A note on : The end of the Other Room

The Other Room has come to an end. Ten years of remarkable events that have led the way in a resurgence of decidedly contemporary forward thinking poetry in the North West have wrapped themselves up as of April 2018. The trio of curators, all markedly influential poets, publishers and educators themselves – Scott Thurston, James Davies, Tom Jenks – have worked together in putting on dozens of poets in dozens of events, publishing 10 anthologies and posting hundreds of updates online for events and publications across the UK. They have done the kind of work that acts as an invisible inspiration to generations that come up behind them, that create concrete connections between writers and happenings that influence the future of poetry in the UK, especially outside of London, and I for one have often made it known their very specific way of working events has been a massive influence upon me. https://otherroom.org/

I would say my experience reading at The Other Room in 2011 was the singular influence on the nascent Enemies Project then and has concentrated my focus ever since. What I discovered was that there isn’t a contradiction between a warm, welcoming, hospitable, funny, unpretentious atmosphere and poetry that is challenging, complex, oblique, idiosyncratic and strange. In fact, these two things are complimentary. This discovery made me realise the often experienced distance, coolness and hierarchy of many readings was a deliberate imposition fashioned in order to create for themselves a sense of exclusivity. The Other Room showed this to me, this vital realisation and in so doing eliminated any instinct I might’ve had for utopian projects in poetry, allowing me to focus on each night at a time, to be present with the poets on those nights, enjoy their company, listen concentratedly to their work and then have a laugh whenever possible. This is very likely the reason my events are still going, 8 years after they began. 

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The Other Room also showed me that the superstition some poets have as a legacy from the last century, that organising too successfully blots out appreciation of your own poetry, a spectre of conflicting interests somewhere in the poetry ether (being a poet and editor is fine though apparently, and anthologising, and teaching) is also a myth. Scott, James and Tom are some of the most interesting poets writing in the UK, each with their own markedly original oeuvre and intellectual concerns, rendered in a multitude of forms and spaces, each with their own influence over many of their peers. Scott was one of the very first poets I met, and I listened to him carefully then, as I do now - his work offered me great possibility. James has done as much as anyone to make conceptual poetry in the UK its own separate exploration with its own decidedly British concerns, separate from the humourless aggrandisement that can be indicative of people’s understanding of that area of poetry. And Tom’s prolific invention, insight and deep erudition worn lightly has been a huge influence on my use of satire, humour and the balance between lyricism and found language. Tom, like Scott and James too, is such a clear thinker about poetry, has such a mind for the art, but carries this knowledge with great humility, always in a mode of learning, always open to new ideas.

The end of The Other Room is a loss for the UK poetry scene. I had always hoped similarly organic homes for interesting poetry would pop up in cities across the country, that it would procreate into more rooms of otherness, so that we could build a circuit that would be exponential, that would serve as a link for new poets coming through everywhere, doing what they have done for a decade, leading a way, lighting a path, providing a space. Yet, after this time, after such selfless labour, one can’t help but understand why it should end, so neatly, so that it doesn’t just dissolve as often the best things in poetry do, into something lesser, to disappear unnoticed. For my part, I’m grateful to them, they’ve run something powerful for longer than I’ve been involved in writing at all, and I hope as the next years pass The Other Room is remembered as a real moment in 21st British poetry.
 

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.

EPF2018 #5: European Poetry Festival celebrates Sound & Performance at Iklectic Artlab

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An extraordinary venue and a grand night of innovative live poetry, from the sonic to the electronic to the vocal to the conceptual. Eduard and the team (including Tony the Cat) at IKLECTIK are doing an amazing job and were so hospitable, we really felt like we were in someone’s beautiful living room. The place was nicely full, a good 70 people sat in to watch a real range of works. It was the first time I got to put on poets I’ve admired for years like Rike Scheffler from Berlin, Sergej Timofejev from Riga, and it was great to have back on in London poets like Robert Prosser from Vienna and Kinga Toth from Budapest. Range was the key element here, again, and the works complimented each other. It was a little nubache for me to run all the tech from my laptop while also filming but worth it, this movement of poets across Europe worrying about liveness and sound and time needed to be acknowledged in its own space and place.

