A note on: Swedenborg Hall : April 11th : London launch of new poetry collection

Swedenborg Hall, Bloomsbury - April Tuesday 11th 7.30pm : Free Entry
www.shearsman.com/shearsman-reading-events 20 Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2TH

I'm happy to announce my new poetry collection will be launched in London at the home of the Emanuel Swedenborg Society, in Bloomsbury.  Part of the longstanding Shearsman Books reading series, The Guide to Being Bear Aware will be launched with a new performance relating to both book and place.

More info on the book www.stevenjfowler.com/bearaware and at the Shearsman site.

Also launching a new book on the night will be John Hall, who has been publishing extraordinary work for over fifty years in the UK and is a significant influence on myself and many of my generation. So come and see one real poet and I. 

Published: a collaboration with John Hall in the Clearing

A lovely legacy of the South West Poetry Tour this past summer the excellent Clearing magazine are putting out a series of the new works the tour instigated. My contribution is my work with the brilliant John Hall. An honour to be alongside him in e-print. The work is entitled The 7th Poet.

 https://www.littletoller.co.uk/the-clearing/uncategorized/south-west-poetry-tour-3-sj-fowler-john-hall/

A note on: The Long White Thread - poems for John Berger

Delighted to have a new poem, dedicated to the man himself, in this new anthology released for John Berger's 90th birthday by Smokestack Books. http://smokestack-books.co.uk/book.php?book=124

"Novelist, draughtsman, film-maker, essayist and critic – John Berger is one of the major European intellectuals of our time. Since the 1950s he has been challenging the way we see the world and how we think about it in books like Ways of Seeing, Permanent Red, To the Wedding, A Painter of Our Time, Pig Earth, Once in Europa, Lilac and Flag, A Seventh Man, Pages of the Wound and From A to X. In 1972 he won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Booker Prize for his novel G. In 2009 he was awarded the Golden PEN award by London PEN for a lifetime’s contribution to literature. His Collected Poems was published in 2014. The Long White Thread of Words is a celebration of John Berger’s ninetieth birthday by poets from all over the world. Edited by Amarjit Chandan, Gareth Evans and Yasmin Gunarat nam, it features poets from Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Cuba, France, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Kenya, Macedonia, Nigeria, Palestine, Spain, Turkey, the USA and the UK"

The bear stands upon its hind legs - SJ Fowler

Metaphor is needed. Metaphor is temporary. It does not replace theory.
            John Berger A Seventh Man

Doubt is the product of a book.

At this point in the film, not believing he’d done it, the interviewer asks the executive whether the project will harm people? Everything in the wrong dose will harm people is the reply....

A note on: South West Poetry Tour - St Ives, Falmouth, Dartington

For latest blogs on the tour visit www.stevenjfowler.com/southwest 

A collaborative poetry tour of Cornwall, Devon and Somerset spread over a week in August 2016. A project I co-curated with Camilla Nelson, bringing over 70 poets together over 5 nights, the first Enemies project style tour I've done in England, writing new works every night with core poets JR CarpenterJohn HallMatti SpenceAnnabel Banks and Camilla herself.  It was a memorable week, a return to old places and friends, and the beginning of new ventures. For much more information and documentation visithttp://www.theenemiesproject.com/southwest

St Ives - August 1st 2016

I was born in Cornwall, in Truro, and I grew up as a small child in Newquay. This was the first reading I'd ever given in the county and the first time I had been back since I was a teenager. St Ives, famous for its artistic community, welcomed us with torrential rain. Annabel Banks drove me from London, picking up other poets on the way, for a rare and joyful road trip south. We arrived at night, nearly ten hours on the road, and accommodation famously being at a premium in one of the UK's summer tourism hotspots, I jumped out of the car in a dark lane to enter a property called the hobbit hole, which was a shed with a bed in a garden. Actually quite fun to live, briefly, like a hobbit.

The reading itself was held at the Barbara Hepworth museum, and supported by Tate St Ives. I was told afterwards that we were in the very room in which Barbara Hepworth died of smoke inhalation. Surrounded by her sculptures, it was an unforgettable space to read within. I met many poets for the first time, some after long correspondence, met the core touring poets as a group for the first time, and had the great pleasure to read with John Hall. His work has been influential on my own ever since I began to trace the line of my own interests back through British poetry to the 60s and before. He published his first book in 1968, and his rare poise, presence and judgement as a poet and a person was great to share, if briefly, as we read our piece in such a special room. I tried simply to follow his rhythm, his play with silence and pause and I felt very comfortable in that space, almost not like a reading for me, closer to a performance of reading.

