A note on: The EVP Sessions & The Black Dinner performance - November 14th 2015

The original EVP tour was a major turning point in my work with performance, being able to tour the UK with really wonderful artists like Hannah Silva and Ross Sutherland, and with the support of Nathan Jones and Tom Chivers (www.stevenjfowler.com/evp) When the opportunity to do a one off commission for the same project, at Shoreditch Town Hall, I had a clear thought to what I might do, melding both my original work for the project with a tradition I've had for three years now, being painted as a skeleton on or around the Mexican Day of the Dead. I first did so in Mexico City and try to do so every year in homage to my friends in Mexico, and because much of my work is about the symbology of death.

For this performance I was really lucky to have the amazingly generous artist and make up artist Amalie Russell paint my face professionally. I had then spent a few days covering a whole banquet of food in black paint and lacquer, and my performance, a fluxus meal of sorts, was to set the table and invite diners to join me. I waited outside the fire exit of the venue on a typically vapid Shoreditch saturday night and felt it appropriate to wait in the rain. The performance was accompanied by a track made in collaboration with the remarkable musician Alexander Kell, who did an incredible job mixing my reading of Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo, one of the authors I had discovered in Mexico.

"Electronic Voice Phenomena returns with a series of electrifying live sessions featuring the very best in hauntology, spoken word, glitch noise and performance. The EVP Sessions takes its inspiration from Konstantin Raudive’s notorious Breakthrough experiments of the 1970s, in which he divined voices-from-beyond in electronic noise. Enter the labyrinthine basement of Shoreditch Town Hall and experience a “mind-boggling”, “perplexingly good” avant-garde cabaret of human, ghostly and machine voices. http://www.electronicvoicephenomena.net/index.php/shoreditch-town-hall-london/"

A note on: Actors announced for my play Dagestan


Robin is a graduate of East 15 School of Acting. He has recently appeared in Silent WitnessNew Tricks and Gigglebiz. He is a member of Andy Serkis’ Imaginarium company and is currently working on the new Jungle Book feature. His theatre credits include One Man Two Guvnors at the National Theatre and The Elephant Man (South East Asia tour).


Gareth is a graduate of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. His theatre credits includeAdventures in Wonderland at the Vaults, Twelfth Night at the Riverfront Theatre, UK tours of Macbeth and The Comedy of Errors and It’s A family Affair- We’ll Settle It Ourselves at Sherman Cymru.


Maya is a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Her theatre credits include Twelfth Night at the RSC, Design for Living at the Old Vic, Faith Machine at the Royal Court, The Thrill of Love at the St James’, and The Last of the de Mullins at the Jermyn Street. Her television credits include Mutual FriendsWallander and Waking the Dead for the BBC. She has appeared in the films Huge and The Huntsman. Maya is producer for new theatre company Into the Wolf.


Steve is an actor and filmmaker. He has played leading roles in theatre, television and film over the last twenty years.  His screen credits include Closed CircuitMongrels,Doctor WhoEastEnders and EastEnders: E20Is Harry on the BoatThe Day Britain StoppedMidsomer MurdersCasualtyLondon’s BurningMurphy’s LawHolby City,WoofSouth West Nine. Filmmaking credits include co-writing and appearing in the feature film South West 9 and he was Associate Producer The Football Factory. He co-wrote and produced the short film Through the K-Hole and directed the award winning short film Cregan for Screen South under the Digital Shorts scheme. His numerous theatre credits as an actor include War Horse in the West End, Shared Experience, Manchester Royal Exchange, Edinburgh Fringe First winning play Meeting Joe Strummerand a one man show west End run of Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch. He plays guitar and sings for London band The Clones.

Dagestan is presented in three scratch performances on 16 and 17 October at Rich Mix, London. Click here to book your ticket.

Penned in the Margins 2015 program

really pleased & proud to feature in this wonderful program for Penned in the Margins.
 my production is in October, visit the page and read the program to find out what it is! Wonderful company Im in too, with Hannah Silva's amazing show Schlock! and Ryan Van Winkle's new book the Good Dark


I'm in 3 books in the Penned in the Margins xmas sale!

Christmas flyer

Give great literature to someone you love with 25% off all our books during the festive season.

And watch out for our special Advent Calendar: half price on a different title every day till Christmas!*



Tom Chivers (editor)

This new anthology celebrates the first decade of Penned in the Margins, bringing together over seventy-five of the very best poems and texts carefully selected by editor Tom Chivers.

