A note on : performing at Phonica in Dublin

Dublin has become one of my favourite cities in which to perform. I’ve had three brilliant experiences, in 2015, 2017 and now, for Phonica, in 2018. Every time the audience has been alive to what I’m doing, always generous and inquisitive. Phonica itself is a grand achievement by curators Christodoulos Makris and Olesya Zdorovetska, who have brought together cutting edge contemporary musicians with poets and literary performance.

I went on last for Phonica 8, spending all night up on the very highest flooring of a spiral staircase within the gorgeous Smock Alley Theatre, lying down, peeking down to the performance stage, listening, waiting. There were some great discoveries for me, Alyce Lyons and Justyn Hunia presented a wonderful filmpoetry collaboration, many years in the making, subtle in that connection between those arts. Alex Bonney presented a sound piece that was immersive and made me want to collaborate with him. And Diamanda Dramm, a remarkable performer, a violinist singing poetry amidst her playing.

I had the chance to follow them and did so with a mostly improvised piece, one of my recent Powerpoint performances, where I have nothing planned really apart from some aberrant slides that respond to the specific event / place. It went better than I could’ve hoped, I think, I don’t know, I discerned from the feedback. The performance was about self-awareness I suppose, about the conflation of self-knowledge where things can become so true they are false. It was also about performance itself, and poetry’s place in that. We all decamped after the event to an underground speakeasy bar by the river before I skulked back to my Airbnb happy.

A note on: Subcritical Tests, Cemetery poems & other recent happenings

Recent happenings from July 2017 : Two new publications, three great events in Kensal Green Cemetery, others at Ledbury Festival, National Poetry Library, Poetry Ireland & more.

Subcritical Tests: a new book from Gorse Editions
A pair of grand launches in a basement in Soho and a packed Poetry Ireland in Dublin for a book already making mushroom clouds on the Irish poetry scene. A beautiful thing Gorse have made, sharing Ailbhe Darcy and I's poems, three years in the writing. www.stevenjfowler.com/ireland

Landscape Learn : Growth & Decay
Part of my ongoing residency with award winning landscape architects J&L Gibbons, a day in Kensal Green Cemetery with speakers from Urban Mind, Museum of London and a debut screening for my collaborative film with Tereza Stehlikova. Follow Landscape Learn.www.stevenjfowler.com/gibbonsresidency

The Ecchoing Green
A reading with Chris McCabe and Tom Jeffreys in Kensal Green Cemetery Dissenter's Chapel, part of the Wood Wood residency, a discussion of changing London and its cemeteries www.stevenjfowler.com/wormwood

Worm Wood Old Oak
Short fiction published by Sampson Low, a publisher founded in 1793. A weird story about a property developer terraforming London, available here https://sampsonlow.co/2017/07/14/worm-wood-old-oak-sj-fowler/

Ledbury Poetry Festival
Performing and curating the 87th event of the 21st international poetry festival in Ledbury, presenting a new collaboration with Harry Man. More here

Poem Bruts : Hotel Magazine
New art poems published in the brilliant hotel. Taken from an upcoming artbook 'New Prim' with Hesterglock Press. http://partisanhotel.co.uk/S-J-Fowler-Poem-Brut-ii

Illuminations II: Erich Fried
A brilliant second instalment of the Illuminations series, surrounded by friends and family of Erich Fried, presenting new performative and literary responses to his life and works. www.theenemiesproject.com/illuminations

National Poetry Library Special Edition: celebrating Shearsman Books
A chance to read from my collection out this year 'The Guide to Being Bear Aware' alongside poets like Peter Riley, celebrating Shearsman who have been publishing for 35 years. www.stevenjfowler.com/bearaware

Interview with Jana Astanov A quick chat with the new york based Polish multidisciplinary artist about recent things. www.3ammagazine.com/3am/poetry-is-an-opportunity/

Some upcoming other stuff:
August 1st to 31st : An exhibition at Kensal Green Cemetery - Worm Wood, with Tereza Stehlikova
August 31st : Reverse Festival Copenhagen
September 3rd : Fiender - Swedish Enemies in Malmo
September 19th : WOW Festival South Korea
November 15th (to be confirmed) : Illuminations III - Peter Handke
November 22nd : The Poem Brut at Rich Mix - a new programme of events, exhibitions and talks begins, exploring art poems, pansemic writing, abstract portraiture - the intersections between brutalism, text, handwriting and abstract illustration.

