A note on: my collaborators for European Poetry Festival 2019

As part of the oncoming European Poetry Festival I have the opportunity to collaborate six times with six poets from six places. With Maja Jantar, Patrick Savolainen, Fabian Faltin, Morten Langeland, Krisjanis Zelgis and Tom Jenks. From April 6th to April 13th, one week, I do six new performative collaborations. It is one of the most exciting parts of the fest, this constant collective creative output, in live settings, making new things, writing them, negotiating in cafes, changing plans minutes before the event starts, having to also announce the lineup, help all the other poets, work the venue, then perform too. Making new friendships also, I have never worked with Patrick, Krisjanis and Fabian before. Cementing friendships too, Tom, Maja and Morten are all very close and dear friends. It is obvious terrible for them they have to work with me but sacrifices must be made on the altar of poetry.

Check out when and where here www.europeanpoetryfestival.com/programme

A note on: new articles commissioned for Versopolis

The European Review of Poetry, Books and Culture is an online literary journal, funded by the European Union, aiming to create an anglophone publication platform with a focus on continental Europe and world beyond. www.versopolis.com

A sample of the articles I've commissioned recently.

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.
 

EPF2018 #12: Collaborating with Tom Jenks

Tom is a brilliant mind for poetry. Vastly underappreciated. I’ve tried to collaborate with him every year for the last half decade and this 2018 entry in our exchanges was a good un. We wrote an addendum to our 1000 proverbs book, the Nigel Farage post-brexit poetic proverb archival reflections. We spent the minutes before our time slightly concerned we might have misjudged the tone, but in the end, following a video of the man himself, our mix of Nigel’s actual sayings and our own interpretations of his poetic vernacular seemed to be well understood in the Burgess Centre. When he is our supreme leader one day I’m sure we’ll be well rewarded for this tribute.

A note on: Poetry Magazine April reading list

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/harriet/2017/04/pm-reading-list-april-2017/

 

S.J. Fowler
My friend Tom Raworth died recently, so I’m reading his poetry. He was somewhat of a mentor to me. One of my first meetings with Tom was at the last reading Anselm Hollo ever gave, an event I helped organize. After Anselm’s death I felt the urge to seek out every single one of his books and read them from first to last. That experience utterly changed my perception of my writing, and the books I publish. When I read Anselm’s earlier work, when he was in London in the sixties, it felt as though he had lived exact elements of the life I am living now, but just fifty years removed. And tracing his life through his poems I realized these books were a palpable record, a concrete legacy of his life in writing. I knew then I wanted that, and not a big readership, or critical success, not to unleash the “perfect” collection every ten years. Just a quiet record of my life in poetry would be fine. So I decided to publish whenever I felt the urge, or whenever a publisher would support me, which is why I have six collections after eight years writing. I did the same when Tomaž Šalamun died, followed his life in poems, he had been very kind to me too. But Tom was a light to me, he taught me the most, and so I’m in the middle of this journey now, reading him book by book, remembering him this way.

The only other poetry I’m reading is that of my current and former students at Kingston University in London. Like many poets, I support myself through teaching. I think the quality of their work is indicative of a unobtrusively brilliant time for poetry in the U.K., there is so much talent around at the moment. Molly Bergin, Zakia Carpenter-Hall, Matt Navey, Dacy Lim, Julia Lewis—all names to watch. There is also something inevitably poignant and powerful about reading young poets coming into their own alongside the works of a great poet, just departed. A sense of my own place on the wheel is palpable, that I’m still rising but soon to drop off.

tom raworth 1938 – 2017

http://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/tomraworth/ 

With Tom Raworth’s death, the world of poetry, and of human intelligence in general, has become lesser. I am not alone in thinking him the finest British poet of his lifetime. For over five decades Tom’s work was a blazing light across the often murky path of British poetry. He was a friend to so many, gregarious and kind, in his person as well as his work on the page. He was a mentor to even more, including myself and many of a new generation of contemporary poets, who will see his legacy as a link between a positively historical period of invention and the maelstrom of our present time. Along with his work, he will also pass on a profound inheritance to those who knew him – while being deeply intellectual as a man, as subtle and complex as his poetry, he was utterly unpretentious, humble, admirably without patience for fools and hypocrites, and viewed common human decency as more important than anything else, including poetry.

