A note on : An Invisible Poetry : exhibition at Poetry Society

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….so this is pretty great. For the month of July I’ll be presenting a mix of new works made specifically for the Poetry Society Cafe space, including window poems and sculptural pieces, alongside a selection from my five poem brut books. I will also be curating a group show alongside my solo show, as the exhibition space has two floors. Both shows, but especially the group show, will firmly be a part of what I’ve tried to do with Poem Brut as a project - that is to make available ideas and methods of poetry is a way that is liberating and not judgemental to those who perhaps don’t find mess and play so appealing as I.

The Poetry Society, especially Michael Sims, have been hugely generous and supportive, and accommodating, and it bodes well that this summer month can be spent in the space, which is open six days a week, nearly 12 hours a day.

AN INVISIBLE POETRY : JULY 1ST TO JULY 27TH
a new solo show of paint and sculpture poems at The Poetry Society Cafe in Covent Garden 
https://poetrysociety.org.uk/poetry-cafe/exhibitions/future-exhibition/

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The Poetry Society Cafe : July 1st to 27th / 22 Betterton St, London WC2H 9BX
Opening Hours 11am to 10pm everyday bar sunday. www.stevenjfowler.com/invisible

"A visual poem should be visible, yet it seems it’s often not so. In this solo exhibition of new painterly poems, SJ Fowler asks questions so manifest they are almost indiscernible. What is in the shape of a letter and what images do words recall? What is the meaning of colour in poetry, and where went the handwritten word? Where is mess, notation, scrawling and material? Why is composition strange to an art-form that is as visual as it is sonic? An Invisible Poetry presents new sculptural poems and original visual literature alongside a selection from Fowler's Poem Brut project and its accompanying series of publications from Hesterglock Press, Stranger Press, ZimZalla and Penteract Press. These are poems exploring handwriting, abstraction, illustration, pansemia, scribbling and scrawling." 

Special View Performance Event - July 8th 2019 : 7pm doors for 7.30pm start. Free entry. & // This is a split exhibition, as in the basement gallery of the Poetry Society I am curating a group show - The Poet's Brut www.poembrut.com/poetrysociety

The Poet’s Brut : A group show with Chris McCabe, Paul Hawkins, Astra Papachristodoulos, Karen Sandhu, Simon Tyrrell, Imogen Reid, Vilde Torset and Patrick Cosgrove www.poembrut.com/poetrysociety

Brand new works exhibited by seven of the UK's most exciting contemporary poets. Poem Brut project has generated over a dozen events since 2017, alongside multiple exhibitions, workshops, conferences, publications and over 1000 submissions to it’s 3am magazine series. It advocates for an artistic creative writing, a visual literature, a concrete poetry - poetry that embraces colour, the handwritten, the composed, the abstract, the scribbled, the noted, the illustrated. Poem Brut affirms the possibilities of the page, the pen, and the pencil (and the crayon) for the poet in a computer age, and celebrates these ideas in the live realm alongside the two dimensional. This group show evidences a new generation of poets working in old traditions often forgotten or nudged into the realm of modern art. http://www.poembrut.com/exhibitions

A note on: appearing on Resonance FM with Jude Cowan Montague

I spent a fine hour talking with Jude Cown Montague as the only guest on her The News Agents show, a longstanding highlight of Resonance's saturday programming. Jude is a really interesting writer, poet and musician, check out this for example, amongst many things. We talked about hmmmmm The Anthropocene, Education, Animals, Snobbery, Ethical Perspective, Language, Consciousness, Mortality, Epigraphs, Russian Revolutionary poets and soooo many other things, including some talk of my new book, topically, The Guide to Being Bear Aware. It was a lovely experience and I'm hoping I don't sound pretentious, certainly Jude was anything but and even made a new piece responding to one of my epigraphs https://www.mixcloud.com/Resonance/the-news-agents-8th-april-2017/

