Writers' Centre Kingston : blog #2 - Sampson Low Poetry Publication series

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I would say of all the initiatives I've lined up for my new role at Writers' Centre Kingston, this one, a series of new limited edition poetry pamphlets for current students or recent alumni of Kingston Uni, is the one I'm most excited about. It gives me the chance to work closely with some remarkably mature, original and exciting poets and its the first series I've edited like this, only seven years into my own writing. Molly, Zakia and Dacy have all made my time at kingston in the last few years more engrossing because of the constant surprises and reassurances their work has provided.  https://www.writerscentrekingston.com/sampsonlow

The link has the place to buy the booklets, and anything that supports Alban Low's work at Sampson Low is worthwhile. His professionalism and attention to detail is remarkable too. Here's my statement accompanying the series

“Kingston University brings together students from all over the world, from as wide a range of backgrounds and cultures as can be found in the UK. It creates a community that cross pollinates influences and ideas, and this is inevitably reflected in the work the students create. The university does not get enough credit for this – it is, I have seen, a vibrant, harmonious environment where originality and difference can be transformed into exciting and innovative expression. The students are hungry for that which is innovative, that which allows them to express the true size and complexity of their experience and their community at the university. This series of poetry pamphlets reflects that. The work is utterly contemporary, it is exciting and energetic. It is, I hope, the best kind of representation of what Kingston University stands for – intelligent, unique and various in its character.”  
Series editor, SJ Fowler

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A note on: Shifting Ground with J&L Gibbons at Dalston Curve

30 Year Anniversary Event and launching Shifting Ground, a publication - September 22nd 2016: A really wonderful night at Dalston Curve with all the friends, colleagues and members of J&L Gibbons, celebrating three decades of remarkable, innovative, mindful work in shaping the environment of London and beyond. Lovely to work towards this night, where I gave a small contribution with this collective, multivocal reading, through the Shifting Ground publication. A beautiful object, it combines articles, reflections, dialogues, celebrates the past through future work and enterprise, and fortunately for me, contains a suite of my poems. 

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

Published: Tractography by Pyramid Editions

An incredible job done by Owen Vince and the team at Pyramid Editions, Tractography is a beautiful, fragile piece of work. Printed in a run of just 50 copies, it contains the first in my new series of poems that centre upon neuroscience and neuroscientific ideas, this time inspired by the work of my friend Daniel Margulies. My sincere thanks to Owen and Daniel, and you can pick up one of the few remaining editions here http://pyramideditions.co.uk/shop

Gelynion: a publication by Hazard Press

Thanks to the remarkable skill and generosity of Jeremy Dixon, Gelynion was accompanied by a beautiful, handmade publication. A six way collaborative poem, where each of the core touring six poets - Nia Davies, Zoë Skoulding, Eurig Salisbury, Joe Dunthorne, SJ Fowler & Rhys Trimble - each wrote a line, and then, with names removed, each other poet added a line, wherever they wished on the page until six poems of six lines had been written. Each poem a truly collaborative work.

Jeremy, who makes such wonderful literary objects at http://hazardpress.co.uk/ then handcrafted just 60 copies for a limited edtion run. He had them waiting for us at the very first gig in Newport and they proved to be a great success throughout the tour. It's hard to convey their delicate and unique character, small and elaborately finished. A huge thanks to Jeremy, do visit Hazard Press and peruse their wares.

The poems within were read twice on the tour, including being the very last reading at the last Welsh gig, at the Hay Festival, where each of us six stood to read a poem each. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sb40wuSWBxo

Below Ground: a book with J&L Gibbons selected for On Landscape project at Materia Gallery

So pleased to be associated with the amazing landscape architects J&L Gibbons and to be a part of their beautifully produced Below Ground publication was a lovely thing, with my poems on Soil. 

Now to find out that work has been selected for the On Landscape exhibition at the Materia gallery, is a grand and unexpected development. http://www.materiagallery.com/

"Matèria is proud to announce the results of the On Landscape #2 book call. On behalf of the judging panel we would like to thank all the participants; the response and quality of submitted work has been exceptional. After careful deliberation the judges selected 44 books that will be exhibited at Matèria alongside work by Dafna TalmorEmma WieslanderMinna Kantonen and Marco Strappato."