Tom led an incredible life, publishing over 40 books, with his first The Relation Ship emerging in 1966. He spearheaded the British Poetry Revival with his unforgettable readings as well as his work with Goliard Press, which published Charles Olson’s first collection in the UK, amongst other now greats. He made a collectively vital impression on the new poetry of both Britain and America in the 60s. But this doesn’t really capture it. The prohibition and complacency readily celebrated in so many literary circles on these islands, along with his natural energy and openness to the world sent him into global recognition. He spent many years in the US and lived for a time in Mexico and Spain. He attended festivals to present his work everywhere from China to Macedonia. At a time when few looked beyond the UK, Tom was showing poets that something powerful and unique had emerged from the post-war scene. In fact it is in America that he found his due, not only in his deep friendships with poets like Ed Dorn and Anselm Hollo, but in a readership. I was once at a festival in central America and was asked by the audience which British poet was most important to me. When I replied with Tom’s name, the American poet Forrest Gander, with a smile on his face, shouted out ‘he’s ours.’ By rights, this is not entirely untrue. The feel of Tom’s Irish parentage, his class and his cosmopolitan outlook ebbing into his always inventive poetry left him at times profoundly underappreciated in the UK while celebrated in America. Certainly in the time I knew him, though he would have immediately spurned any haughty honour, it was unbelievable to me that he was not celebrated more in his home nation.

I am quite sure I am one of hundreds of young poets Tom befriended. I first contacted him very early in my writing, with immense naivety, just cold emailing him, to tell him how much his work meant to me. He had no reason to respond, and yet he did, not only with supportive words about my work, which he had clearly sought out and read in response to my clumsy missive, but then with an invitation to spend time with him and his wife Val in Brighton. That began a friendship which profoundly shaped, or certainly confirmed, my approach to being a poet. The last thing Tom really wanted to speak about was poetry, or so it felt. What we talked about was almost everything but. Over dinner, always laughing, amazingly hospitable, talking about crime novels or Game of Thrones, incidentally I was able to hear Tom and Val tell stories of their life, their friends, with poetry the route to these experiences, but not the subject of them. Poetry was a way into friendships, experiences, communities, and this in itself reflected back into the work. Tom’s poems are always alive to reality, in all their pace and fragmentation and mishearing and insight and beauty. I’d leave with long lists of poets to look up, not because Tom had recommended them, but because their names had been casually mentioned next to brief meetings with Octavio Paz in Mexico or William Burroughs in New York. What I really learned then was that there is sometimes a palpable connection between a kind of writing and a way of living, an ethics in poetics. It was a path being shown to me, knowing nothing, understanding so little, and Tom and Val seeing that, were helping me on. What I know now that Tom is gone, that he had passed on to me and so many others a responsibility to be kind, generous, to be communal and supportive, while always being critical and alive to bullshit, and to protect our work from pernicious collective normativity while building friendships around that task.

Hearing of his death, it feels to me now that we have been left to fend for ourselves, just for a moment, precisely when we need poets and people like Tom and all their wisdom. I wouldn’t want to presume, but I would imagine Tom would not have liked what I’ve written about him, finding it mawkish in its compliments. But his poetry, like his person, was not an assurance, or a correction. It was its own thing, shared for the purpose of being read and nothing more, correcting by example, inspiring new ideas and poems. Through its sheer intricacy, its intelligence, delicacy and humour, for my generation, his work has set a standard. So in both his manner and his poems Tom Raworth has left a palpable legacy, even a responsibility. When I asked him once for a blurb for one of my books that no one has really read or will ever read, he responded it was “doing the work that needs to be done.” What greater compliment can be given, in all its restraint? Following his example I should hope to live a long life, full of friends, full of writing, full of people as down to earth, charismatic, intellectually vigilant and warm hearted as Tom Raworth. He was a great poet, following his own path, and will be sorely missed.

A note on: North x North West Poetry Tour part 2 - Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool

All info and funbatch on this tour is here www.stevenjfowler.com/nxnw and allll videos www.theenemiesproject.com/northwest

Leeds was fire. I’d heard it was a quiet town for the avant garde or literary poetry but this proved untrue, or we got unlucky. In the wharf chambers we had over twenty poets and from many different scenes and backgrounds. From first time readers to folk like Ian McMillan and Robert Sheppard, it ran the gamut. I got there early, in the snow, to be met by Ian in fact, whom, ever the gentleman, helped me shift 100 chairs into the basement punk venue. So many poets I was excited to see and meet for this one, and there was a uniformly playful tone, with a noticeable investment by many. For my own work with Patricia Farrell we wrote a collaborative poem and then I played with some ideas around memory and recitation, recording her poems onto my phone, popping in earphones and reciting from that audio file at parts, and at others, just trying to copy what she had said. Nearly 100 crushed in all told and some of these collaborations will be long remembered, everyone was buzzing