St Ives provided a fascinating beginning to the tour, quite intense in a strange way - the weather, the tourists, sleeping in a shed, bombarded with new faces and hearing new poetry and being responsible for that. Already a sense that things are moving quickly, picking up steam, switching modes to performance and travel, and to start this near the very foot of the country, to work north, as feels natural to me.

Falmouth - August 2nd 2016

A journey across Cornwall, weather lightening, energy rising, travelling with Camilla, a remarkable poet and immensely organised and responsible as a co-curator. Luxurious accommodation too, with a landlady who even came to the reading and insisted on baking me vegan cookies. We were housed at The Poly for the event, with young, helpful, accommodating staff. And I got to work with Matti Spence, a fascinating and generous man, a fine poet. I first met him after he returned to London from some years away in Australia and after he had studied a UEA. Completely assured and singular, while being essentially warm hearted, Matti is a peer to learn from. We wrote a poem I was very happy with and decided then to turn it performatively, breaking the fourth wall, and using the assumed context of the reading against the audience, in a light-hearted way. A lovely touch for me was that my old friend and collaborator Thomas Duggan attended, his studio being deep in the Cornish countryside, and I hugged him mid reading. Everyone seemed lifted by the event, the format of collaboration once again creating ties and bonding people from different scenes and styles. 

Dartington - August 3rd 2016

Back into Devon, driving up with Camilla and Matti, skirting Dartmoor, crossing the Tamar, heading to Schumacher College, near where I grew up as a teenager in Exeter. Another strange return, but realising on the tour that it isn't a return when the company and purpose is utterly new. And in Dartington it felt the most fresh, like I had not been to this part of England before. This is perhaps because Schumacher College is so unique, set apart in the countryside, an ecosystem unto itself. Staying in dorms too, cells, made the experience feel really embedded and somehow enclosed. This was a remarkable evening of poetry too, a full house again, with some brilliant collaborations highlighting an evening that felt complete, energised, memorable. It was inevitable the lineage of Dartington College of Arts would cast a spell on the reading, and so many in the room had ties to that institution (more here on that), and multi-disciplinary practise and performance art was a key feature of the collaborations. 

Collaborating with JR Carpenter was a blast. We took a text she had generated with her computer, basically three simple phrases and then, introducing ourselves with a little bit of water pouring, on theme, used repetition to build an improvisational structure. I love this kind of work, completely open, free and high pressured. It requires time and expertise to do well, and can be a dud on the wrong night. This wasn't, it flowed, as we leaned into each other, swaying slightly, the clear purpose of the work was well expressed, well received and seemed all the more satisfying to me because in a way, it was a small work, miniature and light. It represented the moment, it was of the space, and very much a product of the tour.

We finished the evening in the White Hart, where Dartington College of Art, before it's merger with Falmouth University in 2010, held many events, many long nights. I sat with John Hall, who taught at the institution for 34 years, and he told me of the poets who had read in the room and the history of the place. It felt a very special privilege to hear that from him and to imagine our event as a small, brief, resurgence of that tradition in the area.

A note on: States of Mind events I & II at Wellcome Collection: July 7th & 14th

A highpoint to speak and curate at Wellcome Collection for these three events as part of their States of Mind: Tracing the edge of consciousness exhibition. I've had the chance to bring together some of the finest neuroscientists, psychologists, artists, speakers and thinkers working today, and curate these evenings as complimentary in their differences, letting new questions be asked through the presentations, rather than trying to tie together complex threads on a very complex issue - consciousness itself.

The first event focused on poetry and consciousness, language really, and the second on sound and consciousness. Both were a pleasure to put together and amazing to witness. Daniel Margulies, Noah Hutton, Jen Calleja, Maja Jantar, Nick Ryan, Vincent Moon and John Gruzelier have all spoken wonderfully, insightfully and the sold out audiences have seemed engaged and pleasantly surprised by the variance of expertise.