A note on: Launching Subcritical Tests in Dublin

I am aware it’s easy to project one’s hopefulness onto places other than where you live, and in the context of launching books and doing events, its true in London I tend to rack them up, so perhaps numbing the experience for myself. But what a beautiful reception in Dublin for the launch of Subcritical Tests. Maybe it was the presence of Gorse as a really brilliant journal birthed by the city and its literary history somehow, or Ailbhe Darcy returning to her city. Maybe it was Poetry Ireland behind it, hosting it in the most grand of buildings. But we had a good hundred people, many students from American university summer schools, around the Dublin literary faces behind and supporting Gorse. And people listened close. We did a reading, just a reading, something I do resist nowadays, feelings its limitations like nails on a chalkboard a lot of the time, feeling oversaturated with the mode, and feeling few are honest about what it can do, and what it can’t do. But here, it was perfect. Ailbhe and I were succinct, in our last moment of a long, three year writing journey, a friendship in a book, reaching a peak of some sort. And as Christodoulos said in his intro – it is a difficult book, a gorgeous thing thanks to Gorse and Niall McCormack’s illustrations, but the content is dense and modern as well as lyrical. It’s not a book to whizz through certainly, not in its making or tone or subject. And then on top of that its collaborative, which seems to distance people for some reason. This was an evening really about friendships, and a community, in a place where it seems to me poetry is taken seriously, perhaps that isn't where I belong- a place I should just visit.  All told, it was a really memorable evening, a fitting end to a three year writing and collaborating journey.

Published: new artpoems in the latest Gorse issue 8

I've said before that I think Gorse to be one of the finest literary journals in the world. I read their impeccably produced issues cover to cover and feel the journal to be edited as beautifully as it made. To have some of my art brut poems, from my upcoming I fear my best work behind me book with Stranger Press in the latest issue is wonderful, not only to share that work, aberrant as it would be to most publications, but also because I knew how beautifully they would present the works. They look amazing on its pages, I couldnt be happier.

You can pick up issue 8 here http://gorse.ie/book/no-8/

A note on: Gorse publishing Subcritical Tests by Ailbhe Darcy & I in 2017

Wonderful that the hugely respected literary journal, Gorse, has announced it will begin publishing outside of its magazine format in the near future, beginning a press, and even more wonderful, that one of its first few titles, and its first poetry book, will be my collaborative collection, Subcritical tests, written with Ailbhe Darcy. The announcement was made here with an interview by Tristan Foster http://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/interview-with-gorse/

Gorse is a perfect place for our book, the situation could not be more fitting and pleasing, can't help but give Ailbhe and I, wading through the poetry sandpit, renewed energy and optimism. Susan Tomaselli, who founded Gorse, is someone who has helped me from within months of my starting writing, and with Gorse, the respect her erudition and activity has always commanded has been quite properly expanded, which is so gratifying to witness.

Gorse’s poetry editor, Christodoulos Makris, is one of the finest poets, innovators and organisers in Europe. His work has been an influence on my own, and to have the chance to work with him directly as an editor is exciting. These relationships should never be underestimated. And Ailbhe, such a remarkable poet. We met on the Yes But Are We Enemies? tour of 2014, beginning writing then about what we felt was pressing, for various reasons - a potential nuclear holocaust, and for well over a year beyond that brilliant few weeks we had been bonded by writing more and more poems on the same theme together, always in correspondence. We discovered how ubiquitous nuclear testing has become since WWII, how truly close the world has come to nuclear destruction, often from snaffus and clumsiness as much as aggression, and how poetic is the process of naming each one of these bombs. The perfect source material to mulch through. And Ailbhe's mulching, so different than mine, maybe not even a word eater as I am, she's an actual poet - so persuasive in her always exacting, intricate graceful work, that she's pulled me, in this book at least, into being more careful, more fixated, and perhaps, by osmosis, I have done the opposite to her, dragging her into the radioactive mud.