Sheffield was interesting. Again there was talk of a quiet gig but our room at Bank Street Arts was chocked, even dangerously so with much of the gig standing room only with people blocking my camera or stepping on each other’s feet, literally. Some great works here, punctuating a range of stuff, from the high literary to the amusing. At times it leaned into the self-referential, the audience having its favourites / friends, which is really the opposite of the deliberately open Enemies mode, but this is inevitable with such an intense room and a single city scene.

To be honest for me, the whole time in Sheffield was clouded by hearing of the death of Tom Raworth, who was a great influence on me and a friend. I wrote a piece remembering him, feeling emptied and deeply sad, in a Travelodge in the city, having travelled from Leeds and so it was a melancholy day. It took me many attempts to write the piece, I was feeling quite out of sorts. We ended the event with Chris McCabe and I reading some of Tom’s poems and this I will never forget, to have the big audience to read Tom’s work to, a day or two after his passing.

Liverpool is a city I love and this sprawling reading in the beautiful Everyman playhouse, who could not have been more generous as a venue, brought together many friends and great poets from across the region, being the final gig. I had the grand pleasure of working with Nathan Walker, whom I respect immensely and our improvised sound poetry vocal piece was a joy, though it was maybe too intense for the audience. Some fine works here but it was a rare misfire over all in terms of the Camarade tradition. Not quite sure why, but there was an imbalance in the works overall, perhaps a lack of identity in the event, a lack of successful experiment, or engagement with liveness. Happens sometimes.

Certainly I left the event happy because it was the summation of the project, and the final moments of that were spent with my friends, Tom Jenks especially, a brilliant poet and a great person to work with. As ever it’s a privilege to do this work, to such large audiences and such enthusiastic and varied writers.

A note on: top 10 for 2016 on 3am magazine

http://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/top-reads-2016-steven-j-fowler/

Vladimir Mayakovsky, Volodya: Selected Works, edited by Rosy Patience Carrick (Enitharmon Press)
I’ve been reading Mayakovsky my whole poetry life, which isn’t that long, but he’s always been important to me, but this volume, well I suppose it did what it was supposed to do – crystallise, refocus, intensify appreciation. It blew me away. I read it cover to cover, twice over, and dipped further. I bought copies for friends who don’t read poetry. It’s artfully edited, beautifully produced, and just the man’s energy, his range, his deep innovation, it sings from the pages. Huge credit to Enitharmon, always a great list – just look to David Gascoyne, Lee Harwood, UA Fanthorpe etc.. – the last few years have been especially exciting times from the Bloomsbury based press.

Vahni Capildeo, Measures of Expatriation (Carcanet)
The significance of Vahni Capildeo’s book doing so amazingly well with prizes and critics is that it is deeply, resonantly complex, intellectual and innovative. It is multifaceted and challenging, insightful but never cloy. This is the modern poetry I have been moaning has not been receiving its due for years. It is a brilliant book, like her last book from Shearsman Books, and the one before that from Eggbox. Suddenly it caught alight in people. I will now shut up about prizes overlooking the actually contemporary / modern / avant-garde. For a few months. Credit to Carcanet too.

Stephen Emmerson, Family Portraits (If P Then Q)
Emmerson is criminally underrated, he should be seen as a major, pioneering figure of the British avant garde and his work from publisher If P Then Q furthers that reputation. It’s a gesture in a book, an austere refusal of the indulgent lyric.

Harry Man, Finders Keepers (Sidekick Books)
A true collaboration with the artist Sophie (which places it close to my heart from the off), this is poetry that is actually mindful of its engagement with ecological themes. As ever with Harry Man the poems are hard to pin down into one literary tradition, he is an original, never obtuse but neither overtly complex. It’s a beautiful book and a real achievement as a project.

Diane Williams, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine (CB Editions)
Charles Boyle Editions are a list I follow just on previous form (look to David Markson, JO Morgan, Will Eaves, Francis Ponge etc..) and I have to admit I hadn’t come across Diane Williams before I picked this up. Now I am in deep, her work is everything I look for, and this book really impacted my writing, it’s fiction but it’s poetry too, as I’d deem it – full of expert twists on banal detail, mishearing, disjunction and play. Sophisticated and really funny.