See videos of every performance on the night and pictures too at www.europeanpoetryfestival.com/performance

A note on: Poem Brut at Rich Mix III was a powerful night

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The third poem brut event I've held at Rich Mix continues the project's momentum, and in so doing, keeps restoring my faith in the concept which motivates these live happenings - that is, if we concern ourselves with the actual material of live performance, time / space / aliveness / physical presence etc..., what possibilities are there for the poem to become itself, and not some hackneyed, overtly controlled syphoning of experience into language? I had become, in a slight way, slightly overly familiar with the events I had been curating, it's why I instigated Poem Brut after years of The Enemies Project, and nights like this, communal, friendly, busy with people (nearly 100 in attendance again), led by particularly wide ranging and challenging work, keep my heart afloat that this is work that needs doing. The positivity from the audience and participants really meant a lot to me, really made me consider carefully what it is I've tried to build and what I should do in the future.

We had poets visiting from Trinidad, Berlin, Estonia, Austria, America and it was gratifying they all said they had never experienced an event like this before. All the performances can be viewed https://www.poembrut.com/richmix3

Poem Brut is an exploration of poetry and colour, handwriting, composition, abstraction, scribbling, and illustration, affirming the possibilities of the page, the pen, the pencil - in a computer age - generating over a dozen events, multiple exhibitions, workshops, conferences and publications.  3am magazine, a partner in the project, is also running open call for new works that fit within the tradition

A note on: The University Camarade III was brilliant

A very special evening at the rich mix, the third time ive put this event together, with students from all over the UK. As ever, collaboration absolutely engenders friendships while producing challenging, idiosyncratic poetry. The students involved were universally excellent, brave, bold and the evening left a real impression on the audience, and I think, I hope, on the rest of their poetry / writing / performing lives. I believe sincerely that opportunity is what shapes people's journey and growth, and this event gives people young in their experience a real urge to go into new spaces. 

I was especially content with the showing of my students, who we and are markedly their own, which is all I want from them, to expand and explore their own paths, with some erratic guidance www.theenemiesproject.com/unicamarade / www.writerscentrekingston.com/richmix

Writers' Centre Kingston : blog #4 - a performance, Dying

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The first few months of running the new literary centre at Kingston University have been really interesting, and our first few events have been as good as I could've hoped for. The second, the official launch, at Rose theatre in Kingston, featured Iain Sinclair, Andrew Teverson and myself speaking on the theme of Dying, to a full house.

Find out more at www.writerscentrekingston.com/dying

I had to give a performance for the event as a speaker dropped out in fact. I did an improvised talk, the kind I've been focusing in on the last year. Lots of speed talking, lying, comedy rhythms. As a condition I write them on the day, a few hours before, as bullet points and then just work them out live, frightening but satisfying. I wrote tonight's on toilet papiere while waiting for the audience to arrive.

 

A note on: closing the Worm Wood exhibition

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One final event marked the end of this culmination of two years of collaborating with the brilliant tereza stehlikova, and the end of the summer, one spent with many days and nights in the chapel and grounds of the east end of kensal green cemetery. There was a palpable sense of emotion during some of the performances, all of those many artists who have contributed to the programme seemed to connect their new works often to their experiences of grief and death, and again, some of the works were very intense in a beautiful way. Perhaps its because these events have been intimate, 20 to 30 people and in such an amazing space. tony white, thomas duggan, susie campbell, iris colomb and more, they were all very generous about the project and to share their time and works. tereza and i plan to continue to work together on Worm Wood, for the foreseeable future, especially now it is so tied into the coming old oak development and the disappearance of the parts of west london we set out to explore long before we know old oak existed.

checkk out stevenjfowler.com/wormwood

A note on: performing at the institute of psychoanalysis in London

I had a blast performing in Sigmund Freud Lecture Theatre at Institute of Psychoanalysis! It was for The Poetry and Psychoanalysis Conference: Creative Borders and Boundaries brilliantly organised by Kathryn Maris, Catherine Humble and Susanne Lansman. Much to say about my performance, it was a conceptual satire on conference papers perhaps and the normative urge in poetry and psychoanalysis to 'fix' or to begin a discussion about these fields with the assumption that such 'fixing' is possible. Anyway I had fun and people seemed to enjoy my tomfoolery. https://psychoanalysis.org.uk/civicrm/event/info?id=531