More on this soon, an exciting announcement and in the meantime visit, and buy, Gorse http://gorse.ie/.

Published: Prism in Gorse: No.5

One of the very best literary magazines in Europe, if not, without hyperbole, the world. The extraordinary Gorse, genuinely cutting new ground in 21st literature has been kind enough to take some of the very first poems from my new sequence about Edward Snowden and GCHQ, entitled Prism. So lovely to be in the journal alongside some wonderful writers and with such production quality. A thanks to Susan Tomaselli and Christodoulos Makris.

Buy the journal here http://gorse.ie/

Yes But Are We Enemies? diary #6 - London & farewell

There were tears shed at the very end of it. Often the London event, following the time spent in the country of question on Enemies tours can feel like an afterthought, a rounding up. This was all its own thing, packed with people, full of great performances and full of its own energy. What can be said about #YBAWE? It was perhaps, overall, the best thing I've been a part of in the project so far. So good was the time in Ireland, in the cities and travelling, with the beautiful core poets and the local others we met along the way. So good was the work, the poetry, and so satisfying the feeling at the end as at the beginning. Not the last time Ireland will be in my thoughts for poetry I am sure.
Pascal O'Loughlin & Marcus Slease https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnZ7JsYRQ90
Kim Campanello & Kit Fryatt https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsV6VJ2CXdM
Christodoulos Makris & SJ Fowler https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeUG10BuZBA
Ailbhe Darcy & Patrick Coyle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FrbwJDo0rA
Sam Riviere & Billy Ramsell https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iI1qJD4Dwys

Yes But Are We Enemies? diary #5 - Dublin : the end of our Ireland

One of the best Enemies events I've ever been a part of. Hard to describe just how intense, and how brilliant this event felt. Very much, it would seem to me, to be a culmination of a variety of circumstance. The first being the underappreciation of the strength of the Irish avant garde. Here poets of that ilk came together, from Cork to Derry, from Dublin and beyond to share a series of works so radically different in their experimentation, but all wonderful in their power and authenticity, that it became undeniable there is an amazing thing happening right now in Ireland. From audiovisual collaboration, to performance art, to found text, to multivocal readings, the event did what we initially planned this tour might do, and it gave a home, and created a platform for really diverse writers to prove us right. It was also in the Writers Centre, a beautiful place, but known perhaps for its formality, and we crammed it, filled most of the two rooms, and somehow used the ornate nature of the surroundings to intensify the intimacy of the works. We also preceded it with a Q&A, which became, in a gentle way, a discussion with a hypothesis, about collaboration and the Irish tradition. Had the following hours poetry been a damp squib, we might have appeared foolish, but seeing its fire and its clear success as an enterprise, all the more it was as though we had convinced the audience about the salience of our ideas. And finally, it was the last Irish date for us six travelling, and assorted others, and it felt like a goodbye of sorts, because it was. I had such a wonderful time reading with Billy and the others, and really felt as relaxed as I can remember feeling at such an occasion. The videos below bear this out. 

Anamaria Crowe Serrano & Alan Jude Moore https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtF-GGgfZug
Michael Shanks & Cal Doyle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1C9NnKwxnU
Aodan McCardle & Ailbhe Hines https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHwymwq82uI
Sam Riviere & Ailbhe Darcy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofoUxakKZ8A
Christodoulos Makris & Patrick Coyle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPhuZ7INV-0