Jen Calleja, Serious Justice (Test Centre)
A great debut, another great book from Test Centre. Her poetry is a intricate, subtle, conversational fusion of Calleja’s expertise, without being reductive, which is punk music and the European high literary tradition. It’s original, vital, memorable, get it.

Tom Jenks, Sublunar (Oystercatcher Press)
Oystercatcher is one of those British presses poets know, and follow, their backlist is a resource and Sublunar from Tom Jenks is a 2016 highlight for me. Jenks is the most exciting conceptual poet I know, but his range is like his prolificism, to be admired. Still the rarified nonsense of publishing once every 7 years lingers around British poetry, just so romantic dinosaurs can insist on their genius as though their poems were faberge eggs made better by their scarcity. Jenks is doing the work to unpick this, publishing brilliantly and frequently. Get everything he’s done.

Luke Kennard, Cain (Penned in the Margins)
A wonderful book, beautiful to behold, dark in its way, witty too, of course, as Kennard’s work has long been lauded – he’s been a feature on the British poetry scene for a decade, massively to his credit traversing many different spaces and practises. This book is really so striking – conceptually clever, and gorgeously designed, as usual, from Penned in the Margins. It won a prize for design in fact. It should win for that which lies within the covers too.

Gabriele Tinti, Last Words (Skira)
Tinti’s book is a service – the project, to record and repatriate suicide notes, and one best received by poetry readers looking for insight often where it resides least, in the thoughts of those who think themselves professionally insightful. Tinti removes the barrier, it’s a difficult read because things are difficult.

Mark Waldron, Meanwhile, Trees (Bloodaxe Books)
Waldron is not underrated, as he’s properly well known, but I have this suspicion he is misunderstood, portrayed as casually, observationally misanthropic almost as though that’s token in a dayglow world of poetry about bees and mushrooms, written while the world burns. His work is intimidatingly poised, beautifully crafted, engaging, thoughtful, wears its intelligence in its technique, lightly and completely absorbing. A highlight from Bloodaxe this year.

A note on: my Poetry Magazine reading list for October 2016

I'm very lucky to be in poetry magazine this month and they ask the poets in the issue to provide a small writeup of a reading list (where everyone presents their fancypants list in the month they happen to be published). I am no different. I'm down there past ken chen and between calvin forbes and daisy fried. americans have good poetry names apparently.

 https://www.poetryfoundation.org/harriet/2016/10/pm-reading-list-october-2016/

S.J. Fowler
Offering me the chance to write this has made me realize I barely finish books anymore. I read chunks and snippets of lots of things at once. I mostly read non-fiction but no one here wants to hear about that I’d imagine. With poetry and text I’d consider poetry I’m always sniffing around for things to nab, so that’s a very different kind of reading, often splicing and lifting, robbing the tombs of the dead and snaffling the aesthetic of contemporaries. It’s a great moment for British modern poetry (what others might call avant-garde), I think, and I’m deep in Tom Jenks’s Spruce (Blart Books) and The Tome of Commencement(Stranger Press), Vahni Capildeo’s Measures of Expatriation(Carcanet), Stephen Emmerson’s Family Portraits (If P Then Q), and Denise Riley’s Say Something Back (Picador).

Beyond the U.K., I tend to look to mainland Europe, and I’ve gotArchitectures of Chance by Christodoulos Makris (Wurm Press), Zuzana Husarova’s Liminal (Ars Poetica), and Max Höfler’s wies is is(Ritter) on the go.

I’ve also been at Enitharmon Press’s new selected Mayakovsky, entitledVolodya, edited by Rosy Patience Carrick. It’s extraordinary, and has led me back to a load of Russians I’d been given years ago, Fyodor Sologub’s The Little Demon, A Novel Without Lies by Anatoly Mariengof—a memoir about Sergei Esenin and how loopy he was,Leonid Andreyev’s The Red Laugh, poems by Gumilyov, Khlebnikov, I’ve been trying to pick up threads all over.

I’m also putting final touches to a book of asemic poems and artworks due out next year and that’s thrown me back into Henri Michaux’s amazing Untitled Passages (Merrell), as well as Christian Dotremont, Constant and Asger Jorn, supreme poets all, huge for me anyway, all were in the CoBrA group. That’ll do. Thanks for asking."