A note on : Bucharest International Poetry Festival

Blown away by this trip to Romania, a place that seems to be undergoing a palpable shift into a new generation of poets and curators who are seeking a more dynamic, innovative understanding of what literature can be. A country that was the subject of my first ever international Enemies project, and one that I think it’s fair to say is steeped in formalism with poetry post war - beyond the explosive tradition of Tzara, Janco, Ionesco, Cioran, Fondane, Brancusi, Celan, Braga etc etc -  due to its recent traditions and history, this visit for the Bucharest International Poetry Festival, thanks to poet and curator Simona Nastac, completely subverted my expectations. www.stevenjfowler.com/romania

I had the chance to spend a number of days in Bucharest before and after the performance I gave, my first time in the city, and I was able to travel in the country after that. So I had to really think through the work I was to present, and to make it completely new, as I’ve managed to do for every performance over the last few years. The city was immediately attractive to me, the grand fading architecture, a whole slew of what seemed new and open restaurants, cultural centres, and beautiful weather, and a general energy and unpretentiousness that made the kind of open, unplanned walking and exploring that I so often do when travelling, deeply rewarding.

My work was part of a night curated by Simona called MetaMorph and it brought together ten artists from across the world. A lineup that at any place and time would be considerable. Ten of us each given ten minutes, on one night, no intermission, with what ended up to be around 150 people crammed into the beautiful Point theatre, with space for perhaps 100. Friends and peers I admire so much like Maja Jantar and Max Hofler alongside Romanian talents I’d long since read like Claudiu Komartin and Razvan Tupa and even really considerable talents from as far as Canada and the US in Christian Bok and LaTasha Nevada Diggs.

I planned my work to initially be an slightly improvised conceptual performance, a meta talk, revolving around a subversion of the gross ads the British government had taken out in Romania to dissuade Romanians to come to the UK for work. Having lots of ties to the Romanian cimmunity in London at first this would be anti-these ads in a direct way, and then later, assuming the mantel of a copywriter of these ads, so pretending to be in favour of them. Both seemed too favourable or too provocative. I ended up evolving a kind of TED talk satire, with slides full of ambiguous poetic statement and some pretty straight on jokes. I then used this as a spine to improvise around on the night. This open space did make me nervous, as is often the way nowadays, I use this fear to produce something that I do believe the audience can feel is alive, unscripted, being made for them and before them. I watched the 9 performances very carefully before me, as I was last to close out the evening, and used much of others work as inspiration / material too. In the end, I think the individuated, tailored nature of the work did resonate with people, they seemed to like it. I was glad too I didn’t try to match the likes of Maja, LaTasha, Max and Christian in terms of force and skill. The playful, humorous, conceptual was the strength I should’ve leaned into on this night and it worked well for me in the end.

A grand achievement on Simona’s part, it really felt that afterwards enjoying some beautiful evenings in the city with the other poets, talking for many hours, sat in some really wonderful restaurants and cafes, that her work here included Romania firmly in the collection of new hubs for showcasing a new understanding of what poetry might be in Europe. I’ve found this all over the continent over the last few years, I’ve tried to do this myself in London, and it’s a genuine flowering of a new way of working, of a new community. Hearing of similar enterprises in Brasov and Sibiu too, it’s clear Romania has something happening.

A note on : European Poetry Night London 2017

One of the best events I’ve put on for awhile, one of the best Enemies ever by all accounts. Over 130 people packed into Rich Mix, 13 new collaborations from 26 poets from over 12 nations across Europe. It was intense, energetic, original and still open, welcoming, engaging. Having organised two events the two nights previous on the same continental theme, taken everyone visiting London to dinner the night before, to show a wee bit of all too rare London hospitality, and then having a collaboration on myself, it would be fair to say in the buildup, I was busy. In the end it was smooth as you like. www.theenemiesproject.com/epn

My collaboration with Ásta Fanney SigurðardóttirAsta was one my favourite performances I’ve done. We worked on it very sporadically, so much of it open to improvisation just moments before, much of it fleshed out in a stairwell in the venue. This kind of liveness and intensity gave the piece something, and the control of tone, the pace, the balance and rhythm of delivery really seemed to work. The big turn at the heart of the piece, and the satire driving it seemed to surprise / resonate with the audience. Always something special working with Asta.

By the end in the bars of Brick Lane, many new friendships had been made and there was the distinct payoff such endeavours occasionally provide – the feeling something special, something small and transitory, but none the less special, had taken place.