a review of Yes But Are We Enemies? Cork by Rosie O'Regan on Sabotage reviews

"Yes, but are we enemies is the intriguing title for a refreshingly eclectic group of touring and local  poets. The TDC (Theatre Development Centre) at Triskel was a very suitable venue for this well attended event in Cork. It’s about twenty by sixty feet of windowless dark grey painted stone and concrete with a modest but adequate lighting rig. I call it the cave. It’s perfectly conducive for intimate happenings in theatre and poetry alike. All in all there were about fifty bums on seats (that’s bums attached to legs and spines as opposed to bus shelters and park benches) and another fifteen or so leaned on the wall or sat on a platform at the back, an impressive turnout for an experimental poetry gig.
Steven J Fowler and Christodoulos Makris who have co-curated the Irish leg of this innovative and ambitious project, graciously introduced the evening. S.J Fowler has already brought the project to four other countries, his stated aim being to encourage experimentation through poetry in collaboration, to question how we read or listen to poetry and to find new ways of composition. The Irish poets, Ailbhe Darcy, Billy Ramsell and (Dublin-based) Christodoulos Makris, along with English poets Patrick Coyle, Sam Riviere and S.J Fowler, are now coming to the tail end of the Irish tour  which has included Belfast, Derry, Galway, Cork and Dublin. It will finish in London on Saturday the 27th at 7pm at the Rich Mix Arts Centre. In each city they visit, they are joined by six local poets. The collaborative combinations are ever changing, so each event, while relating to the theme, is its own animal.....
The person responsible for inspiring so many excellent poets with the undoubtable worthy concept ‘Yes, but are we enemies’ was next to take the stage. Steven J.Fowler was joined by Ailbhe Darcy. They delved into the theme of a nuclear holocaust, managing to lighten the severity of their subject with a dark wit. Ailbhe spoke ‘imagination is the worst part of torture’, to which Steven quipped ‘the redemption’. I saw a mischievousness in Ailbhe. Steven had a steady self assuredness, ‘one golden boy’ appearing totally at ease with his audience. I wasn’t quite sure where the poetry was taking me, however. Like I said my attention span was wavering. I did feel safe in their hands and took this line home, ‘inundated by rude people as though we were computers and they numbers’.
Christodoulos Makris and Sam Riviere engaged in a clever letter writing exchange. It was a game of top dog that lightened the mood and inspired much laughter from the audience. ‘What is the use in talking to people who think they know better?’ None I suppose, but listening to two trying to prove the same is entertaining. When one of them piped up with ‘ignoring women is the only thing that turns me on’, I thought to myself, now that’s good comedy. Why? Because with some women it might just be a good strategy. I was happy to be introduced to Christodoulos and Sam, two new voices. Their straight talking made the overall experience a bit more playful around the concept of ‘enemies’. ‘savages come from everywhere’, yes indeed and ‘every arrival is the story of a departure’.
Patrick Coyle and Billy Ramsell were a great combination to round off proceedings. They put the performance into the poetry that was perhaps a little lacking with others who relied solely on reading from the page. Patrick had an energy to him that was buzzing. He was having so much fun himself that it couldn’t not be felt. ‘Oh de do da day’ yay! His approach was spontaneous in that he incorporated seven syllables from every other reading of the night to his, ‘do da do da’ and when he took out his smart phone, used the taping tone of the digits to emphasise a line, I was fully with him. I relished in the daftness of ‘orange rhymes with orange’ and ‘these camp-town racists who sing that song, oh de do da’ gay racists? I suppose it takes all kinds of enemies to make this special, spatial planet. Billy Ramsell who probably won’t like me at all for putting his name after that last sentence was a worthy candidate to end with. No one else enunciates quite so deliberately. He gives every word its full shape, started into his poem slowly, tasted the snap of every consonant, then gradually found himself swaying, eyes closed and words flowing. It was about memory, memory extraction, harvesting and transfer. It was memorable."

MOPHA : Sept 28th : Rich Mix theatre

I could not be more excited for the first MOPHA performance this September 28th at the Rich Mix Arts Centre Theatre http://www.richmix.org.uk/whats-on/event/mopha/ Tickets available now.

"How would you describe the space around a horse? Or lift a watermelon with your voice? This experimental variety show is the result of 6 artists and poets approaching the edges of language through miniature plays, live sound effects, language games and improvisation. Expect bad jokes, fractured speech, aberrant theatre and words under pressure.
Mopha is an art-performance-poetry collective formed by Holly Pester, Patrick Coyle, Emma Bennett, SJ Fowler, James Wilkes and Tamarin Norwood. Mopha pools and mutates the live practices of six adept performers with backgrounds in poetry, sound art, live art and sculpture to create collaborative, site-responsive performances."
I have no predisposition to the romantic notion of working in a collective. But this has happened because of a really specific set of reasons. The timing, the cross pollination of practise, and my own desire to spend more time collaborating with these five genuinely iconoclastic artists, has made the whole MOPHA such a source of joy. Having the chance to work as a collective has been a privilege of mine for over the last year or so, and so much of that time has really just been about the exchange of ideas, and taking in what others have so beautifully perfected. This show will be a chance to test out something unique, a true multiplicity of collaboration, that overlaps in its form and performance as with its creation. And it'll be funny, and strange. & unresolved. & unique. & worth watching.

5x7 group show at the Hardy tree in December! my animal calligrams for sale


Very excited to be in the latest group show taking place at the Hardy Tree gallery, running for three weeks across December. The concept is that around 15 artists provide 15 artworks around postcard size, which are hung in the gallery and sold for 25 quid each.http://hardytreegallery.com/

My 15 artworks are all original calligrammatic representations of animals. Each one is essentially a drawing of an animal in handwriting. Ive played with Calligrams for awhile, pretty much directly following Apollinaire. I've deliberately made them somewhat illegibile, so the handwriting, in places, allows for multiple, interpretative readings of the poems. They are all poems, pre-existing poems, written for the calligram, which will never see the light of day in their non-calligrammatic form, but I want the search for the meaning to be primary in the readers experience. The reader can make their own poems as they have to fill in the gaps between what is legible to them and what is not. Each time the poems are read, they are anew.

& Erkembode is also in the group show, my frequent collaborator and continuous inspirator. His work includes originals from our collaboration, Jurassic Strip, about Jurassic Park in the middle east. All the poems and paintings in this collaboration have been published as an ebook to be viewed for free belooow.