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: The Oldest Sports

A strange, balmy, intimate and fun night. A chance to celebrate fight sports, something ive always been around, very passionate about, with other poets and writers who share that love. It felt very much like a disparate but unified group of artists playing with the same material, often tangential and weird, and so really beautiful for that. A wee bit quiet, being world cup and summer times, but perhaps better for that, being notably ours. Some great performances worth watching up here http://www.theenemiesproject.com/pugilistica/ 

and a couple of my photos below, ive been spending lots of my summer learning to shoot on film

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Published : The Wrestlers

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I'm happy to announce the release of my latest poetry collection - The Wrestlers - from Kingston University Press, is available to purchase here The Wrestlers

From the publisher "Wrestling, the world’s oldest sport, has been used by artists, poets and sculptors as a metaphor for the internal struggle of the human mind for millennia. In the poems of SJ Fowler it becomes an action verb, a metaphorical crux which reflects not only upon the contradictions of our interior selves, but also the endless proliferation of entrenched argumentation in our contemporary world. Finding its origin in a commission from Tate Britain, where Fowler’s poetry responded to Henri Gaudier-Brzeska’s extraordinary eponymous relief, The Wrestlers is an accomplished collection from one the UK’s most thought-provoking poets, often playful, surreal, satirical and ambitious." www.stevenjfowler.com/thewrestlers

The book will be launched in London on July 12th at Burley Fisher Books http://burleyfisherbooks.com/event/triple-launch-vahni-capildeo-steven-j-fowler-and-zaffar-kunial/ A further launch to follow at Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, in September 2018.

Produced to a remarkable standard by KU Press, it collects together poems from a five year period, including poems published in Gorse Magazine, Test Centre magazine, 3am magazine, The Wolf, Poems in Which, The Honest Ulsterman, The Bohemyth, and the anthologies The Long White Thread: poems for John Berger (Smokestack Books), Millets (Zeno Press), Dear World and Everything In It (Bloodaxe Books), Hwaet: Ledbury Poetry Festival (Bloodaxe Books) and Shifting Ground (J&L Gibbons) alongside commissions by The Hay Festival : Arequipa, Peru and Tate Modern.

A note on: Wrestliana event at Burley Fisher Books

I had a lovely evening in discussion with Toby Litt to marks the release of his Wrestliana book, pulled in gently as the resident writer who knows about wrestling. We chatted about lineage, melancholy, regionalism alongside the wrestling in front of an intimate audience at Burley Fisher which is a really beautiful bookshop with a deserved following on Kingsland Road. Nice to be asked to do these kind of events, talking wrestling and boxing, as they are resolutely hobbies for me now, but the first things I truly loved to do, so will always be part of me, and seem even more important and attractive now I spend most of my time doing writing things.

Worth getting a copy of Toby's book here, it's really ambitious and energetic. https://www.galleybeggar.co.uk/shop-1/wrestliana

My new poetry collection - The Wrestlers - due out this summer

I'm happy to say my next poetry collection will be out with Kingston University Press this summer. The Wrestlers brings together poems written over the last five years but finds it origin in a commission I was lucky enough to do for Tate Britain online, thanks to Sarah Victoria Turner - a suite of poems responding to Henri Gaudier-Brzeska's eponymous relief and the nine consequent copies.

In a sense these poems, when I wrote them in 2011 and 2012 were a pivotal moment in my writing, a rejection / acceptance of Poundian modernism. Moreover they were about wrestling itself, something that was the primary activity of my childhood and teenage life, as well as the relief, and written upon request, that felt / feel strangely autobiographical (though you wouldn't be able to tell that by reading them).

I've revised these and then added many other works where wrestling has become an action verb in the mechanics of the poems, often just in the title. In a sense wrestling becomes a concept of imposition that acts like a dialectic between ideas or opinions. 

Like my last book, The Guide to Being Bear Aware, I think The Wrestlers is pretty traditionally poetry, its literary, because like my last book, it has come into existence while, organically, I have found other mediums to be the place of my experiments, like in art books, theatre or performance. So my natural instincts have changed too, in poetry, something I'm glad about, to always be changing tastes. If it was those European poets of the post-war new lyric tradition looming over me for my last book, now I'd say it has been a revisitations to pre-war poets which have influenced me. Mallarme, Mayakovsky, Apollinaire, Wat, Cummings have become ghosts in my new book, a bit. Reading them again, seriously, for a second or third time has of course disturbed some bones in my own work.