A note on: European Poetry Night! May 6th in London

European Poetry Night : London
Rich Mix : May Saturday 6th : 7.30pm

www.theenemiesproject.com/epn

An opportunity to see some of the most exciting contemporary poets from all over Europe, as over 20 poets travel to London to share new collaborative poems, premiered on the night, in pairs, across languages, styles & nations. These are some of the most dynamic literary and avant-garde poets of the 21st century, celebrating the potential of collaboration to generate truly innovative poetry and work firmly against the divisive idea of a reduced closeness of spirit across our continent. Curated by SJ Fowler. 

European Poetry Night 2017 in London. May Saturday 6th: Rich Mix
7.30pm - Free Entry. 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA


Bas Kwakman & Jen Calleja  /  Kinga Toth & Simon Pomery  /  Endre Ruset & Harry Man  /  Alessandro Burbank & Max Hofler  /  Ásta Fanney Sigurðardóttir & SJ Fowler  /  Theodoros Chiotis & Vanni Bianconi  /  Tom Jenks & Weronika Lewandowska  /  Henriette Støren & Astra Papachristodoulou  /  Livia Franchini & Maarten van der Graaf  /  Frank Keizer & Dan Aleksander Ramberg Andersen  /  Damir Sodan & Tomica Bajsic  /  Iris Colomb & Serena Braida 

The European Poetry Night is supported by Arts Council England, NORLA, The Royal Norwegian Embassy, Dutch Foundation for Literature, Institut Francais London, Austrian Cultural Forum London and many generous others. www.theenemiesproject.com/epn


Presented by The Enemies Project, European Poetry Night is actually one of three events in three nights on the European theme, creating a mini-festival of sorts. This begins in Norwich Writers Centre on May Thursday 4th before going on to Libreria Bookshop on May Friday 5th. All events are free. Details below.

European Poetry Night : Norwich - Writers' Centre Norwich
May Thursday 4th : Doors 6pm for 6.30pm start. Entrance Free. 
Dragon Hall, 115-123 King St, Norwich NR1 1QE www.theenemiesproject.com/norwich

EPN Norwich features brand new collaborative works of poetry from pairs of poets drawn from different European nations visiting for the event and as well as many local to Norwich too. Supported by Writers Centre Norwich and the International Literature Showcase. Featuring:

Martin Glaz Serup & Jeremy Noel-Tod  /  Endre Ruset & Rebecca Tamas  /  Jonathan Morley & Dan Aleksander Ramberg Andersen  /  Ásta Fanney Sigurðardóttir & SJ Fowler  /  Alison Graham & Matthew Gregory  /  Chris Hamilton-Emery & Richard Lambert  /  Zein Sa'dedin & Sarra Said-Wardell  /  Doug Jones & Sam Jordison  /  Andrew Wells & Nathan Hamilton  / Emily Willis & Olivia Walwyn


May Friday 5th : European Poetry at Libreria
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm / Free Entry / 65 Hanbury St, London E1 5JP
http://www.theenemiesproject.com/libreria
Readings from some of Europe's most innovative and dynamic poets, visiting London from a half dozen European nations. This event will celebrate the shared literary tradition of our continent with truly contemporary readings and performances in one of London's most beautiful bookshops. 

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: Performing at York Literature Festival

An exceptionally resonant time in York, thanks to the hospitality and curation of Kim Campanello, York St John University and the York Literature Festival. I love the city, having visited a lot as a kid, with viking familial roots, in the stink of the Jorvik centre, and having been there just months before for the NXNW tour. This time just Antony Dunn and I performing at a showcase event, the audience was amazing, the students brilliant, the whole impact of the event rare and memorable. There was a sense of juxtaposition in the event, between Antony as a poet in the lyrical tradition and me in the more experimental, but that proved not be conflicting but generative. Similar people with slightly different experiences and tastes in poetry. It created something valuable, something to riff off against. Antony was brilliant to watch read and to chat with in the Q&A, and I thoroughly enjoyed auctioneering for the first time, as well as book eating for perhaps the third. 

They collected some feedback from the audience, quite enjoyable to read.