I also had the chance to speak at the first event, talking about poetry and consciousness, which has been a concern of mine for sometime, in the sense that I studied philosophy with an emphasis on phenomenology towards the end and am always trying to probe at the why underneath my practise and the genre in general, especially through recent teaching experiences. Unfortunately during this talk I had to wear a headset and look like a member of a 90s boyband, but you can't have it all. I looked how I felt. 

A note on: States of Mind - 3 events in July for Wellcome Collection

States of Mind: Tracing the edges of consciousness
3 events in July 2016 at Wellcome Collection

Great to be speaking at and curating three events for Wellcome Collection's exhibition on consciousness, States of Mind. These events will bring together expertise from a wide array of fields, from neuroscience to performance art, from philosophy to filmmaking, in order to explore the notion of consciousness through the concepts of language, sound and narrative. www.stevenjfowler.com/statesofmind

Through informal academic talks alongside newly commissioned artworks, the variance of speakers, with their uniformly exciting and innovative approaches to the notion of consciousness, will ensure three remarkable events, free to attend, this July, in London.

https://wellcomecollection.org/exhibitions/states-mind-tracing-edges-consciousness Tickets available from late June.

The Poetry of Consciousness

Thursday 7 July, 19.00-20.30

FREE | TICKETED at Wellcome Collection

From the perspective of the neuroscientist, the poet, the translator - a discussion of the role of language in constituting our consciousness, presenting talks and newly commissioned works for performance on the night.

Featuring: Daniel Margulies, SJ Fowler, Noah Hutton & Jen Calleja.

The Sound of Consciousness

Thursday 14 July, 19.00-20.30

FREE | TICKETED at Wellcome Collection

This event asks what role sound takes in shaping our experience and understanding of consciousness and offers artist’s reflections on the pivotal role sound has in the firmament of our daily lives, drawing from the worlds of neuroscience, anthropology, film, composition and sound poetry.

Featuring: John Gruzelier, Nick Ryan, Vincent Moon & Maja Jantar.

The Narrative of Consciousness

Thursday 21 July, 19.00-20.30

FREE | TICKETED at Wellcome Collection

Within and without language, how does the notion of narrative define our experience of the world through consciousness? An event featuring some of the most dynamic contemporary artists, neuroscientists and writers, exploring how narrative interacts with consciousness and what happens when this begins to break down, whether through trauma or conditions like aphasia.

Featuring: Lotje Sodderland, Srivas Chennu, Sam Winston and Barry Smith.

A note on: Magma Poetry's National Conversation Event: Peel & Portion - Jan 15th 2016

A real pleasure to spend an evening the company of the Magma magazine audience, for an event exploring drafting, its process and concepts, curated by John Canfield and hosted by Patrick Davidson Roberts. I always enjoy speaking to people who aren’t perhaps familiar with my work, or even the philosophies that underpin, who see modernism or the avant-garde as something alien (though I don’t want to assume too much). It was an evening where the insights given by Rebecca Perry and Kathryn Maris, both of whom spoke wonderfully, complimented my more discursive, fundamental questions and ideas. And the audience really seemed to engage with this, the collective impetus of the event, and the notion that I want to question certain assumed ideas about what drafting means, from the creative impulse, to the notion of a language idea, to refining, to what might be called a finished piece. And that these questions aren’t necessarily antagonistic to more confirmed notions, that seem to proffer control of language in poetry. I was really touched to have quite a few people stop me after speaking and share their thoughts and enthusiasm and was very grateful to John and the team at Magma for having me involved in a really positive event in the lovely environs of the Teahouse Theatre in Vauxhall.

A note on: performance videos from Soundings I & III, with Emma Bennett and Maja Jantar

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

Drawing Breath: an installation at St John, Bethnal Green

Very happy to be a part of drawing breath, an installation which explores representations and interpretations of 'Air' in the belfry and gallery at St John on Bethnal Green, London E2 9PA

EVENTS
Thursday 7th May    6.30 - 9pm Opening event - pay bar.    (First Thursday
Saturday 16th May  6.30 - 9pm Closing event - pay bar  7.15 - Dance performance  7.45 Jenny Chamarette 'in conversation' 
Open:  May 8th, 9th,10th, 14th, 15th  1-5pm 

'Elemental Dialogues - Air' is a practice-led research project. It explores what happens when the short film Air is handed over to a network of poets /writers, sound artists/musicians, and scholars, with the original soundtrack removed. Each contributor then produces an interpretation of Air, through their own diverse practice. These interpretations are then re-embedded into the film, creating new, pluridisciplinary artworks, each of which tells a different and sometimes radically unexpected story.