Open Mouth Surgery, a collaboration with Morten Sondergaard, published in the Bohemyth

http://thebohemyth.com/2014/05/06/morten-sondergaard-steven-fowler/ Im proper pleased one of my favourite collaborations this year, with the extraordinary Danish poet Morten Sondergaard has been published in the great Irish journal the Bohemyth, edited by Michael Shanks. The work, Open Mouth Surgery, is a fusion of Morten's wordpharmacy project and its concerns, and my own aberrant attempts to run veins of speech fragments and surrealism through such a beautiful tailored poetic project. 

Under the Volcanoes - an inside architecture of a new publication by Alex Latter of Grapsas press

One of the many beautiful things I brought back with me from Mexico city at the end of 2013 was a brand new collaboration with Holly pester, someone whose work Ive respected for years, and whom Id become associated with through my events but never actually written / performed with. We rectified that in Mexico, sharing stage for over an hour, and writing Under the Volcanoes, a work of pure, warped homage to Malcolm Lowry, who hung over my every perception of Mexico having read Under the Volcano, Lunar Caustic and his others works stuck on a bus in Croatia many years before. Holly read the book in Mexico and we fused our responses into a dialogue text that takes found lines and new lines and disjunctions and exchanges and soups them. When we returned, with a text over around 200 exchanges, Alex Latter was kind enough to support us in developing a boutique 2014 publication of the work, using the Bodleian press of all things, through his Grapsas imprint. The collaboration is to be published as a unique pocketed, jacketed, filleted objet d'art, and recently Alex was kind enough to send out some notes on the process, which are of real interest I believe, so Ive posted some below:

"i’ve worked out the setting i’ll be using—it’s about 14 lines per page, and they’ll be printed landscape. the lines, especially steven’s, are quite long, and i wanted to preserve their length rather than cramp them up over several line-breaks.

i took the first imprint of the first full page of type i’ve set. i thought originally that have the text on the verso page right-aligned and recto left-aligned would look quite good, as the lines would then look like they’re running into and out of the gutter respectively. i was also hoping it might achieve a visual effect equivalent to the craggy geology of central mexico—my memory of flying into mexico city was the mountains and volcanoes (and also my brother projectile vomiting over the three rows in front of him). 

however, i didn’t think this effect worked very well: this was what the first impression looked like:

i

i think the effect is lost in the length of the lines: it might have worked better if the lines were shorter, but the effect is too diffuse and not like the igneous crush i was hoping for.

also, as you can see from this, typesetting throws up all sorts of interesting language problems because of foul casing (i.e. the wrong letters in the wrong part of the font). my favourite here is ‘some horribble disasher’, closely followed by ‘founber and fail’. this sort of mis-reading/setting reminded me a bit of that poem you had in ‘here comes everyone’ anthology, holly. and also the fact that the line at the end of othello—‘like the base indian who grew away a pearl richer than all his tribe’—is given as ‘base judean’ in some texts, because of a foul-cased ’u’. it’s like the language keeps wanting to escape being set down, right until the very last moment.

sbut i reset it from the left anyway, and it now looks like this:


i’ve left an em-space at the beginning of each run-on line, which i think draws attention to the text’s reiterations, without it being catechistic.

so having worked out that setting, i’m expecting the full text to come in at around 23-24 pages. (13 for steven’s, 8 for holly’s)

this is a very large project for this kind of type-setting. i’m going to suggest that i print it into two volumes, as this will make the project quicker and also resolve the logistical problems of setting this number of pages."

Launching "Vikings: the Whale Hunt" a new publication with Annexe

Really pleased to be publishing some new work, a lovely illustrated pamphlet, another in my Vikings series (which will continue to be released segment by section) with the amazing Annexe and its fine editor Nick Murray. I really respect the energy, the quality and the breadth of the work Annexe puts out, and really happy to be under its umbrella. More so that the publication will be launched alongside a new work by Tom Chivers, a close friend and a really good poet. www.annexemagazine.com
The first Annexe event of the year is an exciting one as we launch new pamphlets from two exceptional writers. 