Yes But Are We Enemies? diary #4 - Cork

Time is bending, feeling like a lot longer than less than a week since we were in Belfast, and writing about things that have happened a day ago while doing things I'll write about in a day. Cork was perhaps the highlight of the tour so far. A city without anything overbearing it but itself, that is it felt like a real city, a fully one rounded one, and Billy's hometown. Again I was driven to Cork, passing the magical Bunratty and Ballygibbon, while Billy and I chatted about Ireland and Irish things, amongst poetry discussion. I got to see where he grew up, got to really about Cork before I explored it myself. We stayed by the University, and it was freshers week, but also near Fitzgerald park and the beautiful hidden riverpaths that lead East out of the city. The city was perfectly lovely, though I was stared at relentlessly. Long, strange, intent stares. Not sure why.The reading itself was a grand success. The venue, in the Triskel arts centre, was packed, 50 seated, at least another 20 standing. It really felt as if Cork's poetry scene was highly developed, full of festivals, visiting poets, an active community. It was lively discussions preceding the readings, and getting to meet Paul Casey, Afric McGlinchey, Doireann Ni Ghriofa, Sarah Hayden, Rachel Warriner beforehand, I realised they all organised readings, had their own presses, taught in schools, translated between languages and so forth. It felt much more like a Camarade event in London with each pair bringing an openness, a volume and an individuality that some other readings can't achieve because they feel like the first time the poets have been given the chance to collaborate and communicate in this way. Not so in Cork, all the 7 pairs delivered with a palpable sense of enthusiasm that spread through the attentive audience. Sarah Hayden & Rachel Warriner https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wS7UGRrOctg
Doireann Ni Ghriofa & Cal Doyle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRY5g9Jw_bI
Eleanor Hooker & Sarah Hesketh https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2ZrvlKgyyU
Paul Casey & Afric McGlinchey https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYwa8SwfYkY
Christodoulos Makris & Sam Riviere https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qefcQINZyI
Billy Ramsell & Patrick Coyle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdQmG16sfwk

Yes But Are We Enemies? diary #3 - Galway

The difference a three hour car ride through the north west of Ireland can make. The intensity of Derry for the easy gait of Galway. The change was pretty extreme. I rode in Billy Ramsell's car with Ailbhe Darcy, while the unfortunates got the bus. Nothing like a poet's road trip, and with Billy, a gentle education in Irish history (welcomed, asked for), Irish language (and it's poetry), and Trad music (which is uniformly beautiful). Galway itself was like a small, Leprechaun ridden Barcelona. The volume of tourists, tourist bars, tourist shops, students, and people in general was pretty surprising to me, and the hot weather (apparently extremely rare) made for a change of tone. But runs down on the seaside, against the atlantic, and the food and the friendliness of the people made it apparent why so many people love it as a place. Again the cohesion and care the group has for each other was palpable, we all ate together on what was really our first day without a reading.
A full day in Galway and then to the arts centre for the reading itself. Some beautiful contributions from Elaine Cosgrove, Anamaria Crowe Serrano, Susan Millar DuMars, Kevin Higgins, Eleanor Hooker, the wonderful Sarah Hesketh who'd come all the way from London to join us, and Sam and Ailbhe, the genuine talent of the latter bringing some non-ironic feelings out of the former for the first time in his life I'm sure. My performance with Christodoulos was a wee bit unexpected by the audience perhaps, a bit more performative, or contradictory, or combustible than they'd expected, and in contrast to the gentility of the fine poetry beforehand, it was noticeable, the discomfort. I am glad we did it, despite not wanting to make people feel awkward, I do believe that is a valid aesthetic reaction and guards against the complacency and comfort that often lazy lyrical poetry can bring. Moreover, it is a very real part of what this tour and project stands for, that the avant garde of Ireland has been smothered and needs its platform with the more 'poetic' poetry. By the time Patrick was utilising repetition as a humourous and interrogative tool against listeners complacency we had got a walkout! Strike one for the project. Elaine Cosgrove & Anamaria Crowe Serrano https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKMA65LAczM
Susan Millar DuMars & Kevin Higgins https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4g7y-Tf0YE
Sarah Hesketh & Eleanor Hooker https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tzhXDGmcZE
Christodoulos Makris & myself https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pauNrHzFVo
Patrick Coyle & Billy Ramsell https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9mkefRikHk
Ailbhe Darcy & Sam Riviere https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnmY5ek5WF