'Fantastic event, thoroughly enjoyed'
'Loved the contrasting styles'
'Polar different takes on poetry and yet shared values'
'Love Dunn's poetry about the everyday and Fowler's combining of words and other media'
'Brilliant to witness these poets up close and their eclectic personalities. Very inspiring.'
'Performative nature of both poets was eccentric and exciting'
'Cheered me up!'
'I got a free poem [he didn't eat the whole book].'
'Didn't like book-eating, but appreciated SJF's reason given for eating book.'
'Perfect pairing of poets'
'Brought to life the poetry and contextualised it within the world'

A note on : Rauschenberg at Tate Modern, reflections on a fine course

Across five monday evenings in the new year of 2017 I had the chance to lead a course at Tate Modern, after hours, in the Robert Rauschenberg exhibition itself. With a remarkable group of people, ten hours were passed amongst the extraordinary range of artworks that made up this retrospective. All told I spent almost exactly twenty four hours in that space, most often alone or in a small group. I was able to really engage, in a way that is almost impossible in normal circumstance, with the lessons Rauschenberg's lifetime of art practise and general decency had to offer me. And I did feel it was a personal connection, feeling an immense kinship with his prolific and curious mode. 

I've generated an unwieldy volume of notes on his work that I intend to turn into an article or sorts, or a reminder for myself in smoother print, but for now, just fresh from the course's conclusion, I can only reflect on the generous human experience it provided. I must helped with quite some grace by curators Luisa Ulyett and Joseph Kendra, and I will admit at times the unique format of the after-hours adult-ed type format did provide challenges, I believe myself to be too conscious of every individual detail at times, trying to do all things at once, making sure everyone involved is satisfied in all ways, when this not possible and counterintuitive.  However the experience was resonant because of those generous enough to participate, really warm, intelligent, discerning people I had the chance to spend an extended time with, a ten hour conversation. Read more - http://www.stevenjfowler.com/tatemoderncourse

A note on: Lightwave, performing with Lithuanian poets in London

If you try to please audiences, uncritically accepting their tastes, it can only mean that you have no respect for them.
 -Andrei Tarkovsky

A memorable night at Free Word centre, bathed in a dirty UV light I had associated with searching for bodily fluids in hotel rooms transformed a literary house meeting hall into a space for real performance literature. I was performing alongside Lithuanian poets Zygimantas Kudirka and Gabriele Labanauskaite and thanks to Zygi's suggestion we themed the evening around the Lightwave, all presenting new live works thanks to an invitation by the Lithuanian Cultural Centre tying into the London Book Fair.

I've known Gabriele for years now, she has always been a peer whose work I find motivating, one of dozens of folk beyond the UK doing the work I think we should be doing on the island, blending heavy skill in theatre, poetry and sound. She has an immense presence too, calm, clear thinking, warm. And Zygimantas was a revelation, having never seen him perform before, he was unique, capitivating, authentic, very funny. He made my improvised speaking performance, which involved rope lights nosed around my neck, flames held under my palm and rambling engagements with the theme of light, seem conventional.

The Free Word was kitted out differently too and there was a sensitive, engaged feeling in the audience. It all emerged from the intent, mindful curation of the Lithuanian Cultural Institute, Rūta Nanartavičiūtė and her colleagues were a joy to work with, with an unusual sense of play and a taste for the contemporary and strange. The intense feeling of post performance energy, of soft relief, was permeated this time with a sense of hoping hospitality had been shown to the visiting poets, and it felt as thought they had shared an evening with myself and others that would be long in the memory.

A note on: Lightwave: New Performance in Lithuanian Literature

Wednesday March 15th / 6:30pm doors for 7pm start / Free Word Centre
60 Farringdon Road. EC1R 3GA : Free Entry but online booking requested here

A unique event celebrating Lithuanian’s new generation of literary artists, featuring brand new readings and performances by Gabrielė Labanauskaitė-Diena, Žygimantas Kudirka and SJ Fowler, a British poet connected to their innovative, collaborative practise.

Both Labanauskaite and Kudirka have carved out reputations across Europe for remarkable writing and live performances to match. This is a rare chance in London to witness poets who are breaking ground in the new European scene.

From Lithuania’s powerful lyrical and formal tradition has grown a culture of experimentation and in this event curated for the London Book Fair, the Lithuanian Culture Institute brings to light the best of Lithuania’s new generation of poets and performers.

