Published : I Stand Alone by The Devils, and other poems on films

I Stand Alone by The Devils, and other poems on films
Broken Sleep Books : 33 pages : £5
www.stevenjfowler.com/istandalone
www.brokensleepbooks.com/product-page/sj-fowler-i-stand-alone-by-the-devils-and-other-poems-on-films

A book, though lean, I have been working on for years. It’s been a pleasure to bring it into life with Aaron Kent, editor of Broken Sleep. From the publisher = "26 new poems celebrating 26 cult films of the 20th and 21st century, I Stand Alone by The Devils is a slim volume of cinematic poetic ekphrasis. At play is an aberrant intersemiotic translation between the mediums of popular or arthouse cinema and contemporary, modernist poetry. The poems aim to re-imagine moving image in language, often cutting in tone, taking on the dark, symbolic and sardonic on film. Each poem is a single film, interpreting, reflecting, embodying and transposing, exploring both films familiar to many, and digging out, often from 20th century European cinema, more unorthodox motion pictures. From Querelle and The Baby of Mâcon, to American Werewolf in London and Don’t Look Now. From Aguirre and Festen to The Fly and Breaking the Waves, these poems are a strange and playful musing on cinema’s impact on poetry and language and a useless thinking through of how films are actually consumed."

A full list of films featured - Angel Heart, Querelle, Last Year at Marienbad, Ali : Fear Eats The Soul, The Fly, The Devils, Breaking the Waves, American Werewolf in London, Don’t Look Now, I Stand Alone, A short film about Love, En Coeur En Hiver, The Baby of Mâcon, Nightwatch (Nattevagten), Silence of the Lambs, Satan’s Brew, Aguirre, wrath of god, The Long Good Friday, Stalker, Salo, Festen, Three Colours Blue, Yojimbo, Possession, Beau Travail, M.

LAUNCH : August Thursday 29th 2019 at the Cinema Museum, London, alongside a screening of Peter Greenaway’s The Baby of Mâcon
http://www.cinemamuseum.org.uk/
7pm doors for 7.30pm entry. £8 (£5 concessions)
Readings, featuring Jonathan Catherall, Yvonne Litschel, Chris Kerr, David Spittle and more, alongside SJ Fowler, will mark this unique celebration of cinematic poetry, before a screening ofThe Baby of Mâcon, Peter Greenaway’s remarkable and challening 1993 film. More details to come soon.

Published: Versopolis Poetic Articles #2 - Animals as Humans, can only monkeys laugh?

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The second in my series of articles that are prose poems that are anti-opinion / anti-conclusion / anti-journalistic. It’s an interesting challenge, a long form poetic reflection, for an English person anyway. This one, following the theme of Drugs, is on the theme of Animals.

https://www.versopolis.com/times/essay/730/animals-as-humans

“Things obviously to be regretted in the future. The way humans educate their children. The way humans treat and consider their own planet, their own environments, their own place. The way humans treat and consider animals, as meaningless, stupid, brainless nothings. As food, to be made and unmade for a belly that might be full of whatever it likes. 

What the bloody hell is this massive weapon? It protects us, splits us homidiae from the pan pongo interface. Yet we cannot know each other’s self-consciousness, let alone that which lies in the grey brain of other creatures. A funny assumption begins a history. 

The octopus compared to the human. The chimpanzee compared to the human. The otter compared to the human. The bear compared to the human. 

The human glad in misadventures, harsher and more ravenous than anything you ever heard, anything in all other creatures born days.

Dogs. That perpetually dogs the footsteps of humans. Dogs as a verb. Dogs a best mate. Dogs as a fetching machine. Dogs who need defending. Dogs who defend homes. Dogs eaten in China, South Korea, Vietnam, and Nigeria. “

Published: Bubble comb up on Perverse

Chrissy Williams has recently started a brilliant and innovative new journal / e-mag endeavour entitled Perverse. It's a really engaged, open, direct, clever, complex way of sharing and reading poems, typical of Chrissy's work. I'm very happy to be in the latest issue, 1c, with some grand poets, and to feature a visual work which will be part of my last Poem Brut book, Memoirs of a Hypocrite, due out in November with Hesterglock press. Click the link or sign up below to comb my bubble.