Yes But Are We Enemies? diary #2 - Derry

The feeling between the people on this project is already so exceptionally close and generous that it's really taken me aback. I always expect these things to be positive, but to go from space to space with such warmth and endless conversations between all those involved, to have such humour present, and for it to be so palpable, and so in the work, it's just wonderfully gratifying. All this set against the intensity of Derry was very engaging to say the least. It is such a distinct and powerful city, Derry, so tense though, it has to be said. The time I had there will stay with me, going from the Bogside area, the Free Derry museum, to the Guildhall, with it plantation history and its Londonderry Derry, there is such a such a historicity, of didactic opinion that, far more than my experience of Belfast, I felt it everywhere. I was staying in a heavily Republican area and even got into some conversations about my English accent, friendly ones, but real all the same. I found myself casually reading a book left out on a bookshelf for people to read in a cafe about the siege of Derry, called Never Surrender. I witnessed a march of orangemen through the city. The people are wonderful, hospitable and kind, and outwardly friendly, but the oft referred to history of the place is not a misnomer, not an ossified piece of some tourists myth. It is there, breathable, in the place, and in the poets too. All this is the context of such lovely times with Ailbhe, Billy, Patrick, Christodoulos, Sam and others.
The great strength of our event in Derry was the width and experimentation of the poets and their performances. So wonderful to see the work of Aodan McCardle, Ailbhe Hines, James King, Ellen Factor and others, all based in Derry, so experimentally vibrant and brilliant, complimenting the overall feeling of an Enemies event. This is the cutting edge of the Irish avant garde, that which should be far more prominent in the country and is thirsty for a chance to show itself it seems to me. The verbal arts centre was a wonderful venue and our event was part of the Irish wide culture night programme.
Aodan McCardle & Ailbhe Hines - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFOuyaTGC9M
James Kings & Ellen Factor - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCvh120LEoA
Sophie Collins & Robert Maclean - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kUvGWTQhic
Sam Riviere & Billy Ramsell - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKvIQ0CjYdw
Patrick Coyle & Christodoulos Makris - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avfeSPNk7Ic

Yes But Are We Enemies? diary #1 : Belfast - a beginning

An extraordinary beginning to the Yes But Are We Enemies? project in Ireland, the wonderful poets of Belfast couldn't have been more generous and hospitable, and enthusiastic, to us and the idea. Such a privilege to meet so many I have admired from afar in person, including Billy Ramsell, Ailbhe Darcy, Robert Maclean, Susan Tomaselli, Damian Smyth, and to be taken in so fully by the amazing young poets around the University and the Heaney Centre in Belfast like Manuela Moser, Stephen Sexton and Padraig Regan. After arriving and exploring the city a wee bit, I was taken in to a bookshop lock-in by Stephen Connolly who has created a real scene around the Lifeboat reading series before we headed to the Crescent Arts Centre. The readings were uniformly intense and generous, and the vibe, as so often is the case with Enemies, was really warm and cohesive, and carried on into the night after the poetry. Such a great way to begin our tour. 
Stephen Connolly & Stephen Sexton - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGEISvlX-7U
Padraig Regan & Manuela Moser - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgc2OR8uL3Y
Sophie Collins & Robert Maclean - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yo9_BrrmBZU
Caitlin Newby & Andy Eaton - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxpcE3Rv3s8
Tom Saunders & Lorcan Mullan - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q03_BFgpoOY
Patrick Coyle & Ailbhe Darcy - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUw3x4W0fXk
Sam Riviere & Christodoulos Makris - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5K9yYcSHGQ

Christodoulos Makris' article on contemporary Irish avant garde poetry

http://jacket2.org/article/monoculture-beer-no-more a few excerpts of a brilliant and timely article

a criticism of performance poetry everywhere is that it suffers from an anti-intellectualist attitude, which leaves the work rooted in the safe realm of the populist. Another is that it places too much emphasis on identity writing with an over-reliance on flourish or a clearly defined, easy-to-follow narrative. Essentially, on manipulating its audience into assent. These are fair criticisms to extend to the Irish spoken word scene. In general, an easily identifiable agenda surrounds the performance poem in Ireland. It brooks no uncertainties regarding its ideological position. In its eagerness to become understood and accepted at once, it eschews nonlinearity or complexity and aims to flatten experience into a series of cause and effect connections. A sense of interrogation taking place in the process of composition is lost through its collapse into a single dimension.