Contributing writers and composers: Briony Bennet, Tami Haaland, Joan McGavin, SJ Fowler, Owen Lowery, Kate Koning, Brian Evans-Jones, Marcus Slease, Angela Rawlings, Sachiko Murakami, Steve Kemper, Abby Wollston, Tara Stuckey, Howard Moody, Jan Hendrickse, Sebastiane Hegarty, Aaron D'Sa, Deepak Venkateshvaran, Howard Moody, Stephen Emmerson

visit www.talkthinkmake.wordpress.com for information about the project and the artists. www.annacady.com www.elementaldialogues.co.uk

Peter Jaeger: John Cage & Buddhist Ecopoetics

Peter Jaeger has really been an inspiration for me for sometime. Not only his masterful poetics, refined, precise, conceptually superlative, but also as a person, he has an immense aura of calm and is so refined in his warmth and genuity. I saw him speak at the London Buddhist society about this book some time ago and have been awaiting its release since. Great its with such a big publisher. I managed also to have him speak at the Hardy tree this summer and just this last weekend at the Southbank centre, on Cage in some form in both instances. Just wonderful to be associated with such a poet, and I'm sure being one of his students at Roehampton must be some privilege. Go and get this book now, it's a unique and brilliant undertaking. http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/john-cage-and-buddhist-ecopoetics-9781441117526/ 

"John Cage was among the first wave of post-war American artists and intellectuals to be influenced by Zen Buddhism and it was an influence that led him to become profoundly engaged with our current ecological crisis. In John Cage and Buddhist Ecopoetics, Peter Jaeger asks: what did Buddhism mean to Cage? And how did his understanding of Buddhist philosophy impact on his representation of nature? Following Cage’s own creative innovations in the poem-essay form and his use of the ancient Chinese text, the I Ching to shape his music and writing, this book outlines a new critical language that reconfigures writing and silence.

Interrogating Cage’s ‘green-Zen’ in the light of contemporary psychoanalysis and cultural critique as well as his own later turn towards anarchist politics, John Cage and Buddhist Ecopoetics provides readers with a critically performative site for the Zen-inspired “nothing” which resides at the heart of Cage’s poetics, and which so clearly intersects with his ecological writing."

Hack the Barbican, featuring Sharon Gal

The Music Hackspace Performances @ Hack the Barbican is an event curated by Blanca Regina, on the 15th of August from 19:00 till 23:00pm. Club Stage, Barbican Centre- Free entrance.

On this occasion, 6 acts by various artists showcase and perform audiovisual pieces that illustrate the diversity of practices and aesthetics of the Music Hackspace. The event will be presented by Jean-Baptiste Thiebaut, who co-founded Music Hackspace in 2011. 
Artists include in order of live acts for the event: 

ʻLive voice ʼ by Iris Garrelfs http://www.irisgarrelfs.com/
Iris Garrelfs presents a vocal project, where uses her voice and processes it developing an abstraction that in the end comes to release the voice into a new configuration.

Blanca Regina and Leafcutter John, Improvisation with special guest Steve Beresford 
www.whiteemotion.comwww.leafcutterjohn.com
http://www.efi.group.shef.ac.uk/mberes.html

The duo of Blanca Regina and Leafcutter John engages improvisation, technology and live sound and video.Voices, glitches, objects and visuals are the main elements for this playful audio-visual performance.Throughout this year they've performed at Music Hackspace several times, developing a multi sensorial improvisation that follows the path of the unexpected, melting their identities with animalistic and other-world creatures. 

Sharon Gal “solo performace” 
http://www.sharon-gal.com/
Sharon Gal is a cross-disciplinary artist, performer and experimental musician. Her practice involves vocal and electronics, free improvisation, collaborative group & site
specific performances, field recordings and radio broadcasts. Sharon Gal proposes a performance where she will be doing a set for voice and electronics.

More info at http://musichackspace.org/musichackspace-performanceshackthebarbican-15th-august-barbican-centre/