An amazing experience, to continue my work with Tate Modern after a Talking Performance, to teach a six week course, each lesson in a different gallery, surrounded by the works being referred to. I had the privilege to share ideas, concepts, history and methodologies that cross both avant-garde writing and modern art, from Concrete poetry to Asemic writing, from Sound poetry to Collectives, from the Painted word to Poster art, to show how interlinked they are, how fundamental to both arts (even if one has embraced the theoretical, emotional, social and political developments of the latter 20th and early 21st century, and the other hasn't). The course was global and allowed me to explore further than ever before the profound reasons behind most of the innovation so definitional to the work I am most excited by. We even had a session in the Tate stores and I was able to bring out original artworks / poems by Henri Michaux, Christian Dotremont, Karel Appel, Cy Twombly, RB Kitaj, Jenny Holzer, Tom Phillips, Ian Hamilton Finlay and others who have influenced me so much. The course was attended by particularly generous and sophisticated artists, poets, book makers and people in advanced study, so it was a engaged, full of new works and ideas and really generously supported by an brilliant curatorial staff at Tate Modern, led by Joseph Kendra. Really a pleasure to do, I gained much from the weeks and a privilege to share those hours in Tate Modern with fellow artists. www.stevenjfowler.com/alanguageart
There are occasional nights when the feeling one might be seeking in writing and reading and organising comes together into one satisfying whole. This is one of the most distinct experiences of satisfaction I've had in sometime, in no small part because I was surrounded by many of my most generous friends but also because some of the most extraordinary boxing writers contributed and seemed genuinely enthused by the mixing of modes and forms towards the same goal - that is the celebration of the sport of boxing, in all its paradoxes and contradictions.
Veer books did a great job with the 2nd edition of Fights, it's a far better book, slimmer and more powerful. Every speaker (you can see all their readings by following the link below) presented fantastic work, from fiction to journalism, poetry to art history. Everyone enjoyed the others contributions, in the contrast, in the varied specialisms, so the strength of each art came to the fore. I'm sure this won't be the last event celebrating boxing that we'll do. All the videos are here www.theenemiesproject.com/pugilistica
And the new book is available here http://www.veerbooks.com/filter/veer-books/SJ-Fowler-fights-2nd-edition and my new webpage dedicated to it: www.stevenjfowlers.com/fights
FIGHTS: a book of boxing poetry
Fights, published by Veer Books, is a book of modernist and experimental poems, broken into cycles, each celebrating / reflecting on the life of a 20th century boxer, from Jack Dempsey to Antonio Margarito, from Yuriorkis Gamboa to Edwin Valero.
Originally published in 2011, a new 2nd edition, extensively revised and featuring an introductory essay, remarking on the changing nature of the sport of boxing, in light of studios into brain injury in the sport and on the changing fate of the boxers featured within, was published nearly five years from original publication, in October 2015.
Each cycle within Fights uses a methodology that somehow represents the character of the boxer in question. The book employs a significant use of concrete poetry, collage, sound poetry, typographical experimentation and found text.
Fights was launched at Birkbeck college, University of London, in 2011, alongside new readings and talks from Kasia Boddy, Lynda Nead, Patrick Coyle and Tim Atkins. In it's second edition, Fights was launched at Apiary Studios in November 2015 alongside new readings and talks from Don McRae, Sarah Victoria Turner, Oliver Goldstein, Anna Whitwham and others.
- New functions for the jaw. Poetic histories from all possible angles, and then some. Its about time boxing - the basis of all sport - was understood from the viewpoint of the poetic mind. Slam it into your mouth and read it out LOUD. Sean Bonney
- ‘... a new beginning and one that is so much the swiftest, the widest, balanced. One hesitates to use the word pure, but’ A dazzling, visceral, proficient, kinetic work. Fights runs its combinations in formal excitement and trenchgut force. Maggie O’Sullivan