A note on: Undergoing Rorschach testing live at Illuminations launch...

The Austrian Illuminations Anthology launch was a surprisingly intense evening. Always with launches things are smaller, there's nothing to make, the book is done, it's a ship being pushed out, so the energy and often audiences are lower, but in this case that slight reduction created concentration. David Fried's reading was especially intense I felt, personal and direct, and Iris Colomb is a gifted performer.

I read my fiction made of quotations story from the anthology, for Peter Handke, giving a far longer intro than I would normally do, explaining my habit of collecting quotes from novels and poems, which are past 11000 in total now, and how I intend to shape these into a novel one day.

Then came David Rickard's rather remarkable work. He suggested to me, as his piece in the book was the ink of a squid he has crushed in his original illuminations performance rendered as a Rorschach type piece of artwork, that he would follow this theme down a rabbit hole. He discovered the importance Klecksography and poetry to Hermann Rorschach original idea and how this overlap was too much to resist, so he contacted Doctor Marc Desautel, clinical psychologist and director of Rorschach Society. He invited Marc to participate in the event by analysing me live, before the audience. All I wanted to do is commit with full verity to the test, to not try and game or perform, and though we met briefly before, it was genuinely under the auspices of analysis that we did the test. I thought his insights about me were mostly true, all told. You can watch the videos of this below

A note on: Austrian Illuminations Anthology (launch May 10th)

Austrian Illuminations Launch - May 10th at 7pm

Free Entry but booking suggested www.acflondon.org/events/austrian-illuminations/
Austrian Cultural Forum London - 28 Rutland Gate, Knightsbridge, London SW7 1PQ, UK

Bringing together over 15 new literary artworks made by the artists and writers commissioned for Illuminations events celebrating Elfriede Jelinek, Erich Fried and Peter Handke, this beautifully designed limited-edition anthology will be launched in London with readings and performances from contributors. The anthology is issue 17 in the ACF's remarkable Occasions series, a publication project celebrating the groundbreaking work they do, and was designed by www.polimekanos.com in London.

Featuring live works by David Rickard, Iris Colomb, David Fried, Joshua Alexander, SJ Fowler and more. http://www.theenemiesproject.com/illuminations

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.

A note on: Launching Subcritical Tests in Soho

Well where else but the basement of a pub in old soho to launch a poetry book about the nuclear bomb / apocalypse / threat / possible sweet release from all the puff? A weird and wonderful night in a dark corridor with people I am so fond of it comes close to a fraternal love - Christodoulos Makris, Susan Tomaselli, Ailbhe Darcy - and some new folk who will become friends. We spent a good five hours down there, relaxed, talking and reading and into the world was launched Subcritical Tests. Watch on on the video for the very end, where the performative urge just nearly just nearly got the better of me. Ailbhe is a sport. www.stevenjfowler.com/subcriticaltests

A note on: Launching The Guide to Being Bear Aware at Swedenborg House

A beautiful room to launch my latest collection within, and in generous company, I turned out a performance with increasing levels of bear awareness, from a bear poster, to collaborating with my friend Emanuel the Bear, to bringing the room's bear to human ratio into line, to transforming myself into a bear. Very grateful to see so many friends there, to have Tony Frazer do such a fine job on my book and to read alongside the great John Hall. www.stevenjfowler.com/bearaware

A note on: Launching my new book at Arnolfini in Bristol

Another grand launch, the third of four, at the world renowned gallery Arnolfini in Bristol. I read alongside friends and peers Holly Corfield Carr, Paul Hawkins, Matti Spence and John Hall, who is a great influence on my work, and Phil Owen, who is a curator as well as a writer, and was immensely hospitable to us. Shearsman Books and Tony Frazer, the editor, were on site too, being local, and it was a inviting, intellectually agile, open evening with some really fine readings. The weather in Bristol was beautiful, people sat along the dock before the Arnolfini and I had time during the day to really take it in, enjoy my book as an excuse to see friends, leave London and spend time busied with good things

A note on: Launching my new book at Kingston Writing School

I had brilliant fun creating a performance at Kingston University, as part of David Rogers longstanding Kingston Writing School series, 'directing' a film or montage while sharing poems from my new book The Guide to Being Bear Aware. It's a performance Im strangely pleased with, trying to find the right balance between concept, improvisation, spacial exploration, humour, complex undertone and actual poetry.