The book will have a London launch on June 30th at Rich Mix with other readings to follow.

Poems in the collection have been previously published, in one form or another, by Gorse Magazine, Test Centre magazine, 3am magazine, The Wolf, Poems in Which, The Honest Ulsterman, The Bohemyth, Wazogate and the anthologies The Long White Thread: poems for John Berger (Smokestack Books), The Other Room 4, Millets (Zeno Press), Dear World and Everything In It (Bloodaxe Books), Hwaet: Ledbury Poetry Festival (Bloodaxe Books) and Shifting Ground (J&L Gibbons). It also features the suite Poems in which César Abraham Vallejo Mendoza wrestles Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto (Pablo Neruda) which was commissioned by The Hay Festival : Arequipa, Peru in 2016 and a number of the poems in were created as part of The Green Infrastructure – a residency with landscape architects J&L Gibbons.

Published: Aletta Ocean's Alphabet Empire

I'm happy to announce the release of my new art book, from Hesterglock Press, released in limited-edition hardback first-print of just 40 copies, 20 of which have sold so far. The book is available to purchase here - Aletta Ocean's Alphabet Empire from my bigcartel page.

"A book that asks, abstractly, are letters shaped like bodies? Can words evoke faces, captured in a screen? Who, or what, is assimilating, who or what? Aletta Ocean's Alphabet Empire is a collection of art poems, hand wrought in black, grey, silver and white, fashioned with indian ink, paint and pen, worked with techniques that edge around writing, vying with abstraction, constantly harrying semantic meaning and legibility. 

Five years in the making, conceptually this is a book about sex, poetry and pornography and the disconnect between the former and the latter. These pages explore technology in its absence and aim to evidence the power of materiality and the body, and our hands, that are still required for touch."

"Searching AOAE online (Aletta Ocean's Alphabet Empire) shows a YouTube clip of Japanese cats mating. What's a word in any case if not a monster? A monster that eats words. The toner explodes on the office carpet spilling out a perfectly formed oeuvre. Serifs skywrite like migrating gannets. The rorschach accidentally tells you what to think. The printed facsimile becomes original when the world goes JavaScript. The dollar sign is a duck walking backwards into a lake. The ATM dispenses glyphs. How do we know people have faces when they take the day off work? The tank rolls over the charcoal leaving a map of Iraq or a new version of Cathay. We're back in the world of Artaud's final journal where, thank fuck (and at last) we're not being told what to think. Aletta Ocean's Alphabet Empire is an almighty triumph, a well-earned relief. Picasso said it took a lifetime to learn to paint like a child. Or, for that matter, like the mad." Chris McCabe

Published : I fear my best work behind me

'm happy to announce the release of my debut art book, in a limited edition, from Stranger Press. Available to purchase here I fear my best work behind me

The book will be launched on December 15th at The Poetry Society's Poetry Cafe at 7.30pm, free entry. Details here www.poembrut.com/ifear

Produced to a remarkable standard by Stranger press, I fear ... is a book exploring poetry as a fractured, overwhelmed, handwritten victim of colour, brutalist child-like portraiture, abstract illustration and negative space. 

I'm just messin' about, Karel Appel once said. Nothing was further from the truth. 
I'm just messin' about, says SJ Fowler. Nothing is further from the truth. Bas Kwakman, Director - Poetry International Rotterdam

i fear my best work behind me presents raw simulation of tentative and tender frailty. The respondent stares at fragments of attachment comprehension lost comprehension, becomes involved in a relationship of mark facture and scripted text applied sequentially or contemporary with each other, scripted in tandem or over the smudge. It is as if the intent has been hidden and that there rests an implicit coded discrepancy in each smudge demanding a decode, a search in the rubble, a decipherment that matches the pages of fleeting uncertainty and assured presentation without transcription. The work shakes with an engagement with these conditions.     Allen Fisher poet & artist

The volume features works published by Oxford Poetry, Test Centre magazine, Gorse Magazine, Fractalia and others, and an example can be found online at Partisan Hotelhttp://partisanhotel.co.uk/S-J-Fowler The book is closed by an essay, soon to be published onThe Learned Pig.

