Had a fun burst of gab chatting with the folk at Monocle Radio about internationalism, collaboration, poetry and stuff that's done wrong / right to change people's perception of poetry in the UK, if that's even desirable. Broadcasts 7.30pm on May 29th 2017 and then available as a podcast after that
Visit www.theenemiesproject.com/fiender for more specific info
"With this year’s Jubilee Festival we wish to draw attention – with gravity, sensitivity and intellect – to poetry in its many shapes as a living and constantly changing art form through which we peer inwards into the human mind and outwards unto the incredible Universe. Our aim has been to present a succinct but also light programme, where each individual reading and performance gets the focus it deserves whether it is poetry, music, dance or talks. Come along with us inside the theatre house and move freely between programme points, the beautiful theatre foyer, the bar and the restaurant!
.... We have invited poets from South Korea, Colombia, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Great Britain. We present the result of a workshop that is running during the festival – the unique performance Fiender (Enemies), with three British and three Swedish authors. AKT UNG! – the scene for young, Swedish poetry – has its fifth anniversary and will show how very lively the young poetry is. We present poets that have been with us from the start, but also many new voices, who will take poetry into the future. Welcome to enjoy three days of literary art! = Madeleine Grive, Artistic Director and Editor-In-Chief"
Programme - Tuesday 22 November - 9 pm
Poetry Performance: Fiender (Enemies)
Six innovative poets from Great Britain and Sweden have collaboratively written poems that are performed in pairs in a unified performance: Aase Berg (SWE) and Steven J Fowler (UK), Jonas Gren (SWE) and Harry Man (UK), Elis Burrau (SWE) and Holly Corfield Carr (UK).
Aki Schilz - http://akifreetheword.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/camaradefest-ii/
"...I wrote a few micropoems on Twitter throughout the day, taking bits from everyone else’s poems to compose a sort of ‘mashup’ collection/overview of the event https://akifreetheword.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/camaradefest.pdf"
Iain Morrison - http://permanentpositions.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/veni-vidi-lectiti-iains-london-visit-24-28-october-2014/
"We arrived at something, sounding like Steve Reich minimalism regularly interrupted by exclamatory words, via a poem by Brodsky called Elegy for John Donne. It’s an iambic pentameter poem. Most of the syllables in it we suppressed into the number 1 with a few words showing through to disrupt the typographic snow drift."
Holly Corfield Carr - http://hollycorfieldcarr.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/bisect-dissect/
",,,and this with Eley Willams and Prudence Chamberlain and more things than I can try to cleverly word from more poets than I can fit in my car and drive around the Carr-Clegg coniunctio. There was everything I could want: flip-charts, trip ups, rip-roaring laughter and pillows in swimsuits and sexy poems and power steeples and that was only the first hour. It was wonderful and a bit messy and a lot good."
& this grand minidoc by the Czech centre marking the appearance of Zuzana Husarova & Olga Pek
Performances coming up this August at the Whitechapel Gallery
Performance: Modes of Aberrant Research
Thursday 7 August, 7pm
An evening of deviant anecdotes, radical storytelling and narrative segues through archives, collections and institutions. Through experimental fiction, multi-media performance and voice-driven texts, five artists and writers, including SJ Fowler, Patrick Coyle, Holly Pester and Kreider + O’Leary, examine the subject’s status as agitator, witness and unwitting member of memory institutes.
£8.50 full price (£4.25 members price).
Sarah Kelly - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ylug5cVA81I
Marcus Slease - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3073DcMsjI0
Tim Atkins - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbpK4XxtZe8
David Berridge - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbGOlqN9dgk
Held at the Hardy Tree gallery in Kings X, London on November 23rd 2013, for the Erkembode: not just another saint exhibition, a series of poetry readings from contemporary British vanguard poets who have collaborated or worked closely with the artist David Kelly www.erkembode.com including poetry from Marcus Slease, Holly Pester, SJ Fowler, David Berridge, Robert Kiely, Tim Atkins & Sarah Kelly.
What an incredible job Edgardo Dander did capturing this reading at the Laboratorio Arte Alameda in Mexico city, just over a week ago. Amanda de la Garza looks so beautiful, and is so captivating, reading her transliterations of my poems. And Nomeda's video responses to the work are breathtaking. & finallu Playing the straight man, hamming it up theatre GCSE style, was well worth it to bring out the incredible Pester skills, so funny, I could barely keep a face straight.
Holly and I then met up and walked down to Regina again to eat and sit and talk. The hours passed before we did a final circle of the Alameda and the Madero before catching our cab to the airport and flying 11 hours through the night. What can be said about the hospitality, warmth, generosity and energy of those who have gone far out of their way to host and befriend us in Mexico? One of the best trips of my life. Thanks to Ari, Ed, Rocio, Amanda, Itzel, Eliza, Adrian, Jack and many others. I hope to return, soon.