Speakers Žygimantas Kudirka is a writer, artist and performer of interactive poetry, artificial languages and electronic music. Kudirka’s first poetry collection, XXI a. Kudirka (The Twenty-first Century Kudirka), is made up of interactive verses, literary remixes, internet poetry, and texts of unusual graphic forms and content. He is also a performer of avant-garde rap and one of the pioneers of poetry slam in Lithuania, representing the country in European slam poetry championships. His works have been translated in different languages and part of them can be found online herehere or here. / Gabrielė Labanauskaitė-Diena is a text producer. She combines poetry, drama, essay and other texts with interdisciplinary arts, enjoying her roles as writer, performer and organizer. Gabrielė also appears in classical forms – as a playwright in theatre, lecturer at Lithuanian Music and Theatre Academy, human being in everyday life. Find out more here and here.

A note on: Fiender, performing with Aase Berg

I enjoy collaborating with Aase Berg. We put on something conceptual, something about surprise, coldness, fakery, a satire I suppose, about the opinions of others. And about liveness against the page. A new work for the new audience. We had fun doing so.

This event was a return to the Camarade Harry Man and I put together at the Stockholm International Poetry fest last November, but this time, in enemies project style, pulling in 20 poets in all, 3 from swedeland, and a 100 people to witness the 10 new works. It was a fun evening, full of energy. All the videos www.theenemiesproject.com/fiender

< 2016

A thank you to everyone who has made my 2016 a remarkable series of encounters, adventures and collaborations. Whatever the wider context of the adversarial world, I have been immensely fortunate to engage in the many things below. Happy new year.

Performances at festivals beyond my home island, including (these links include travelogues and videos) 
Hay Festival: Arequipa, Peru
Times Lit Fest: Bombay, India
Dhaka Lit Fest and teaching Chittagong for British Council, Bangladesh
10tal’s Stockholm International Poetry Festival, Sweden
Airwaves Festival: Reykjavik, Iceland
Bjornson Festival: Molde, Norway
Poetry International Vlieland, Holland
Krokodil Festival: Belgrade, Serbia
TextWorld at Forumstadt Park: Graz, Austria
Milosz Festival: Krakow, Poland
Tbilisi International Literature Festival, Georgia
CCTSS Festival: Beijing, China
Iskele Poetry Festival, Cyprus
El Tercer Lugar, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Ovinir and the Library of Water: Iceland

Commissions, projects and residencies

States of Mind at Wellcome Collection: curating and speaking at three events in July for the major exhibition on consciousness. The events were remarkable explorations of neuroscience and art involving Barry Smith, Srivas Chennu, Daniel Margulies & many others. www.stevenjfowler.com/statesofmind

BBC Radio 3's The VerbThe Worm in its Core commissioned as a new text in response to Hearing the Voice - a project which explores, and demystifies, auditory verbal hallucinations. www.stevenjfowler.com/theverb

The Soundings project: working with Wellcome Library via Hubbub group, new sound and conceptual collaborative performances with Phil Minton, Sharon Gal, Tamarin Norwood and Patrick Coyle, all documented by Ed Prosser. www.stevenjfowler.com/soundings


Jerwood Open Forest: collaborating with David Rickard for his ‘Returnings’, a proposed sculptural installation in Kielder Forest. Work with David was exhibited at Jerwood Space in Southwark as part of the project. www.stevenjfowler.com/returnings

Hubbub –The first ever Hub residency at Wellcome Collection, amongst many collaborations I co-curated a project entitled Respites for people claiming benefits and appeared on the Anatomy of Rest BBC Radio program with Claudia Hammond. www.stevenjfowler.com/hubbub


J&L Gibbons residency: a third year in residence with the groundbreaking landscape architects, included the Shifting Ground publication www.stevenjfowler.com/gibbonsresidency

The Singing Bridge: new texts for Claudia Molitor's audio installation on Waterloo Bridge as part of Totally Thames festival. www.stevenjfowler.com/singingbridge


Manners Maketh Man for Forum Stadtpark: new video poem installation commission exhibited in Graz. www.stevenjfowler.com/graz

Lunalia: An entire lunar cycle, one month, in sound collaboration with the brilliant Maja Jantar, responding to the moon through aberrant auditory artworks www.stevenjfowler.com/lunalia/ 

StAnza Festival, Scotland: New book destruction performances and workshop with Camarade for wonderful poetry festival in St Andrews. www.stevenjfowler.com/stanza

Publications:

House of Mouse: a new collaborative poetry collection with Prudence Chamberlain published by Knives Forks & Spoons press. The project also included a series of performances and magazine publications. www.stevenjfowler.com/houseofmouse

Tractography: a new limited edition pamphlet with poems about neuroscience from Pyramid Editions. Launched at the Proud Archivist in London.