"Perverse 1C - Nelson / Moore / Gross / Fowler / O’Loughlin

Welcome to issue 1C of Perverse! There's a slightly different type of perversity at work in some of these poems than we've seen in the others. I hope you enjoy them. As before, these poems are best read sideways on a phone, or else as usual on a computer screen. You can also save them as a single PDF here if you like. (You'll find the previous micro issues here.)

Contributor Note on ‘The Bubble Comb’:
“'The Bubble Comb' is part of a book of art poetry, Memoirs of a Hypocrite (Hesterglock Press), which is part of a series of publications entitled www.poembrut.com It is about the potential poetic possibilities of handwriting, material, colour and composition meeting the semantic meaning of the written word.”

Please forward this email on to anyone who might like it - they can use the link below to sign up for future issues and updates:
http://tinyletter.com/perverse

Website (with an archive of previous issues):
http://perversepoetry.tumblr.com

 

A note on: new articles commissioned for Versopolis

The European Review of Poetry, Books and Culture is an online literary journal, funded by the European Union, aiming to create an anglophone publication platform with a focus on continental Europe and world beyond. www.versopolis.com

A sample of the articles I've commissioned recently.

Published : my essay The Online Empire : on sex and poetry on Versopolis

Nice to have this essay on sex and poetry published, forever locked onto the internet, readable in perpetuity, appropriately, by Versopolis, and the european review of poetry books and culture. It was written for my book Aletta Ocean's Alphabet Empire, which is tangentially about pornography and will feature in an upcoming volume of my selected essays too. 

http://www.versopolis.com/long-read/604/the-online-empire-on-sex-and-poetry


"The whole business of eroticism is to destroy the self-contained character of the participators as they are in their normal lives.            Georges Bataille

You can never discover for yourself what you’ve been given. Bodies and knowledge, both. The primary purpose of this book is to worry about the division between the experienced and the perceived, and what is lost between that ever expanding gap.

Bataille suggests that you try to imagine yourself changing from the state you are in, to one in which your whole self is completely doubled. He means this to be a disturbance. He reminds us, you would not survive this process since the doubles you have turned into are essentially different from you. Each of these doubles is necessarily distinct from you as you are now, as while you’ve split into two new versions of yourself, you cannot be the same, twice over. A kind of procreation is what he is suggesting and the metaphor is about writing, I think. To mark the pages then release them is to indulge oneself, fundamentally, in a productive onanism. Cells dividing, with some of that division escaping you. No wonder it feels sad, a let down, to release things into the world......"

Published: European Institute of Imaginary Authors by Robert Sheppard

Robert Sheppard's brilliantly inventive new book has just been released and I'm delighted to have been included Twitters for a Lark: The Poetry of the European Union of Imaginary Author is published by Shearsman Books at £9.99 and in available here: http://www.shearsman.com/ws- shop/product/6460-robert-sheppard-ed---twitters-for-a- lark

This is from Chris McCabe - Working in collaboration with a team of real writers, Robert Sheppard has created a lively and entertaining anthology of fictional European poets. There is no resultant ‘Europoem’, but a variety of styles that reflects the collaborative nature of the poems’ production, the richness of a continent. The works range from the comedic to the political, from the imaginatively sincere to the faux-autobiographical, from traditional lyricism to the experimental. Accompanied by biographical notes, the poets grow in vividness until they seem to possess lives of their own. Although devised before the neologism ‘Brexit’ was spat across the bitter political divide, this sample of 28 poets of the EUOIA (European Union of Imaginary Authors) takes on new meanings in our contemporary world that is far from fictive, ‘fake news’ or not.