The works call back to the post-war and latter 20th century explorations of Henri Michaux, Jacques Racquet and the CoBrA group especially – Christian Dotremont, Pierre Alechinsky, Asger Jorn, Lucebert, Gerrit Kouwenaars, Karel Appel. This book is a reconnection to their principles and practises, knowing it to be familiar ground, but one rarely tread and increasingly necessary in a still predominantly colourless medium.

Part of Poem Brut, supported by Arts Council England.

A note on: Millets anthology from Zeno Press

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http://www.zenopress.com/product/millets/

 

£7.00

Millets is the first of a series of anthologies published by ZenoPress. This issue features works by artists and writers who have been invited to respond creatively to nine of the most known Zeno’s paradoxes.

Featuring texts by:

Richard SkinnerMaria FuscoSteven J FowlerJohn BoursnellLiz ZuminPaolo InverniJeremy EvansRobin BaleNicola WoodhamClaudia KappenbergGiovanna CoppolaClover PeakeTasha HainesChristian Patracchini

 

A note on: Atlantic Drift page on Edge Hill site

Really a grand anthology to be part of, so many poets included are quite beyond me, I am in every way the runt. It's been brilliantly fashioned by Arc publishing and the good folk at Edge Hill Uni, and they've thrown up a page about me

https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/university-press/steven-fowler/ 

It includes this interview, shot specifically for the project in Liverpool while I was there for Camarade'ing.

Published: new artpoems in the latest Gorse issue 8

I've said before that I think Gorse to be one of the finest literary journals in the world. I read their impeccably produced issues cover to cover and feel the journal to be edited as beautifully as it made. To have some of my art brut poems, from my upcoming I fear my best work behind me book with Stranger Press in the latest issue is wonderful, not only to share that work, aberrant as it would be to most publications, but also because I knew how beautifully they would present the works. They look amazing on its pages, I couldnt be happier.

You can pick up issue 8 here http://gorse.ie/book/no-8/

2017 >

2017: Some new books / plays / courses / exhibitions / events for the first half of the year upcoming.

New Publications
 
The Guide to Being Bear Aware : a new poetry collection published by Shearsman Books. Launched at York Literature Festival on March 29th, Kingston Writing School April 5th, Arnolfini in Bristol on April 6th and in London, at Swedenborg Hall in Bloomsbury, on April 11th www.stevenjfowler.com/bearaware

I fear my best work behind me : my debut art book - art brut portraiture, abstract illustration and handwritten poems, published by Stranger Press. May 2017. www.stevenjfowler.com/ifear

Subcritical Tests with Ailbhe Darcy - A full length collaborative collection of poetry and one of the first titles, and the very first poetry book, to be published by Gorse. Summer 2017. www.stevenjfowler.com/subcriticaltests

The Words Moving : poems on cinema - Limited edition poetry collection, each poem responding to a film, from The Devils to Angel Heart, from Salo to Jurassic Park, published by Pyramid Editions. Summer 2017 www.stevenjfowler.com/wordsmoving
 
Theatre

Mayakovsky As part of Rich Mix’s programme exploring the centenary of the Russian Revolution, a new experimental play on Vladimir Mayakovsky. Performed alongside new works by playwrights Petra Freimund, Larry Lynch and others. www.stevenjfowler.com/mayakovsky
 
Courses

Inventing Rauschenberg at Tate Modern - Exploring the life and legacy of Robert Rauschenberg, with a course following his innovative and wide ranging practise connected to the exhibition ongoing. 20 Feb – 20 March - Monday evenings : 18.45–20.45, in the galleries at Tate Modern. Booking here.
 
Exhibitions

Worm Wood with Tereza Stehlikova - A collaborative exhibition at Kensal Green Cemetery Dissenter’s Chapel and Gallery running 100 days from May to September 2017. Featuring new works of video, text art and installation, the exhibition will feature an event programme, including guided walks and workshops, exploring disappearing west London. www.stevenjfowler.com/wormwood 
 
Visual Poetry at Museum of Futures : February 18th to March 5th. A group show of new visual and concrete poetry, text art and avant-garde sculpture, drawing in artists and poets from South West London for the exhibition in Surbiton. http://www.theenemiesproject.com/futures

Curatorial

North x North West Poetry Tour : Visiting six cities across January and February, this tour of collaborative 'Camarade' events will draw in dozens of poets from across the region, endemic of the resurgence of avant-garde and literary poetry in the north of England in the last decade plus. New collaborations between myself and Chris McCabe, Amy Cutler, Nathan Walker & more. Curated with Tom Jenks. Supported by Arts Council England. www.theenemiesproject.com/northwest