40 Feet: a new collaborative publication with David Berridge published by Knives Forks & Spoons press. Launched at Essex Book Festival. www.stevenjfowler.com/40feet

& poems and artworks were published this year in magazines including Poetry Magazine, Gorse, Test Centre, Poetry Wales, Oxford Poetry, Poems in Which, Revolve:R, Queens Mob Teahouse, Berfrois, The Clearing, Karawa (Germany), Wazo (Spain), Boto Cor De Rosa (Brazil), Enchanting Verses (India) as well as anthologies including Long White Thread for John Berger (Smokestack) and Hwaet: 20 years of Ledbury Festival (Bloodaxe).Exhibitions:

The Night-Time Economy with Kate Mercer: Extended exhibitions of photography and poetry in both Newport's Riverfront Theatre & Arts Centre and London's Rich Mix exploring the often fractious energy and environment of Newport, Wales' nightclubs and pubs. Supported by Arts Council Wales. www.stevenjfowler.com/nighttimeeconomy

Rest and its discontents at Mile End Art Pavilion: an exhibition to close the Hubbub residency at Wellcome Collection, featured a video work with excerpts from Soundings project

Conceptual Poetics exhibition at Saison Poetry Library: Performance works included in this group exhibition 

Curatorial:

English PEN Modern Literature Festival: a privilege to curate a new festival where 30 English writers celebrated 30 writers at risk, currently supported by English PEN, and to celebrate Khadija Ismayilova with a new work www.stevenjfowler.com/englishpen

The first ever European Poetry Night: part of the European Literature Festival with over 20 poets from across the continent, included a new performance with Ásta Fanney Sigurðardóttirwww.theenemiesproject.com/epn

The University Camarade: from my ongoing lectureship at Kingston University a new event to create collaboration between creative writing students across the UK.www.theenemiesproject.com/unicamarade

South West Poetry Tour: co- curated a five date tour across Cornwall, Devon and Somerset with Camilla Nelson. Over 70 poets involved, new collaborations with Matti Spence, Annabel Banks, JR Carpenter and John Hall. http://www.theenemiesproject.com/southwest

Kakania: Two remarkable events in Berlin and one in London, including a symposium, Kakania celebrated Habsburg Vienna in experimental style with dozens of new commissions. Supported by Österreichisches Kulturforum Berlin and Austrian Cultural Forum London. www.kakania.co.ukwww.theenemiesproject.com/kakaniaberlin


A World without Worlds: curated with Lotje Sodderland, this event series exploring neuroaesthetics, neuroscience, the brain and language closed at Apiary Studios www.theenemiesproject.com/aworldwithoutwords

With the Enemies Project I also curated or co-curated collaborative events for the Rich Mix Anniversary celebrations, UNESCO Edinburgh City of Literature, The Essex Book Festival, Apiary Studios, the Poetry School Camarade and Ovinir: Icelandic Enemies, Mtrebi: Georgian Enemies and Enemigos: Argentinian Enemies.

Performance:

Celebrating Cesar Vallejo at Hay Arequipa: a new experimental performance in Peru, evoking the great poet. www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlL4sH28gjo

Celebrating Aleksandr Wat at Milosz Festival: a newly commissioned collaboration with Weronika Lewandowska and Tom Jenks, loosely based on Wat's Moj Wiek or My Century www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWR-FPmTahI

Celebrating Jerome Rothenberg at Contemporary Poetics Research Centre, Birkbeck: A new performance celebrating the great American poet to mark his visit to London.www.youtube.com/watch?v=YD-rn0E-9JQ&t=15s

Praxis at Parasol Unit: a new conceptual performance with Maja Jantar https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCW9cJ-Itfo&t=537s

Other new live work included for the The The the reading series, Lexicon at Marsden Woo Gallery and at the Library of Water. Iceland.

Articles:

If you're down this far, you are a good egg. I’m grateful to have worked with so many generous folk in 2016. There is more to come in 2017. Hope your year starts brightly, Steven