*  With concrete or visual, sound, and, especially, forms of poetry that make use of conceptual writing strategies having remained stubbornly rare in Ireland, it’s mystifying how little attention has been paid to poets who have at one time or another adopted them. Evidence that, when prompted, writers here would be keen to engage more with experimental writing processes was seen during the UpStart collective’s poster campaign in the run-up to the February 2011 general election. Many of the text-based material erected then among the party political posters were clear examples of concrete or conceptual poetry. Context and medium were crucial; these were understood, by their authors and readers/viewers, as forms of slogans, with questions of politics, protest, public art, and temporariness vital to their acceptance as poetry.

Why I am excited for Yes But Are We Enemies? an outside view of Irish poetry

I've had the great fortune to travel during my life, and recently (perversely) often through poetry. Yet, I've never been outside of Dublin in Ireland, never been outside of Belfast in Northern Ireland. Moreover, when I've spent time in Manchester and Edinburgh, and made public my admiration for the depth and consideration of the poetry scene in both those places, centred on, but not exclusive to, the Other Room and Caesura, so those local to the place have expressed surprise that I should feel that way so vehemently. What was most often said of the Auld Enemies grand show success at Summerhall in Edinburgh just last month was that only an outsider could've had a hand in such an event coming together. So my being an outsider to Ireland has allowed me to watch, over the last year or two, a distinct and decisive blossoming of extraordinary writers, poets, editors and curators coming out of those nations. It is too frequent that a poet of quality, that I will then go on to watch for, to invite, to follow, will come out of the Irish nations, that it might be an accident. 

Darran Anderson was my predecessor at 3am magazine, to him I owe the job of poetry editor there, and much more besides. His writing, and the clear energy of literary impetus is extraordinary. http://darrananderson.com/ Susan Tomaselli has been doing for me, for my repute as it were, what often poets long for and few get, actual consideration and unexpected support. Her work with Gorse is nothing but a revelation, it is a singular project, and a magazine I will submit to for every issue, fail and or succeed. http://gorse.ie/ Michael Shank's Bohemyth is another extraordinary publication, genuinely marked out from its peers by its intensity and width, and the editorial care that Michael selflessly throws into it. http://thebohemyth.com/ Colony is an outstanding publication too, edited by a team that includes Kim Campanello, Dave Lordan, Anamaria Crowe Serrano and Rob Doyle, all of them authors whose work represents the quality of the magazine. http://www.colony.ie/ Kim herself represents the depth of connection to Ireland that currently resides in London, and has informed and expanded, palpably, the scene I am actively a part of. Pascal O'Loughlin, Robert Kiely, Stephen Mooney, Sarah Kelly, Becky Cremin, Philip Terry ... all hold Irish passports of one kind or another, all are brilliant, and perhaps united, by being profoundly underappreciated. I'll say nothing of whether the famous Irish poets of the last half century have strangled any appreciation for just how inventive and truly Avant Garde Irish poetry is and has been, as I'm not Irish and I don't know enough. What I do know, with absolutely certainty, these poets, above and below, are extraordinary, and aren't considered so by more than a few hundred people. If this project makes it a thousand (or two), then I'll sleep better.