Fiender: Swedish Enemies - January 28th at Rich Mix: Free
20 poets present 10 brand new collaborations to celebrate the visit of some of Sweden's, and Europe's most interesting writers. A new collaboration with Aase Berg, alongside poets including Elis Burrau & Holly Corfield Carr, Kathryn Maris & Patrick Mackie, Annie Katchinska & Mark Waldron. Curated with Harry Man. Supported by Arts Council Sweden. www.theenemiesproject.com/fiender

University Camarade II - February 25th at Rich Mix: Free
The University Camarade asks pairs of creative writing students from different Universities in the UK to collaborate on short new works of poetry or text, for performance.  The second event in the series features students from Kingston University, Oxford Brookes, York St John, Kent, Essex, York and Royal Holloway www.theenemiesproject.com/unicamarade

English PEN Modern Literature Festival - April 1st at Rich Mix : Free
30 contemporary UK-based writers present new works in tribute to writers at risk around the world. The festival continues English PEN's relationship with innovative contemporary literature over an extraordinary day. The 2017 festival will feature Denise Riley, Hannah Silva, Sandeep Parmar, Vahni Capildeo, Luke Kennard, Nathan Jones, Tony White, Matthew Welton, Elizabeth-Jane Burnett, Sasha Dugdale & many others. www.theenemiesproject.com/englishpen

Thanks for reading and happy new year, Steven.

Published: an artpoem in Oxford Poetry

Grand to have this art poem, on the left page, in the latest issue of Oxford Poetry. Thanks to Lavinia Singer and the editorial team at OP, which has been publishing since 1910. The work will be featured in my debut art book, published by Stranger Press in 2017, called I fear my best work behind me. This is what I wrote to contextualise the poem...

"The poem on the page is first a series of markings made upon a surface. Obvious, but it seems to me a great source of often profoundly underexplored potential for the poet. That is the continued realisation of this fact - of black on white, of colour, material, front, handwriting, of dead and living space, of a computer screen or piece of sliced tree - all that is happening aside from semantic content, and the relation of these things in changing, fluctuating, the semantic meaning and content the poet should worry over. 

This work draws from the influence post-war central European avant garde pioneers like Henri Michaux, Christian Dotremont and Constant Nieuwenhuys have had on my work, all of them poets in the purest sense, all too erroneously and conveniently labelled artists. It draws on asemic writing, experimental logograms and illustration but it also a poem in the clearest, anthropomorphic sense" 

And from the editorial ... "Encrusted in paper word impasto, this issue of Oxford Poetry celebrates the relationship between the verbal and the visual. Some poets respond ekphrastically to works of art (Richie McCaffery, Jeremy Valentine Freeman Ganem, Pascale Petit, Nancy Posey). Others paint worlds through bold metaphor and surreal imagery (John Burnside, Rebecca Perry, Mark Waldron, Astrid Alben, Martha Kapos) or evoke the subtleties of consciousness, memory and perception (Dominic Hand, Fiona Sampson, Denise Saul). Others step into the realm of visual poetry (SJ Fowler) to shape their words on the page (Chris Kerr, Elaine Feeney)." http://oxfordpoetry.co.uk/

A note on: Launching House of Mouse with Prue Chamberlain at Poetry School Camarade

So lovely to release a new collaborative book into the world, written alongside the brilliant Prue Chamberlain. We performed at The Poetry School Camarade, an event I curated at Rich Mix alongside 8 other pairs of poets, in what was a fine night all told, by alternatively reading, blindfolding, spinning and sticking noses on an olaf the snowman poster. The spinning was my favourite part of it, which perhaps goes some way to evidence my current feeling toward reading, but everything Prue and I have done in collaboration has been energising, such is her humour, intelligence and adventurousness. Buy our book please www.stevenjfowler.com/houseofmouse

Published: The House of Mouse by Prudence Chamberlain & I - Knives Forks & Spoons press: July 2016

To be launched as part of The Poetry School Camarade on July 17th 2016 at Rich Mix &The CapLet 1st year anniversary reading on August 10th at St Margaret's House, both near Bethnal Green.