The collaborators are: Joanne Ashcroft, Alan Baker, James Byrne, Alys Conran, Kelvin Corcoran, Anamaría Crowe Serrano, Patricia Farrell,Allen Fisher, S. J. Fowler, Robert Hampson, Jeff Hilson, Tom Jenks, Frances Kruk, Rupert Loydell, Steve McCaffery, Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl, Sandeep Parmar, Simon Perril, Jèssica Pujol i Duran, Zoë Skoulding, Damir Šodan, Philip Terry, Scott Thurston. 

Twitters for a Lark heralds a new movement: the European Poetry Revival. It is a book that arrives like a new channel forged by collaborative poets, with all past ideals of state rolled up in an old five pound note. This illuminated sect of future Rimbauds lightens the island’s burden, the lights on their vessels burning like the tips of duty free cigarettes. Chris McCabe

A note on: Hosting Landscape Learn : Growth and Decay

A dynamic public facing project from J&L Gibbons, Landscape Learn is an exciting venture that Ive been able to be involved with through my residency and tie into my time at Kensal Green Cemetery, with Tereza Stehlikova, with this event. A one day mix of cemetery tour via geology and lost rivers, to talks on the bones of the city, the urban mind, neuroscience, landscape architecture and finishing with a screening of a film I have small part in, made by Tereza. Tickets were sold to a group of nearly fifty and the day felt really communal and engaged, I met so many really interesting people, all of whom shared a complex and intensive interest in their city and its changing environment - often changing for the worst, as the discussion of the nearby Old Oak Common development seemed never too far from the discussions. It's inspiring for me to work with people such as Jo Gibbons and Neil Davidson, this is the kind of day that feeds into my work, takes it into new places, where it needs to be, always growing.

A note on: Mayakovsky, my play, has been something else

What I've tried to do, with this play, is fulfil the dictum that a good work of art can only create the opposite effect of its intention - that is I set out to lie based on truth, so that the audience would feel truth based on lies. It was a generous process - ground up, collective, energetic, exciting. And I think, amidst the obvious density of the play, people to get the gist. 

The experience of writing and directing Mayakovsky (for the Land of Scoundrels night of theatre, at Rich Mix Cultural Foundation, for the Revolution 17 season, which opened this past Friday June 9th) has been a privilege, especially to be commissioned to do so. And It has not yet worn off, the experience of having good actors perform words I’ve mangled, and there is something undoubtedly intoxicating about theatre, as a practise, way beyond poetry and something before performance. It is so fundamentally collaborative, reactive, uncontrollable, inaccurate … it’s entirely alive and human, and the smallest change or development or gesture – be it physical or linguistic or intellectual – can shift entire narratives of meaning. It is a playground in that sense, in begins in failure and needs trust. These are things I am attracted to.

This play is modernist in its dialogue, it uses poetry and found text and slight disjunctions, but has a more theatrical, playful, physical tone - its definitely the most accessible thing I've written for the stage.. It’s about death, a very certain kind of nostalgic, faux romantic death, the death of a poet, who like the martyr he became, might not have needed to actually exist to serve his purpose. I’m always sure of what kind of writing I want to do for theatre, I feel confident in my purpose, but every time I do notice some in the audience sag under the weight and intricacy of what I'm trying to do, I do feel conflicted, if not saddened. There's something not quite there yet, I've not yet written anything brilliant. I just find realism and exaggeration and melodrama so offputting, so frightening, that I suppose at times I must be overcompensating.

Petra Freimund, a very experienced dramaturg has been a great person to share a double bill with, her experience invaluable, and my old friend Thomas Duggan has produced the most incredible set. His work has made my play. It is a spectacular sight, fitting for any theatre in the world.

The actors have been amazing, all of them generous and insightful, all of them taking the characters to the point I imagined and often beyond. Really it’s one the very best experiences I’ve had with a group of actors – they have worked so hard, so mindfully, with a real energy and dedication. Simon Christian, Edie Deffebach, Rebecca Dunn, Alec Bennie. They all have engaged with my text with great respect and on the final night, which was the best of three very good performances, I felt a sure sense of comfort that the characters had reached past what might’ve been expected. That perhaps there was some moments of brilliance in this work, and it was thanks to them. 