& Rob Doyle, whose book sits on my shelf, recently catapulted quite deservedly (and all the more rarely for that fact) into a literary exposure I could not have been more pleased to watch happen http://robdoyle.net/ There's Aodan McCardle, who I saw perform in London before I published a poem, who leaves behind him here, while making similarly important work in Ireland, a legacy that generations will remember in Veer press. There's James Cummins, who I saw storm up Prague this May. There's Stephen Connolly, who I've had the pleasure to publish and invite to read in London, who is markedly, no matter where he might be from, one of the more generous and intelligent younger poets working today. There's Damian Smyth, a more open and supportive curator I have yet to come across from the distance I have been lucky enough to know him so far. There are these names, and so many more, whom I have read and whom I have the pleasure and privilege of meeting in the latter half of September - Kit Fryatt, Cal Doyle, Eleanor Hooker, Ailbhe Hines, Doireann Ni Ghriofa, James King, and many others,  please search them out, you will be better for doing so. 

I will not yet write about my co-tourees, Sam Riviere, an old friend who lives in Belfast, Ailbhe Darcy, Billy Ramsell, Patrick Coyle, as I will have plenty of time to do so during my tour diaries and this is about what is in front of me, that which is happening in Ireland now. But I will finish by speaking of Christodoulos Makris, someone who I'm very proud to say has become a friend since I interviewed him for my Maintenant series a fair few years ago now. I could not have found a better and more responsible and generous co-curator and collaborator for this project. He has managed to be so many things at once, in his work and in his person, humorous and warm, yet dignified and serious, experimental and innovative, and yet never trenchant or posturing, Irish and Cypriot, and yet neither / both of these. His recent work is up on 3am http://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/chances-are/ Have a look at 'Chances are' and the poetry of it speaks up itself. 

This is the right time to be exploring Ireland, and not just through poetry, but through collaboration in poetry, something that forces creative sociality, friendships, communication and bonds, made face to facem that I hope, being relatively young in my life, will last many decades into the future

Yes But Are We Enemies? an Irish Enemies project

6 locales : over 30 poets : a national tour of Ireland
& brand new innovative poetic collaborations : an Irish Enemies project

I’m very happy to announce Yes But Are We Enemies? an Irish Enemies project. Beginning on September 18th in Belfast and visiting Derry, Galway, Cork, Dublin and finishing in London on September 27th, YBAWE is a multinational project about collaboration and innovation in contemporary poetry.

Six core poets, 3 Irish, 3 English, will present new collaborative works across the six date tour. At each reading they will be joined by numerous pairs of locally based poets. Every event features never before seen collaborative works.

Yes But Are We Enemies, co-curated by Christodoulos Makris, is fundamentally about the creation of new collaborative works and the integration of differing poetic communities, and has only been possible through the generosity of a series of organisational partners, first and foremost The Arts Council of Ireland / An Chomhairle Ealaíon and The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, through their Touring and Dissemination of Work scheme.

Please find below the schedule and the poet's involved, and if possible, do spread the word, and attend all and any of the events you can. ALL EVENTS ARE FREE:

Thu 18 September, 8pm: Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast
Stephen Connolly & Stephen Sexton
Manuela Moser & Padraig Regan
Sophie Collins & Robert Maclean
Caitlin Newby & Andy Eaton
Tom Saunders & Lorcan Mullen
Christodoulos Makris & Sam Riviere
Billy Ramsell & SJ Fowler
Ailbhe Darcy & Patrick Coyle

Fri 19 September, 8pm: Verbal Arts Centre, Derry
Aodán McCardle & Ailbhe Hines
James King & Ellen Factor
Christodoulos Makris & Patrick Coyle
Billy Ramsell & Sam Riviere
Ailbhe Darcy & SJ Fowler
Sophie Collins & Robert Maclean

Sun 21 September, 8pm: Galway Arts Centre, Galway
Elaine Cosgrove & Anamaría Crowe Serrano
Elaine Feeney & Kevin Higgins
Eleanor Hooker & Sarah Hesketh
Christodoulos Makris & SJ Fowler
Billy Ramsell & Patrick Coyle
Ailbhe Darcy & Sam Riviere

Tue 23 September, 8pm: Triskel Arts Cenre, Cork
Christodoulos Makris & Sam Riviere
Billy Ramsell & Patrick Coyle
Ailbhe Darcy & SJ Fowler
Sarah Hayden & Rachel Warriner
David Toms & James Cummins
Doireann Ni Ghriofa & Cal Doyle
Paul Casey & Afric McGlinchey
Sarah Hesketh & TBA

