five years and then launch your book when you get to around thirty. That to me just seems like an absolutely crazy backward view of what your work is......"

Archive interview at British Library / Seminar interview at St Martins college

Two ephemeral and pleasurable things I've done in the last week, intertwined with two powerful powerful friends / peers. First I stopped off at the British library to speak at length with Hannah Silva, who is working with the BL archives to conduct research into performance in 21st British poetry and other such things. Though it's uncomfortable at times, putting into words my own approaches to work, so much of which is deliberately kept expressionistic and instinctual, for lack of time, and for a desire to keep rooting things in their experience of being made, rather than their result (believing the latter will emerge from the former, if done right, without too much of a heavy editorial hand), the process is undoubtedly good for me. If only to realise where I am heading, and why that is happening. We also chatted more widely about performance poetry, and my dislike of it. Hannah is such a remarkable performer, and she has such possession of her ideas, it makes working with her in any capacity a beneficial experience. The interview will be in the library's records until the end of the world apparently.

Then later in the week I was part of a seminar series for undegrads at St Martins, taught by Diane Silverthorne, whose amazing work Ive got to know over the last few years and who has become a friend and great influence on my reading and dwarfish erudition. We chatted through my root into poetry, and then art performance in front of around 40 students, most of whom were impeccably dressed (St Martins is like a fashion show, so beyond being a trendy enclave, its become something bizarrely retrograde in its futurism. It is often like walking through a successful genetic experiment, some benign social engineering program, where only beautiful and attractive young beings mope about concrete stairwells) and possibly interested, though it was hard to tell until I spoke to them. I talked about audience participation, nearly forced them to participate, then showed some vids of my boxing performances. It was again a funny experience, one where I learned something by being forced to waffle about what I do and am trying to do. The people were lovely, very gentle with me. And it always feels a privilege to be inside an institution like this, if only for a day, to watch multitudes try and inculcate creativity. It also doesn't hurt to realise how old I have become.

Penned in the Margins podcast: on poetry & performance

Really privileged to be invited to partake in a round table discussion on poetry and performance by Penned in the Margins, for their very first podcast. It was chaired by Tom Chivers and featured Hannah Silva and Sidd Bose. Quite an honour to be with them both, far greater than I in the performance realm. Certainly there was an interesting and proper difference in our approaches and general aesthetics. I was maybe a bit too harsh on spoken word, as I often am, I should be more mindful that the best of the medium is very good. It's just the case that the very average, or the very very poor, of the medium does parade as poetry, and userp it's resources, unfortunately. That tends to have me too trigger happy in smashing it. Anyway, a fine discussion, gentle and open, glad to be involved. 

Hannah Silva - Forms of Protest / the Disappearance of Sadie Jones

Really delighted to see the immense Hannah Silva produce two remarkable works in the months upcoming. First her debut collection with Penned in the Margins, 'Forms of Protest', which I got to read parts of on the EVP tour and which really blew me away, breaking truly new ground in the process of a fundamentally performative poet making the radical adjustments to the page, with such grace and skill, but also in a way that leaves something unique as a trace in this book. Following that her play 'The Disappearance of Sadie Jones' has a few more tour dates left, called "A structurally daring and challenging production that reminds you how visceral and powerful live performance can be" Exeunt Magazine **** You can WATCH THE TRAILER here or catch it at 20 Nov: Capital Theatre Festival MAC, Birmingham / 21 Nov: Peninsula Arts, Plymouth/ 26-30: Pleasance StudioIslington, London.