£9.99   £7.49

Mount London: Ascents in the Vertical City

Mount London: Ascents in the Vertical City

Tom Chivers & Martin Kratz (editors)

An invisible mountain is rising above the streets of the capital - and at over 1,800 metres, it is Britain’s highest peak. Mount London is a unique and visionary record of the vertical city.

£12.99   £9.74



SJ Fowler

This ground-breaking, multi-disciplinary collection is the result of collaborations with over thirty artists, photographers and writers

£9.99   £7.49

Very excited for Schlock! by Hannah Silva

I am extremely excited for Hannah Silva's new show, being produced by Penned in the Margins. Not only does it seem groundbreaking, a really necessarily dynamic and ambitious use of cut up / collage methodology, but its subject matter also seems to me as an distinctly necessary and timely theme to be exploring, precisely because of the popularity of the literary material it is partially made of. I can't wait to see it. http://www.pennedinthemargins.co.uk/index.php/2014/08/schlock-3/

"Schlock! is a subversive fifty-minute performance about sex and power that premieres at Aldeburgh Poetry Festival on 8th November. Audiences will hear voices spliced from EL James's infamous erotic novel, together with texts by the feminist writer Kathy Acker restored for the stage by Silva's inventive cut-and-paste techniques. The result is a paradox: a wildly original new work, entirely composed of other people's words.

Hannah Silva is a poet and performer known for her unique vocal delivery and praised as 'radical, political, courageous' by Whatsonstage. Her previous works have explored themes as diverse as politics, pseudoscience and women in business; but in this new show Silva returns to the topics that first caught her imagination.

"Schlock! is my most personal work. It's rooted in the physical, in the female body. The strange sadness I felt reading Fifty Shades of Greyseemed at odds with the book's popularity and was something I wanted to explore. At the same time I was re-reading Kathy Acker's books, and finding them shocking and also beautiful and inspiring. Like her, I want to disturb the boundaries between pleasure and pain, high art and schlock."

As well as being a rich sonic experience, Schlock! is a new departure for Silva in its use of physical storytelling. She has been collaborating with Deaf performer and interpreter Daryl Jackson (Dazzy Jacko) to make Schlock! accessible for d/Deaf audiences. Her performance shifts between spoken word and an embodied poetry consisting of British Sign Language and physical theatre. Sign language enables me to embody poetry in new ways. Our physicality and facial expressions communicate an incredible amount. It's humbling to realise how redundant much of spoken language really is. My hope is that this performance will connect with both hearing and d/Deaf audiences on an emotional, gut level.

Hannah Silva is one of a new wave of spoken word artists expanding what poetry can be. A highlight of the UK's preeminent poetry festival at Aldeburgh in Suffolk, and with a national tour planned for 2015, Schlock! looks set to stir up important debates and provoke strong reactions. "

Oxford Brookes weekly poem feature - Gilles de Rais from Enemies

http://www.brookes.ac.uk/poetry-centre/weekly-poem/weekly-poem-for-20-october-2014/ Very nice to have two poems from my collaboration with David Erkembode Kelly pop up on the Oxford Brookes poetry weekly poetry feature.  
Weekly Poem for 20 October 2014
  • from Gilles de Rais

    shot in the ribs in revenge.
    my organs like this, two ribs, rhymes 
    and emily’s 
    racist baby workout 
    is a future collected book 
    like this a postcard sized box that is completely 
    empty as a hospital bed 
    can be empty soon 
    enough if you don’t watch you mouth & if so 
    I’ll be on quick as a flash 
    evidence for it in my past
    by SJ Fowler

    This excerpt from ‘Gilles de Rais’ is copyright © SJ Fowler, 2013. It is reprinted by permission of Penned in the Margins from Enemies  (Penned in the Margins, 2013).
    Notes from Penned in the Margins: ‘Gilles de Rais’ is a collaborative work with poems by SJ Fowler and artwork from David Kelly, and comes from the anthology, Enemies. This ground-breaking, multi-disciplinary collection is the result of collaborations between SJ Fowler and over thirty artists, photographers and writers. Diary entries mingle with a partially-redacted email exchange; texts slip and fragment, finding new contexts alongside prints, paintings, diagrams, Rorschach blots, YouTube clips and behind-the-scenes photographs at the museum. Find out more from the Penned in the Margins website, watch SJ Fowler read from the poem, and follow his work on his website and on Twitter.
    Penned in the Margins is an independent publisher and live literature producer specialising in poetry and based in East London. Founded in 2004, the company has produced numerous literature and performance events, toured several successful live literature shows, published over twenty-five books, and continues to run innovative poetry, arts and performance projects in the capital and beyond. The company is currently touring two productions: Shlock!, a powerful feminist satire for the cut and paste generation, and The Shipwrecked House, a one-woman performance that blends poetry with theatre, in which Anglo-Breton poet Claire Trévien navigates a shifting maritime landscape. You can find out more about these productions on the Penned in the Margins website