The experience was particularly gratifying, a really lovely, resonant evening, as my students from my Experiments and Innovations module, the mainstay of my teaching at Kingston Uni, read with me. Coming at the close of their degrees and my teaching year, it was their first chance to share a stage with me and I suppose engage with my work. They are a remarkable group of young poets, some of whom are featured in my performance. 

A note on: Launching Capitals anthology at SOAS, London

A pleasure to read at SOAS in Bloomsbury for the first time to celebrate the launch of Capitals, edited by Abhay K, a poet and diplomat from Delhi who came all the way from India to share the book. I had the pleasure of reading alongside friends like George Szirtes and meeting folk Ive corresponded with but never met before. A lovely evening and the book is remarkable, a poet for each capital city in the world! I wrote on Freetown, having visited Sierra Leone in the past. http://www.bloomsbury.com/in/capitals-9789386141118/

capitals cover.jpg

A note on: Visual Art South West - New collection launch in Bristol

http://www.vasw.org.uk/events/the-guide-to-being-bear-aware-a-poetry-collection-by-sj-fowler.php

Arnolfini, 16 Narrow Quay, BS1 4QA / 0117 917 2300 boxoffice@arnolfini.org.uk
http://www.arnolfini.org.uk/whatson/the-guide-to-being-bear-aware-a-poetry-collection-by-sj-fowler

Thursday 06 April 2017 19:00 - 20:00 Opening Hours: 11:00 - 18:00 Booking recommended
The launch of SJ Fowler’s latest poetry collection The Guide to Being Bear Aware from Bristol-based Shearsman Books, featuring performances and readings from Fowler and guest readers John Hall, Holly Corfield Carr, Paul Hawkins, Phil Owen & more to be announced.

"The Guide to Being Bear Aware offers advice for living in a world gone awry. Wry, violent, contemplative, political, intimate and raucous by turns, these are poems that laze on your lap only to get their claws in... Morphing into unfamiliar shapes beneath the watching eye, these refreshing, quizzical, well-traveled poems forge a world entirely their own: they won’t let you go of you easily.” Sarah Howe http://www.stevenjfowler.com/bearaware

 

A note on: celebrating Pyramid Editions at the Archivist, London

Great to officially launch my pamphlet Tractography, and more importantly, celebrate Owen Vince's Pyramid Editions at an event in London, by the grand union canal, at the beautiful Archivist venue. Pyramid Editions published four works this year, all by younger poets, all featuring three poems, conceptually united. I read with the three other authors on the list, Alison Graham, Sophie Essex and Andrew Wells, but more than this the evening was a generous, intimate, conversational exchange, more social than performative, and appropriately so, as this project, driven by Owen, taking responsibility as he is for the curatorial space of poetry rising up beneath the UK scene from especially young and clear voiced poets, was a great example of the flurry of considered activity so prevalent in England at the moment. I was proud to be involved. Visit www.pyramideditions.co.uk

pyramid editions luanch.jpg

The New Concrete anthology: launch at the Whitechapel Gallery - July 25th

This is the most significant anthology of concrete poetry of my generation. I'm delighted to be included, and alongside many friends / peers - Antonio Claudio Carvalho,  Marco Giovenale, Tom Jenks, Sarah Kelly, John Kinsella, Anatol Knotek, Márton Koppány, nick-e melville, and Jörg Piringer  & legends like Vito Acconci, Augusto de Campos, Henri Chopin, Bob Cobbing, Ian Hamilton Finlay https://thenewconcrete.wordpress.com/about

"The New Concrete is a major new anthology of visual poetry edited by Victoria Bean and Chris McCabe and published by Hayward Publishing (July 2015). The book represents visual poetry published from 2000 to the present day and suggests ways in which the original concrete movement of the 1950s and ’60s has been built upon, developed and redefined by subsequent generations of poets and artists." You can buy it here http://shop.southbankcentre.co.uk/the-new-concrete-visual-poetry-in-the-21st-century.html