Tom Chivers & SJ Fowler - Double Launch - Candid Arts Trust 
Wednesday 26th February - 7pm (reading commencing at 7.30) = FREE
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Whale Hunt  - SJ Fowler 

"Time began with a bear then it became a Viking

family tree over grandfather to all of us (that matter)
the polite, the gentle born of the power to display force
but choosing not to do so in company resounds its glow"

Poet and vangardist, SJ Fowler, strives to encounter and confront all disciplines in the poetic tradition. His latest work starts from a root of Norse mythology and carves a path through contemporary poetics and language construction. 

Whale Hunt, part of the Introducing series, is a curated section of Fowler's Vikings work and is published as an illustrated pamphlet.

Gorse magazine introduces me

http://gorse.ie/introducing-sj-fowler/ a far too generous portrait from the remarkable people at Gorse magazine, one of the publications I'm most looking forward to in 2014, coming soon, in the inaugural issue, six of my poems from a future collection {Enthusiasm}

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Editors’ note: As we head towards publication, we thought we would introduce our contributors.
SJ Fowler has been exploring the boundaries of European poetry in his Maintenant series, a project that takes its name from pugilist, poet, hoaxer and nephew of Oscar WildeArthur Cravan. It’s an astonishing project, one that has profiled the work of almost 100 contemporary poets, placing the likes of Frédéric ForteTadeusz Różewicz and George Szirtesalongside Ann CottenLuna MiguelHolly Pester and Ragnhildur Jóhanns. Says Fowler,
“For years I was completely isolated in my reading too…and as such I was in a bubble, didn’t have the chance to develop any sense of prejudice against poetry in translation, or avant garde work, as somehow otherly. That’s perhaps why I read this kind of work alongside poetry that might be better known in this country in equal measure.”
Steven delivered a series of lectures at the Southbank’s Rest is Noise festival late last year, released a collaborative multi-disciplinary collection Enemies, and performed ‘Electric Dada’ as part of Electronic Voice Phenomena.
‘I think there’s a territorial, self-defeating dualism that seems to permeate through people’s perception of the experimental, that it requires a philosophical or political praxis to be part of their writing. That it is against something, more than it is for something. This isn’t true, fundamentally. Experimentation is about finding the authentic way to express a very certain content.’
He is one of the most exciting young poets at work today and we delighted to include poems from his new collection,{Enthusiasm}. From ‘Burn museum’
the gypsy wound
fighting man of a fighting family
bitterly pain full is a broken jaw, a bruised
kidney
it’ll make you think twice, modern Paul
it doesn’t just hurt, it’s worse
it drifts its bookish suitcase
like a river of shirt toward work

a poem in the new Belleville Park Pages

http://www.bellevilleparkpages.com/ One of the neatest, sharpest, most decisive publishing projects I've come across in a long time, The Belleville Park pages, coming out of Paris, has a really distinct identity and in its first year of existence, found its way into some amazing stockists. http://www.bellevilleparkpages.com/#stockists What they're trying to do, a ground up, community model of younger, newer poets, very much open to new people and new work, is admirable, and well executed. Im pleased to be in the last issue of 2013, in the 13th incarnation, with a single poem from Enthusiasm, called Letters to friends. 

Page 13
Mid December
Christmas Gift: Nina Mazodier
Writers: Anita Olivia Koester, Z.W.T. Evans, James Coghill, Matt Appleby, Rufo Quintavalle, Laura Perrem, Zelda Chappel, SJ Fowler, T. Isaac, G

Twins born Triplets - a new publication with Matteo X Patocchi

Really proud to work with Matteo, a brilliant Swiss photographer I've collaborated with in London on two projects, both of which have been developed over a few years now. This one, Twins born Triplets, features his beautiful innovative portraits of twins surrounding by my long poem for Pussy Riot, about Stalin, Khlebnikov and zygote splitting. He did an amazing job with the typography and an even better job sourcing a printer to render the work as a newspaper, an original format that really embodies the work beautifully. Here's his website http://www.matteopatocchi.com/ and email info@matteopatocchi.com if you want a copy, they are limited edition. Here's also a link to the amazing images in the book http://www.matteopatocchi.com/twins2.html