A note on: Summer performances 2016 - Poland, Holland, Serbia, Georgia & more

Summer performances from Miłosz Festival (Poland), Tbilisi Literature Festival (Georgia), Krokodil Festival (Serbia), Poetry International on Vlieland (Holland), South West Poetry Tour, Parasol Unit, CapLet and European Poetry Night (UK). www.stevenjfowler.com

Praxis at Parasol Unit, London. A new collaborative performance with Maja Jantar, on an evening curated by Simon Pomery and Lala Thorpe. 

South West Poetry Tour: A collaborative poetry tour of Cornwall, Devon and Somerset. New readings and performances with JR Carpenter, John Hall, Matti Spence, Annabel Banks and Camilla Nelson www.stevenjfowler.com/southwest/

Tbilisi International Literature Festival, Georgia: brand new reading and performance collaborations with Luke Kennard, Eley Williams, Zaza Koshkadze and Lia Liqokeli. Curated by Davit Gabunia www.stevenjfowler.com/georgia

My Century / Mój wiek' at the Miłosz Festival, Krakow: a new UNESCO City of Literature Krakow commissioned performance with Tom Jenks and Weronika Lewandowska. Curated by Justyna Jochym. www.stevenjfowler.com/krakow

Krokodil Festival, Museum of Yugoslav History, Belgrade: 8th edition of the Krokodil Festival in Serbia hosted CROWD literature's Omnibus project. www.stevenjfowler.com/belgrade

Poetry International at Stortemelk, Vlieland Holland: Reading of new poems, translated by Tsead Bruinja, hosted by Tsead and Bas Kwakman.
www.stevenjfowler.com/vlieland

CapLet, London: A new performance with Prudence Chamberlain, launching the collaborative poetry collection, House of House. CapLet reading series is curated by Jonathan Mann www.stevenjfowler.com/houseofmouse

European Poetry Night: part of European Literature Festival in 2016, a new collaborative performance with Ásta Fanney Sigurðardóttir www.theenemiesproject.com/epn

A note on: footage from Milosz festival with Tom Jenks & Weronika Lewandowska

Beautiful to have this footage from a great collaboration in Krakow this past June. Performance art, video art, poetry, theatre, it was a grand pleasure making the work with Tom and Weronika. For more info www.stevenjfowler.com/krakow

A note on: my top poetry reads of 2015 on 3am magazine

Tom Jenks, Spruce (Blarts Books)
One of most overlooked poets in the UK, doing the work conceptualism should be doing, getting to the heart of uniquely British ennui through splicing methodology and jet black humour.

Sandeep Parmar, Eidolon (Shearsman Books) 
High modernism powerfully maintained and redeployed by one of the most interesting poets crossing the American / UK scene.

Tom Chivers, Dark Islands (Test Centre)
One of the clearest voices in British poetry in his finest work to date, beautiful rendered, written and designed.

Emma Hammond, The Story of No (Penned in the Margins)
Powerful for it’s immediacy, incredibly sophisticated for it’s lack of pretension in the face of profoundly personal poetry. Amazing book.

Christodoulos Makris, The Architecture of Chance (wurm press) 
This is the future of a poetry which reflects our world of language without dispensing with the expressionistic skill of interpreting that language. Found text lies with lyrical poetry, a thorough achievement to balance them to such effect.

Peter Jaeger, A Field Guide to Lost Things (If P Then Q press)
Clever, resonant and profound, as all of Peter Jaeger’s works are, a fine example of the possibilities of contextual, process-orientated thinking getting to the heart of contemporary poetry.

Bruno Neiva & Paul Hawkins, Servant Drone (Knives forks and spoons press) 
Brilliant collaborative poetry collection (of which there are far too few) taking on a necessary issue in necessarily disjunctive ways.

Michael Thomas Taren, Eunuchs (Ugly Duckling Presse) 
Best possible example of what is possible in contemporary American poetics of my generation. Excessive, authentic, ambitious.

Rebecca Perry, Beauty/Beauty (Bloodaxe Books) 
Reflective and observational in the most well conceived way, a clear poetic experience as a book, it accumulates and resonates as a collection.

Lee Harwood, The Orchid Boat (Enitharmon Press) 
The last work by one of the most interesting poets in the English language in the latter half of the 20th century, a typically beautiful book.