Overall a grand thing, these three days of performances, and the short time in preparation, no more than a few meetings really, in what has been a production of extremely limited resource. Perhaps it has been so resonant because of this fact. Everyone is in it because they wish to be.

A note on: an invitation to Mayakovsky's funeral

Very pleased to be deep in rehearsals for my new play Mayakovsky, with Tickets: June 9th / 10th / 11th available now, to be on at the Rich Mix Theatre : 35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, London E1 6LA. 

There's more information on the production here www.stevenjfowler.com/mayakovsky 

And a wee blurb - a new play exploring the life and death of one of Russia's greatest poets. Mayakovsky was commissioned by Rich Mix Arts Centre as part of their centenary commemoration of the Russian Revolution, #Revolution17, in cahoots with the brilliant Dash Arts. Mayakovsky is part of a night of new theatre entitled Land of Scoundrels which features a unique sculptural set design by Thomas Duggan and new music by The Dirty Three.

A note on: An Incident of Originality for BBC Radio 3's The Verb

A new commission on The Verb, for a programme exploring the notion of the fake, in poetry and beyond. I had the best time visiting the studios in Salford once again and the producers of the show, like Ian McMillan himself, are the nicest and most generous people. The other guests couldn't have been cooler to hang out with too. This show is really one of a kind in the UK, a must listen.

My text also features cameo contributions from brilliant poets and artists Maja Jantar, Zuzana Husarova and Prudence Chamberlain. You can read more about the piece here www.stevenjfowler.com/theverb and listen to it clicking the link above. For the full show, below. 

A note on: beginning production on Land of Scoundrels, new theatre at Rich Mix

I'm to write a new short play, called Mayakovsky, as part of a night of theatre at Rich Mix, commissioned for their Revolution 17 season, on the centenary of the Russian Revolution. It will be staged with an amazing set design by Thomas Duggan, who has designed for Vesterport's theatre's Faust recently amongst other things, and placed alongside new works by Austrian playwright Petra Freimund and Larry Lynch, who often works for the Belarus Free Theatre. We began our production proper this week and already the project is inspiring, I'm learning immensely from the experience of these three deeply intelligent people. Actors will be cast soon, a score written, and then we'll build to June 9th 10th 11th, which will be intense. www.stevenjfowler.com/mayakovsky

A note on: Curating the Museum of Futures Visual Poetry Exhibition

I conceived of this exhibition for multiple reasons. The first, I wanted to invest in the place. I've been teaching at Kingston University for a few years and wanted to create a platform in the area, outside of London (just) where those living or studying local felt that not everything was east of them, in the city, that there was some focus on the place as other than a place to visit, but to reside, creatively. Second because I wanted students and faculty from across departments to connect, from across ages and years and practises, and I wanted this to happen in the context of the many brilliant poets and artists who were also not associated with the Uni. Too often we're all in our own boxes, in all things, but especially in the pace of teaching or studying. Thirdly, I had hoped new friendships and collaborative relationships would begin and by placing students work next to those who are ostensibly professionals, that many students would take inspiration from that, would get permission to experiment, to follow their own noses, and that it would as a project show them they could go into spaces beyond the university. This is often a problem too, that students feel too safe at university creatively, and this comes to bear painfully when they graduate. Fourthly I had built some fantastic connections with a specific group of students, both undergraduate and postgraduate whom I felt deserved the opportunity to do something special, or unique certainly, and I knew I could rely on them to help me, to make it a collective enterprise. This proved true. And finally, I wanted the actual aesthetic content of the exhibition to be innovative, to explore the potential of text beyond the book, or the visual to be read as a text. In the end we had 40 works of a really striking standard, the exhibition looks genuinely engaging, original and beautiful.