Marginalia: an anthology for a decade of Penned in the Margins

Really happy to be featured in the Penned in the Margins ten year anniversary anthology. An amazing achievement for Tom Chivers and the team, and an organisation I'm very proud to have worked with so often. My collaboration with Sam Riviere, from Enemies http://www.pennedinthemargins.co.uk/index.php/2013/09/enemies-2/ features in the volume.

Caroline Bergvall's Drift opens Poetry International Festival at the Southbank Centre on Thursday

Caroline Bergvall DriftA remarkable new performance work hits London's Southbank Centre on Thursday evening. Drift brings together the unique vocal talents of London-based Norwegian poet Caroline Bergvall with the experimental soundscapes of Norwegian percussionist Ingar Zach, and opens this year's Poetry International Festival before touring the UK in the Autumn.

Drift is a moving meditation on exile, sea travel and migration that takes its inspiration from the ancient pool of English and Nordic poetry as well as the lyrics of pop songs. Bergvall's cutting-edge texts also reshape damning reports into contemporary sea migration disasters; and the 3D treatment by Swiss visual artist Thomas Koppel transforms the narrative into an abstract canvas of drifting language mass.
Date & time

Thursday 17 July 6pm Venue The Purcell Room Southbank Centre London SE1 8XX

In the Catacombs by Chris McCabe

Dead Poets' Society: A radical new work of literary detection re-imagines the English canon. What makes a writer a great writer? Why are some books read and loved long after their creation, and others forgotten - lost to the archives? Will anyone remember us when we are gone? In the Catacombs, released today, is the first instalment of a literary project to map London's Magnificent Seven cemeteries. Poet-librarian Chris McCabe takes us off the main track of English literature and asks why the works of Tennyson, Hopkins and Emily Dickinson are still read above those buried in a suburban enclave of south London.
Join McCabe on the hunt for a great lost poet, as he walks the winding Gothic paths of West Norwood Cemetery and makes an unexpected discovery underground in the catacombs. The stories of those loved and dismissed by Charles Dickens are carefully uncovered; those who influenced Lewis Carroll and Winston Churchill; and those whose burial in the common ground has not been enough to silence them.

London literary magus Iain Sinclair has called In the Catacombs "a fine, achieved work, close-woven, elusive, engaged." Its author is a leading light in a new generation of British poets breaking new ground with their sharp, witty and intelligent writing. A startling and original work of literary detection, In the Catacombs is written in a hybrid form - part literary criticism, part Gothic fiction- and places West Norwood Cemetery and its dead poets back into the foreground of the cultural psyche.

Chris McCabe was born in Liverpool in 1977. His three poetry collections are The Hutton Inquiry, Zeppelins and THE RESTRUCTURE. He has recorded a CD with The Poetry Archive and was shortlisted for the 2014 Ted Hughes Award. McCabe's prose has appeared in numerous places including Poetry Review, Manhattan Review and Unbound. His work has been described by The Guardian as 'an impressively inventive survey of English in the early 21st century.' He works as the Poetry Librarian at the Saison Poetry Library.

Penned in the Margins creates publications and performances for people who are not afraid to take risks. We believe in the power of language to challenge how we think, test new ideas and explore alternative stories. We operate across the arts, collaborating with writers, artists and creative partners using new platforms and technologies. pennedinthemargins.co.uk

My performance at the Museum of Water, Somerset House, for Penned in the Margins

a new performance, on commission for the Museum of Water at Somerset House, my piece was about the introduction of water cannons to the repertoire of British police, to be used against protestors, in a typically heinous and bizarre decision by Boris Johnson. With sounds, and a slowed video of a protestor in gezi park getting smashed by a water cannon, i read a new text while intermittedly holding my breath to the point of pain in a bowl of water. The message is clear, I hope. I made a mess. Deep fun was had. It was an intimate room and again, no idea how it went down. The others works on the day were really interesting too, got to see Alison Gibb, JR Carpenter, Ruth Padel amongst them, a fine curatorial job by Tom Chivers and Nick Murray of Penned in the Margins. http://www.museumofwater.co.uk/