A note on: The EVP Sessions & The Black Dinner performance - November 14th 2015

The original EVP tour was a major turning point in my work with performance, being able to tour the UK with really wonderful artists like Hannah Silva and Ross Sutherland, and with the support of Nathan Jones and Tom Chivers (www.stevenjfowler.com/evp) When the opportunity to do a one off commission for the same project, at Shoreditch Town Hall, I had a clear thought to what I might do, melding both my original work for the project with a tradition I've had for three years now, being painted as a skeleton on or around the Mexican Day of the Dead. I first did so in Mexico City and try to do so every year in homage to my friends in Mexico, and because much of my work is about the symbology of death.

For this performance I was really lucky to have the amazingly generous artist and make up artist Amalie Russell paint my face professionally. I had then spent a few days covering a whole banquet of food in black paint and lacquer, and my performance, a fluxus meal of sorts, was to set the table and invite diners to join me. I waited outside the fire exit of the venue on a typically vapid Shoreditch saturday night and felt it appropriate to wait in the rain. The performance was accompanied by a track made in collaboration with the remarkable musician Alexander Kell, who did an incredible job mixing my reading of Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo, one of the authors I had discovered in Mexico.

"Electronic Voice Phenomena returns with a series of electrifying live sessions featuring the very best in hauntology, spoken word, glitch noise and performance. The EVP Sessions takes its inspiration from Konstantin Raudive’s notorious Breakthrough experiments of the 1970s, in which he divined voices-from-beyond in electronic noise. Enter the labyrinthine basement of Shoreditch Town Hall and experience a “mind-boggling”, “perplexingly good” avant-garde cabaret of human, ghostly and machine voices. http://www.electronicvoicephenomena.net/index.php/shoreditch-town-hall-london/"

Mahu: to Tom Raworth - June Tues 7th: the videos

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}

the greatest living British poet has a new book - As When: a selection by Tom Raworth from Carcanet

THE MOON UPOON THE WATERS by Tom Raworth
for Gordon Brotherston

the green of days : the chimneys
alone : the green of days and the women
the whistle : the green of days : the feel of my nails
the whistle of me entering the poem through the chimneys
plural : i flow from the (each) fireplaces
the green of days : i barely reach the sill
the women's flecked nails : the definite article
i remove i and a colon from two lines above
the green of days barely reach the sill
i remove es from ices keep another i put the c here
the green of days barely reaches the sill
the beachball : dreaming 'the' dream
the dreamball we dance on the beach

gentlemen i am not doing my best
cold fingers pass over my eye (salt)
i flow under the beachball as green waves
which if it were vaves would contain
the picture (v) and the name (aves)
of knots : the beachball : the green sea
through the fireplaces spurting through the chimneys
the waves : the whales : the beachball on a seal
still : the green of days : the exit

From As When: A Selection by Tom Raworth published this month by Carcanet and available to order here. 

 As When spans the range of Tom Raworth's poetry to date, and includes work omitted from his Collected Poems (2003) as well as poems previously only issued as fugitive cards and broadsides. This edition of Tom Raworth's poems is beautifully arranged, with an introduction to his life and work long overdue. 

Click  here to order As When by Tom Raworth with 10% discount and free UK P&P from www.carcanet.co.uk 

Tom Raworth was born in London in 1938. Since 1966 he has published more than forty books and pamphlets of poetry, prose and translations. His graphic work has been shown in Europe, the United States and South Africa, and he has given readings of his poems worldwide: most recently in China and Mexico. In 2007 in Italy he was awarded the Antonio Delfini Prize for Lifetime Achievement. He currently lives in Brighton.

Miles Champion was born in Nottingham in 1968. Carcanet Press published his first book, Compositional Bonbons Placate, in 1996. His recent books include How to Laugh (Adventures in Poetry, 2014) and an illustrated interview with the English artist Trevor Winkfield, How I Became a Painter (Pressed Wafer, 2014). He lives with his wife and daughter in Brooklyn, New York.

Click here to order As When by Tom Raworth with 10% discount and free UK P&P from www.carcanet.co.uk.

Penned in the Margins 2015 program

really pleased & proud to feature in this wonderful program for Penned in the Margins.
http://www.pennedinthemargins.co.uk/
index.php/2015/04/beyond-the-book-announcing-our-2015-programme/
 my production is in October, visit the page and read the program to find out what it is! Wonderful company Im in too, with Hannah Silva's amazing show Schlock! and Ryan Van Winkle's new book the Good Dark