We soundchecked, looked after by the amazing staff of the cultural centre, and Ari, from Festival Expandibles, and really sat in the size of the hall, an amazing venue. Ari and I then took to the cathedral square, to get my face painted as a Calavera, to pay true homage to the fact that the performance was taking place on the day of the dead. The family doing the face painting, for 50 pesos, were cholos apparently, a gangster family. The girl who did my makeup couldn't have been more than 10 years old.
The show ended up going very well, and certainly left us on a high. There is something shared in the act of performance, and in the act of collaboration, that brings you intensely close to someone, and Holly and I having known each other for years, seen each others work for years, and spent a load of time together, but without ever having collaborated before, meant this crescendo was all the more powerful. Holly was on special form, it was all I could do to keep up with her! So much in that piece, too much to write about, hoping to get the video sometime soon. Suffice to say we covered translations, prisons, ravens, volcanoes, shanties, jaguars, and massive projected sexy pictures of me shampooing my hair amongst many other things.
The audience wasn't huge, but this seems to be in the inverse of the immense Mexican hospitality. If you phone someone on 20 minutes notice they will meet you for coffee and take you around the city or their home, but if you set a date and time, they probably won't make it. None the less many of the people in the city we met and admired did make it, which was amazing. We all went for food afterwards in the cultural centre restaurant where we had been spongeing all week with meal tickets, and then we wandered down to the beautiful Regina street where we closed out our last night in Mexico city in an appropriately buoyant, satisfied, slightly exhausted mood. The day of the dead was over too.
Holly and I made our way to the Labatorio Arte Alameda next to Alameda park where the Enemigos performance would be. A famous avant garde venue apparently, it was a remarkable space inside of a giant yellow church, a big black cube. While we waited for Mexican time to catch up with Greenwich Mean Time we went to a cafe where a man had a hat on with rabbit ears and then his fellow waiter picked up an accordian and played it with such beauty.. i was terribly heartsick for my romanian, he played romany tunes! I finally met Amanda de la Garza, who I'd written with for the Enemigos anthology, we had transliterated each other's poetry. She was remarkably friendly and charming and talented, she is a curator at the contemporary art gallery in the city and has a clearly powerful poetic presence, as well as incredible freckles, el tigre. Also there was a frog on the coffee machine in the cafe and some sort of creature next to it, see below
The Enemigos evening, the reading, were grand. Amanda, Rocio, Holly and I popped up throughout the night, to a nice intimate crowd. Amanda did a great piece with a typewriter, her poem 'dictated' as she read, and she read her transliterations after I'd read three poems from the anthology, Atacama, the one about James Harvey and the one about Newquay. We had a VJ all night collaborating too, showing videos behind us as we read, he was amazing www.vimeo.com/nomadaspace Rocio showed some of her new work, which was very beautiful and then to close, Holly and I did an improvisational piece, on an hours notice! We came up with it fast. She sat in the dark and said mean things to me while i sat in the light and said nice things to her. They dont get our humour really so it ended up being like a drama exercise! i acted so heartbroken that i made one of the sweet Mexicans weeep! haha, maybe I should be a fucking actor. It was fun though, being restrained and not being able to verbally abuse Holly as I wanted to. This picture to the left is of the audience while Amanda read one of the transliterations.
We then were accompanied again by the lovely Ari, el pandarhia, and walked a fair swathe of the city, from the historical centre down the Alameda central and onto the reforma (a massive avenue de avenue), through the Zona Rosa (which is full of gay people and prostitutes apparently but seemed to me like a quaint, upmarket shopping district) and then into the Condesa http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condesa very much famed for its trendy ways. We visited the American legion and their English language bookshop http://underthevolcanobooks.com/, which had loads of amazing writers and then doubled a mochacino in a trendy cafe. I left Holly as she was meeting a mate of a mate and walked back to the hotel in the dusk / darkness on the massive glowing streets of the city, music in my ears.
We go to meet Jack Little in the evening. Just such a fundamentally decent, warm hearted, open, hospitable soul. Amazing to spend hours with him, with a view over the city and then from a near cantina in the old town, just listening to how he found himself in Mexico City, 22 years of age, now his home, having perfect Spanish, mexican family around him, years past and how poetry became his passion in the years spent in Mexico, despite his mother being a really well known and established poet in the UK. Just an humbling experience to spend time with someone so outgoing, positive, human. Really the day is a day of two generous people who live in this city, giving something of their home over to us, allowing us new eyes to a place so big and intense it can blind you. Here's some of Jack's work on 3am http://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/two-poems-jack-little/ and his remarkable Ofi press, where he published this interview we did awhile back http://theofipress.webs.com/fowlersteven.htm