Museum of Water at Somerset House - June 21st

So pumped for this, I will be reading a new poem while intermittently trying to drown myself. What a lineup too. http://www.pennedinthemargins.co.uk/index.php/2014/02/museum-of-water/
As part Amy Sharrock’s extraordinary Museum of Water at Somerset House, Penned in the Margins curates a packed programme of water-themed poetry and performance. Join us in the spoken word room from midday for nautical field recordings, durational water performances, and poems inspired by rivers, estuaries, sewers and the sea. A detailed schedule will be announced soon.
JR Carpenter re-sounds the islands, flying jellyfish drones and nautical field recordings of her underwater digital project Etheric Ocean in a live poly-vocal performance with poet Alison Gibb.
Faber New Poet Jack Underwood and sound poet Holly Pester collaborate on a one-off durational performance: a poem for two voices about the water we share and the water between us
Award-winning writer Ruth Padel reads estuarine poetry from her collections The Mara CrossingThe Soho Leopard and Fusewire
Claire Trevien composes poems live in response to the exhibition and reads from her book The Shipwrecked House, inspired by the sea and her Breton maritime heritage
Canal Laureate and narrow-boat dweller Jo Bell reads poetry informed by living on water
SJ Fowler rails against the Water Cannon with an original poem in between self-drowning sctivities
Siddhartha Bose reads poetry inspired by the holy rivers of the Thames and the Ganges
Justin Hopper explores sea disasters in the Thames estuary and follows hidden currents of Pittsburgh in his poem-projects Public Record and Fourth River: Ley Line
Tom Chivers reads from Flood Drain – his psychogeographical poem about the river Hull – and shares his experiences of leading ‘urban pilgrimages’ along London’s lost rivers
Early medieval scholars and postgraduates from King’s College London and elsewhere read poems drawn from the Old Water Hoard of Anglo-Saxon poems about water


12:30 Claire Trevien
13:00 Jo Bell
13:30 Siddhartha Bose
14:00 Old English Sound Hoard
14:30 Justin Hopper
15:00 Jack Underwood & Holly Pester
15:30 Tom Chivers
16:00 SJ Fowler
16:15 Ruth Padel
16:45 Etheric Ocean by JR Carpenter
17:15 Claire Trevien

Mount London should be climbed

Sometimes the publication of such a beautiful book as Mount London goes by, and is properly celebrated, as this one has been, but it still feels somewhat improper that it passes by so quickly. The volume looks as it is, which is an all too rare quality in life; a truly unique achievement by Tom Chivers and Martin Kratz. The essays, which are as varied and agile as the subject matter, are utterly complimentary for their difference, and some of the writers have been real discoveries for me, as Ive read through the volume. Im also very happy with my piece in the book, being as it genuinely represents something about me, my style here is my subject. I thoroughly urge it upon people. The launch was really wonderful too, fine readings from Joe Dunthorne, Chrissy Williams et al. It felt like the heart of London's most spacially aware writing community had convened

the Londonist - 12 publishers...



Eyewear is a relatively young London press, up and running for just two years, but in that time it has published many poetry collections. Simple colourful graphics illustrate the covers; the academic Dr Todd Swift picks the poets. Marion McCready’s Tree Language (out last April) has already gained plenty of praise, and Eyewear will also publish a book of SJ Fowler’s poetry later this year. Head to the London Review Bookshop to browse its titles.

mountPenned in the Margins

Like Strange Attractor, Penned in the Margins started by running events and performances before it began to publish poetry and experimental prose in 2006. Now it regularly publishes leading young names in poetry such as Ross Sutherland and Claire Trevien. Adventures In Form is its bestseller — a must for anyone interested in how texts and Twitter updates affected poetry. Its 90 poems experiment with traditional methods such as collage, as well as playing with new poetic forms. Visit Rough Trade East or nearby Brick Lane Books to see what’s in stock.