The anthology will be launched in a full whack 5 hours programme at the whitechapel gallery on July 25th http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/events/new-concrete/ I'll be performing "Join us for an afternoon of film and live performance showcasing some of the most exciting work in this field. The event brings together some of the most celebrated poets and artists working at the intersection of visual art and poetry."

launching my new book {Enthusiasm} with Test Centre

www.stevenjfowler.com/enthusiasm A collection that stands, more than any other before it, to represent something of the entirety, or unity, of what I want to do with poetry, to share my work in such an atmosphere of support seemed appropriate. I have spoken often of what being prolific in publishing poetry means to me, how to it became clear to me after the death of the great poet Anselm Hollo, when I read his life's work, book by book, and realising the synchronicities of my own life and his, how this taught me a poetry book is something much less and much more than I thought it was. It is not a step on a ladder. It is a potential portal to a chunk of my life. And so launching this book, in the beautiful X Marks the Bokship, in Matt's Gallery, in Mile End, surrounded by friends, recognising just how my relationship with Jess & Will of Test Centre is now a friendship, a considered one, I'm sure a lasting one and more than any book, was a resonant moment for me. Moreover, Eleanor of the Bokship, kindly hosting us, had blown the cover of the book up six feet by ten feet and hung it outside the gallery. A massive Memento Mori, fulfilling the purpose of the cover, why I requested it, in huge, bold, glaring clarity. An amazing sight, to walk down a Mile End street to see your book's skull looming in the distance.

Thanks to everyone who came to support me.

reading at Clare Saponia's launch - April 10th at the Poetry Cafe

I was very pleased to be asked to be one of many reading works from Clare Saponia's new book The Oranges of Revolution (Smokestack Books) 

It's launched Friday 10th April at The Poetry Café, 22 Betterton Street, London, WC2H 9BX. Doors open 7.30pm/ Kick-off 8pm. £3 on the door. 

http://smokestack-books.co.uk/book.php?book=106

Reading at the launch of Coin Opera 2

I was very privileged to feature in the magical Coin Opera 2 anthology of video game poetry edited by Kirsty Irving and Jon Stone and their always beautifully rendered Sidekick books. Not only was the anthology full of great poets and poems but the whole enterprise felt fresh and valuable to me, this is what anthologies should be about, not a taxonomy but a commission, a chance for new work and collective community. I was even happier to get to read at the launch, held upstairs at the Four Quarters bar in Peckham, essentially the loft room of a fully functioning arcade. Pretty grand stuff. 

Do buy the book here http://www.drfulminare.com/coinoperaii.php Here's my wee reading.  

Zimzalla exhibition launch readings

http://weareenemies.com/zimzallaexhibition.html So pleased to kick off this 4th exhibition the Enemies project has done with the Hardy Tree gallery with such a wonderful evening of readings in Kings Cross. It felt like a catch up with old friends, and the ZimZalla objects, all 25 of them, look really beautiful in the space. Tom Jenks, the mastermind behind ZimZalla seemed pleased with it, and thats all that matters to me, along with the little bit more attention his publishing venture deserves. 
Tom Watts https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAZfWSGE88k
Leanne Bridgewater https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1qHPfLvcng
MJ Weller https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwSI1hplSr8
Stephen Emmerson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUvVJdqHRy4
Andy Spragg  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9g4hbIXvCQ

The Rottweiler's guide to the Dog Owner launched

I was trepidatious about the launch of my new collection, the wine-ing of the event not being my normal outmode, but in the end it was a lovely evening, and I owe a debt of thanks to everyone who was kind enough to attend and buy a book and to those who brought it into physical form. It has been extraordinarily well produced and designed, don't think it could be better really, and the people at the London Review of Books were amazing too, John Clegg making me feel as at home as was also possible.http://www.eyewearpublishing.com/products-page/books/s-j-fowler/ Here's the vid