A note on : An Invisible Poetry - my solo show at The Poetry Society


An Invisible Poetry : SJ Fowler The Poetry Society Cafe
July 1st to 27th 22 Betterton St, London WC2H 9BX
Opening Hours 11am to 10pm everyday bar sunday.

A pleasure to have my third solo exhibition (I’m actually really happy with it) in London take on the walls of the Poetry Society in Covent Garden, in their Poetry Cafe. The exhibition brings together new and existing poems, drawing together my explorations in the hand-made since late 2017.

Waaaay more info 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?

A note on the installation of An Invisible Poetry : June 30th 2019 On the morning of June 30th, installation day, early on a sunday after the hottest day of the year, the poets who are kindly contributing to the Poet Brut group downstairs, friends and peers, were not only gracious and kind in the setting of their show, but immensely helpful with my own. They stayed for hours helping me create it, truly. For I am terrible at installations and such things, I rush them and cannot judge spatial meaning without falling into the desire for it to be deliberately messed so viewers think it accidently. The eyes and hands of Astra, Simon, Vilde, Patrick and Imogen made what should have been a chore into a really fun experience. All of this was really underpinned by the hospitality of Michael Sims, of the Poetry Society. He really deserves great praise. He could not have done more to help and facilitate ideas and offer advice. He made me feel my work was welcome in the space, and the institution, which isn’t a small thing.

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


….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.

a new solo show of paint and sculpture poems at The Poetry Society Cafe in Covent Garden 


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

EPF2018 #6: Lithuanian focus at European Poetry Festival

To have people queueing down the stairs of the poetry café, the poetry society’s home in London, was gratifying, and a packed house was the right vibe within which to celebrate three brilliant Lithuanian poets who had come to London as part of the London Bookfair Baltic celebration. The Lithuanian Cultural Institute were so supportive of the fest in general and this was a really memorable night, pleasing for me to deliver an event that really gave the poets a proper platform to show their works. We had some solo readings from a mix of visiting poets and European poets living in the UK (this blend integral to the festival’s remit) including Muanis Sinanovic from Ljubljana and Theodoros Chiotis from Athens, before new collaborations were presented by poets I had met teaching for the Poetry School on courses, both in person and online, about contemporary European poetry. They did me proud, and produced some remarkable live works. The night was finished with three new collaborations involving the Lithuanian poets and then everyone decamped to a covent garden pub. It was a really atmospheric night, the best I’ve ever put on in that venue.

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

A note on : The Poetry Society annual lecture with Jan Wagner

The first time I've attended the Poetry Society annual lecture, given by Jan Wagner at Kings College, after a short national tour. I met Jan for the first time in Berlin, travelling there as a tourist many years ago, having barely written much, just emailing him from nowhere really. He came to meet me, showed me around Berlin, was immensely hospitable and generous to me. Such things are not to be taken lightly, the gesture belying his great humanity, humility and talent. His lecture was really remarkable, rang powerfully true to me. Over an hour in length in covered enormous ground so i don't wish to do it a disservice by merely focusing on a few likely misunderstood or misrepresented points but his deft exploration of influence, how we carry our poetry forebears and heroes with us, where this becomes lost in our work, though still present in our own minds, is very important to me, having written of those who hold such sway over me often (Mayakovsky, Pessoa, Hollo, Raworth, Salamun and co). What I should say rather than recounting the lecture, soon to be published in the Poetry Review and available as an audio file, is that it seemed to me represent Jan as what I aspire to be - a human being working through life with poetry, and not the other way around. Not a poet working through being a human being. Though our work is markedly different, though I share his passion for form (I have no gift for it), I feel an immense kinship with his method, his contextual sensitivity and his sure sense of lineage and deep reading. Moreover he is an immensely decent person, and this is enormously important, fundamental to what I deem a necessary modern turn we should seek in connecting poetics and ethics. I would recommend those interested seek out his book from Arc publishing too, https://www.arcpublications.co.uk/books/jan-wagner-self-portrait-with-a-swarm-of-bees-532 It is no small thing too that the Poetry Society choose a European poet to give this lecture too, the first time since its inception I'm told, an important and marked thing at this time in our island's political climate.

Chinese avant garde poetry at the Poetry Cafe - June 18th

Really honoured that Ill be reading the English translations of Jiang Tao's work at the Poetry Cafe. Come along to this free event, and get a small insight into contemporary experimental Chinese poetry. http://www.poetrysociety.org.uk/events/event/2696/


One Hundred Years of New Poetry in China

Visiting poets from China will read their poems and discuss their work. Featuring Jiang Tao and Ming Di.
Organised in association with Oxford Brookes University, it will be introduced by Jennifer Wong, a first year PhD student at Oxford Brookes University, studying contemporary Asian diaspora poetry and the power of ethnicity. S J Fowler will read from Jiang Tao's work and Jennifer Wong will also read some of her poetry.