Thu 25 September, 7pm: Irish Writers' Centre, Dublin
A discussion moderated by Susan Tomaselli
Christodoulos Makris & Patrick Coyle
Billy Ramsell & SJ Fowler
Ailbhe Darcy & Sam Riviere
Rob Doyle & Dave Lordan
Michael Naghten Shanks & Cal Doyle
John Kearns & Kit Fryatt
Anamaría Crowe Serrano & Alan Jude Moore

Sat 27 September, 7pm: Rich Mix Arts Centre, London
Christodoulos Makris & SJ Fowler
Billy Ramsell & Sam Riviere
Ailbhe Darcy & Patrick Coyle
Kimberly Campanello & Kit Fryatt
Pascal O’Loughlin & Marcus Slease
Robert Kiely & Sarah Kelly
Becky Cremin & Stephen Mooney
Sophie Collins & Livia Franchini
+ Philip Terry, Sarah Hesketh & more

Yes But Are We Enemies? follows Auld Enemies, Fjender and Wrogowie as international Enemies projects in 2014, and will be followed in 2015 with a another series of similarly innovative projects outside of the UK.

www.weareenemies.com supported by Arts Council England.

four poems from Iraq in Colony

http://www.colony.ie/#!sjfowler/c1p49 the wonderful Irish journal Colony has published my four translations from the Iraqi poets I worked with for the Reel Iraq project a few months ago. A huge honour to have had the time with them. 

"A product of the remarkable Reel Iraq project in April 2014, where four British and four Iraqi poets spent a week together in the Safeen mountains of Kurdistan, I had the pleasure to spend time meeting and transliterating the work of Ahmad Abdel Hussein, Miriam Al Attar, Ali Wajeh and Zhawen Shally. These works appear without their Arabic originals to emphasise that in the process of their being reconstructed into English, I have transliterated, rather than translated the original poems, and while I was as loyal as I found myself able to be (feeling deeply responsible to the poets, if not the poems, I have actually been very careful to maintain the original texts, by my own mangling standards), they now exist somewhere between myself and the original authors, in a no man’s land of sorts, possessed by neither, and better for that. They are four complete failures. – SJ Fowler

in the name of god (lower case)
transliterated from the Arabic of Ahmed Abdel Hussein

you are the well of thirst
you are the black prize in the mouth of the wolf

leave off your endless light of miracles
which lights up the name of Iraq
raise up your blindfold
which has been gently knotted upon the eyes of Baghdad
gather the decorations of war from the thresholds of home
turn the guns of battle
to brooms, so that they might not kill
snuff out that light which propagates the darkness of the mothernight
and don’t leave my lover to course in dread
from her home to the halls, and from the halls to her home
but print on her heart instead, the furthest stars
until she knows while she’s tightening her hijab
that you are the rictus grin that proceeds death

2 Incidents of Anti-Semitism in the Bohemyth

http://thebohemyth.com/ A real powerful magazine surge of poetry from Ireland at the moment. The Honest Ulsterman, Gorse and the Bohemyth on the spear point, and the relaunch issue of the latter carries with it two of my Incidents of Anti-Semitism poems. This book, the Incidents of Anti-Semitism, is probably my most intensive engagement with writing so far, took me years to write, whittling down hundreds of poems, all ostensibly aiming to engage with paradoxical and unreachable notions of anti-semitism in the UK and in Europe, hoping to be a work that shows through that experimentation in form is necessary when correctly employed. A few have appeared in the Other Room anthology and VLAK but by and large I've kept them hidden as they were due out as a collection but that got held up. Bit by bit I'm going to let them out into the world in 2014, hoping the book comes out in the next few years. Anyway, check out the new Bohemyth, and be sure to look up the work of Darran Anderson and Kim Campanello in the issue, amazing writers. http://thebohemyth.com/2013/12/07/steven-j-fowler/