Mount London rises

Twenty-three London writers launch an ascent of the vertical city 
Mount London: Ascents in the Vertical CityForget the skyscrapers: an invisible mountain is rising above the streets of the capital - and at over 1,800 metres, it is Britain's highest peak.
This ingenious new book is an account of the ascent of 'Mount London' by a team of writers, poets and urban cartographers, each scaling a lesser hill within the city - from Stamford Hill (36m) to Crystal Palace (112m). Ascents of natural peaks are offset by the search for 'ghost hills' in the back streets, a descent into the deepest part of the Tube, and expeditions to the city's artificial mountains - The Shard (306m), the chimneys of Battersea Power Station (103m).
Helen Mort (Division Street) goes cross-country running up Parliament Hill, Joe Dunthorne (Submarine) tackles Europe's tallest building as a metaphor for gentrification, and Justin Hopper (Old, Weird Albion) discovers Doctor Who at the summit of Horsenden Hill. Many of the expeditions in this book reveal mountainous follies, their rubble strewn across the city from Northala Fields to Stave Hill to the ruins of the Crystal Palace. Ghosts of the city emerge from the pages: John Bunyan; the Sydenham Hill Giant; Margaret Finch, Queen of the Gypsies. From the folly of man to reach ever higher, to the effort of the climb, Mount London explores not only the physical topography, but also the psychological experience of urban hill walking.
Mount London is the latest anthology from award-winning independent publisher Penned in the Margins. Conceived and edited by poet Tom Chivers and academic Martin Kratz, this pioneering collection brings together twenty-three contemporary writers to document navigations of the city through essays and stories that are humorous, enlightening and endlessly imaginative.
Launched on 28th May to coincide with the feast of St Bernard of Montjoux, the patron saint of mountaineers, this dynamic collection brings the dense terrain of the city ever closer, immersing the reader in the environments and folk histories that Londoners encounter every day. Mount London unpeels London's history and geography, reimagining the streets as mountainous terrain and exploring what it's like to move through the contemporary city.
Full list of authors
Matt D. Brown, Sarah Butler, Tom Chivers, Liz Cookman, David Cooper, Tim Cresswell, Alan Cunningham, Joe Dunthorne, Inua Ellams, Katy Evans-Bush, SJ Fowler, Bradley L. Garrett, Edmund Hardy, Justin Hopper, Martin Kratz, Amber Massie-Blomfield, Karen McCarthy Woolf, Helen Mort, Mary Paterson, Gareth E. Rees, Gemma Seltzer, Chrissy Williams, Tamar Yoseloff.

Mount London & Penned in the Margins in 2014

2014/02/announcing-the-springsummer-2014-programme/ Very excited to be part of the 2014 Penned in the Margins program through an exciting anthology of new writing, a collection exploring the experimental essay form, about the hills of London. From Tom Chivers "Our publishing programme kicks off in May with Mount London, an anthology of essays that collectively attempts to ascend an imaginary mountain above the streets of the capital." My contribution is about Hampstead Heath and is a long awaited chance for me to further explore the ideas of consciousness and exhaustion in the written word. It's really about hill sprints, and the physiological meeting the phenomenological, and about conditioning, rather than exercise, as a lifestyle. Or something like that that isn't that. More to come on this project, and I sincerely recommend you get a copy of the Penned program to see the other great stuff they are producing with Caroline Bergvall, Chris McCabe and many brilliant others.

Penned in the Margins podcast: on poetry & performance

Really privileged to be invited to partake in a round table discussion on poetry and performance by Penned in the Margins, for their very first podcast. It was chaired by Tom Chivers and featured Hannah Silva and Sidd Bose. Quite an honour to be with them both, far greater than I in the performance realm. Certainly there was an interesting and proper difference in our approaches and general aesthetics. I was maybe a bit too harsh on spoken word, as I often am, I should be more mindful that the best of the medium is very good. It's just the case that the very average, or the very very poor, of the medium does parade as poetry, and userp it's resources, unfortunately. That tends to have me too trigger happy in smashing it. Anyway, a fine discussion, gentle and open, glad to be involved. 

Penned in the Margins Xmas sale - Enemies in the Innovator package!

I'm not just saying it because they published Enemies, but Penned in the Margins is clearly one of the most important poetry presses in the British Isles. The list speaks for itself (Wilkes, McCabe, Critchley, Kennard, Phillipson et al), always innovating upon their own mode. And now they're having a Christmas Sale - 20% off all books until the end of December. http://www.pennedinthemargins.co.uk/index.php/2013/12/great-deals-on-poetry-and-experimental-fiction-in-our-christmas-book-sale/ & add into this there are special bundle deals, the first of which, includes Enemies, so get out your 25 squid and improve your life.
Christmas Bundle #1: The Innovator
Books for those with avant-garde tendencies. From Emily Critchley’s experimental confessionals to the minimalist lyrics of Rob Stanton, and from Alan Cunningham’s urban philosophy to SJ Fowler’s cross-artform collaborations, this is poetry and fiction that embraces fragmentation, collage and collaboration £25