I'm always interested in collaborating as a form of learning, growing as a poet and a person through the intelligence and idiosyncrasies of my collaborator. This book, and my ongoing collaborative work with Prudence Chamberlain, is a great example of that. These poems are unique for me, drawing me into new ways of writing, and this is such a beautiful book, dotted with new artworks by a variety of visual artists. Hopefully the humour, the intensity and the style will show through to readers too.

From the publisher: "Discursive, playful, obscene and satirical, The House of Mouse is a collection of ten poetic collaborations written by British poets SJ Fowler and Prudence Chamberlain - each responding to a famed cartoon, each uncovering the bizarre overt and covert symbols and signs of these pervasive animations. 
 
Dotted with original illustrations by contemporary artists like Lizzy Stewart and Duncan Marchbank, this unique collaborative collection aims to show that maybe the only thing stranger than corporate cartoon animals is avant-garde poetry."

One of the texts, Bambi, was published by the online poetry journal Country Music, edited by Scott Abels, in March 2016 is available to read below. http://countrymusicpoetry.org/index.php?pr=chamberlain-fowler

A note on: writing an introduction to Volodymyr Bilyk's Heartbeat, Footclick, Machine Gun Vocalises

A privilege to write the introduction to Volodymyr Bilyk's new work out with the brilliant M58 press edited by Jez Noond and Andrew Taylor, based in the UK. It's a hugely important work of avant-garde visual poetry emanating from real purpose and I've scanned (wonkily) my introduction in below. You can buy it here for £5 and I urge you to do so. http://www.m58.co.uk/post/141316776709/heartbeat-footclick-machine-gun-vocalises-by

A note on: launching 40 feet, a new book, written with David Berridge

As part of an event at the Essex Book Festival, a Camarade I had the pleasure of putting together, I got to read with my friend and collaborator, David Berridge. We launched our book 40 feet, which has been published by Knives Forks and Spoons press. http://knivesforksandspoonspress.co.uk/ 

40 Feet is a poem in dialogue. 40 poems as 40 moments, 40 fragments, 40 conversation starters / enders. It is a poem deliberately broken, misheard, overheard and overlapping. It is a record of meeting, writing, witnessing; mulching and reflecting London in 2013, where both of us lived and frequently met. 40 Feet is the events of that time and the character of that place, fixed in the subjective, the miniature, the specific - through an open-ended poetics of expression and conversation. 

We wrote the book over a year ago and revisiting it in Essex was a beautiful thing, to feel the book as a record of a friendship in poetry but also a marker of a time in my life.

And you can read more about David's work here http://verysmallkitchen.com/ 

Published: 2 limited editions released in March: Tractography (Pyramid Editions) & 40 Feet (Knives Forks & Spoons press)

Very pleased to see two new publications emerge in March. 

Tractography is the first of a new series of poems, called Neurocantos, and is launched in a boutique limited edition by Pyramid Editions, edited by Owen Vince. The poem is partially built from the words of a paper by the neuroscientist Daniel Margulies. http://pyramideditions.co.uk/

40 Feet, written with David Berridge is to be launched at the Essex Book Festival Camarade, on March 20th 2016, 40 Feet is published by Knives Forks and Spoons press. http://knivesforksandspoonspress.co.uk/ 

40 Feet is a poem in dialogue. 40 poems as 40 moments, 40 fragments, 40 conversation starters / enders. It is a poem deliberately broken, misheard, overheard and overlapping. It is a record of meeting, writing, witnessing; mulching and reflecting London in 2013, where both poets lived and frequently met. 40 Feet is the events of that time and the character of that place, fixed in the subjective, the miniature, the specific - through an open-ended poetics of expression and conversation. 

An excerpt featured in Enemies: the selected collaborations of SJ Fowler (2013) and is now published in it's entirety by Knives, Forks & Spoons press. And you can read more about David's work herehttp://verysmallkitchen.com/ 

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Reading at Stoke Newington Literary Festival 2015

Just a few days after the launch of {Enthusiasm}, I had the privilege to read alongside Iain Sinclair and Tom Chivers at the Stoke Newington Literary Festival. Influx press, whom I respect immensely, had been given a day to curate and had invited Test Centre to present three of their authors. So I had the pleasure to read alongside two people who have helped me greatly in my work. Iain was the first to really support my work, extremely early on, months into writing, and Tom has been a consistent champion of my stuff. At certain moments, certain perceptions and realities only become real because you hear them being made so. What Iain said in his slot, about my work, will stay with me as a great treasure for a very long time.

The very first reading from {Enthusiasm}