Museum of Futures themselves, Simon Tyrell and Robin Hutchinson, introduced to me by the brilliant Lucy Furlong, were amazingly supportive, doing great work. Myself and the student co-curators, especially Molly Bergin, Olga Kolesnikova and Matt Navey, had a laugh putting it all together on a windy Wednesday in Surbiton. There is real camaraderie to be found in this kind of project. And the opening night was amazing, gratifying. The room was so full someone feinted. Packed to the gills we listened to a host of new collaborative readings I had commissioned for the night and I got to make new friends as well as seeing some of my favourite people, old friends and talents like Thomas Duggan, Alexander Kell and Camilla Nelson. The readings were great and the sense of community, of purpose and excitement was palpable. A special project all told.

All the reading videos and pictures are, or will be, here www.theenemiesproject.com/futures

A note on: The Cast of the Crystal Set - X marks the bokship record

The Cast of the Crystal Set: Readings, Radio, Recordings, Interviews and Performances from: / Jenny Moore & House Music, Sinkhole, Marcia Farquhar with Anne Bean and Judy Clark, / Drawing Room Confessions, Maia Conran, Jessica Worden, SJ Fowler, Denise Hawrysio and Kriswvyd.

The Crystal Set was an evolving structure oscillating between a sound studio for recording and an open stage for live listening events. Between June – August 2015 at X Marks the Bökship & Matt’s Gallery, it hosted a series of recording sessions, workshops and performances. The invitation to a cast of artists and publishers was to use the studio as a resource to translate material from the printed page into sound. This record is a collection of extracts from some of the readings, live radio and interviews all recorded or performed in The Crystal Set.

The Cast of the Crystal Set / 12" Vinyl Record / Published by X Marks the Bökship, 2016 / Edition of 200 / Price £10 http://bokship.org/xaudio.html

A note on: Museum of Futures Visual Poetry exhibition

Very happy to be curating this exhibition in Surbiton next month. It brings together colleagues at Kingston University from multiple departments, students, alumnus and local professional poets and artists. 

Opening night, with a camarade reading, is February Thursday 23rd. All info here www.theenemiesproject.com/futures

I'm also still taking submission for the exhibition until February 5th www.theenemiesproject.com/opencallfutures

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....

Published: Peter Pan by Prudence Chamberlain & I in Wazo, Spain

The Spanish magazine and cultural powerhouse Wazo continues to be a very generous supporter of my work, here publishing one of the near dozen collaborations by Prudence Chamberlain which makes up our House of Mouse collaborative poetry collection, published this year. http://www.wazogate.com/peter-pan

A note on: The Anatomy of Rest with Claudia Hammond on BBC Radio 4

Pleased to contribute to the first of three programmes by Claudia Hammond, entitled Anatomy of Rest, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 this week past. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07v07p0

Claudia visited me during a training session, boxing and we discussed the notion that relationship of rest to its inverse state - exhaustion. This has been a major preoccupation of mine, pragmatically, my entire life, being someone who is high energy / agitated and having always found great solace, relief and control in more intensive forms of exercise. It has been a fundamental way of mediating my creative energy too, and meeting Arne Dietrich in Salzburg in 2015, where he talked of down regulation of the pre frontal cortex during exercise, I have spent the last year or two, reading more deeply into the subject. I am also reminded of Sam Harris' comments about weight training, that if we didn't choose to do so, the pain of such conditioning would be akin to torture.

Pleasingly, post programme, where I sounded a bit weird because my hearing had altered a bit, genuinely tired from training and unable to hear myself speak (a mercy), an article has been written by Alex SoojungKim Pang, referring to my remarks and the concept in general. Visit http://www.deliberate.rest/?p=1068

A note on: footage from Milosz festival with Tom Jenks & Weronika Lewandowska

Beautiful to have this footage from a great collaboration in Krakow this past June. Performance art, video art, poetry, theatre, it was a grand pleasure making the work with Tom and Weronika. For more info www.stevenjfowler.com/krakow

A note on: the final States of Mind event at Wellcome Collection

A real high point for me as a curator, and a major step forward in this area of interest. A really wonderful night, brilliant talks from Srivas Chennu, Lotje Sodderland, Sam Winston and Barry Smith, so full of insight and so remarkably balanced together. I had such a resonant and engaged experience working with Wellcome on these events, do visit www.stevenjfowler.com/statesofmind for more.