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

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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.
poetrysociety.org.uk/poetry-cafe/exhibitions/future-exhibition/

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: Curating the Museum of Futures Visual Poetry Exhibition

I conceived of this exhibition for multiple reasons. The first, I wanted to invest in the place. I've been teaching at Kingston University for a few years and wanted to create a platform in the area, outside of London (just) where those living or studying local felt that not everything was east of them, in the city, that there was some focus on the place as other than a place to visit, but to reside, creatively. Second because I wanted students and faculty from across departments to connect, from across ages and years and practises, and I wanted this to happen in the context of the many brilliant poets and artists who were also not associated with the Uni. Too often we're all in our own boxes, in all things, but especially in the pace of teaching or studying. Thirdly, I had hoped new friendships and collaborative relationships would begin and by placing students work next to those who are ostensibly professionals, that many students would take inspiration from that, would get permission to experiment, to follow their own noses, and that it would as a project show them they could go into spaces beyond the university. This is often a problem too, that students feel too safe at university creatively, and this comes to bear painfully when they graduate. Fourthly I had built some fantastic connections with a specific group of students, both undergraduate and postgraduate whom I felt deserved the opportunity to do something special, or unique certainly, and I knew I could rely on them to help me, to make it a collective enterprise. This proved true. And finally, I wanted the actual aesthetic content of the exhibition to be innovative, to explore the potential of text beyond the book, or the visual to be read as a text. In the end we had 40 works of a really striking standard, the exhibition looks genuinely engaging, original and beautiful.

Museum of Futures themselves, Simon Tyrell and Robin Hutchinson, introduced to me by the brilliant Lucy Furlong, were amazingly supportive, doing great work. Myself and the student co-curators, especially Molly Bergin, Olga Kolesnikova and Matt Navey, had a laugh putting it all together on a windy Wednesday in Surbiton. There is real camaraderie to be found in this kind of project. And the opening night was amazing, gratifying. The room was so full someone feinted. Packed to the gills we listened to a host of new collaborative readings I had commissioned for the night and I got to make new friends as well as seeing some of my favourite people, old friends and talents like Thomas Duggan, Alexander Kell and Camilla Nelson. The readings were great and the sense of community, of purpose and excitement was palpable. A special project all told.

All the reading videos and pictures are, or will be, here www.theenemiesproject.com/futures

A note on: Visual Art South West - New collection launch in Bristol

http://www.vasw.org.uk/events/the-guide-to-being-bear-aware-a-poetry-collection-by-sj-fowler.php

Arnolfini, 16 Narrow Quay, BS1 4QA / 0117 917 2300 boxoffice@arnolfini.org.uk
http://www.arnolfini.org.uk/whatson/the-guide-to-being-bear-aware-a-poetry-collection-by-sj-fowler

Thursday 06 April 2017 19:00 - 20:00 Opening Hours: 11:00 - 18:00 Booking recommended
The launch of SJ Fowler’s latest poetry collection The Guide to Being Bear Aware from Bristol-based Shearsman Books, featuring performances and readings from Fowler and guest readers John Hall, Holly Corfield Carr, Paul Hawkins, Phil Owen & more to be announced.

"The Guide to Being Bear Aware offers advice for living in a world gone awry. Wry, violent, contemplative, political, intimate and raucous by turns, these are poems that laze on your lap only to get their claws in... Morphing into unfamiliar shapes beneath the watching eye, these refreshing, quizzical, well-traveled poems forge a world entirely their own: they won’t let you go of you easily.” Sarah Howe http://www.stevenjfowler.com/bearaware

 

A note on: Museum of Futures Visual Poetry exhibition

Very happy to be curating this exhibition in Surbiton next month. It brings together colleagues at Kingston University from multiple departments, students, alumnus and local professional poets and artists. 

Opening night, with a camarade reading, is February Thursday 23rd. All info here www.theenemiesproject.com/futures

I'm also still taking submission for the exhibition until February 5th www.theenemiesproject.com/opencallfutures

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: Performing at the Whitechapel Gallery for the New Concrete Launch

A really ambitious program curated by Chris McCabe and Victoria Bean, editors of the anthology the New Concrete, for the launch of the book at the Whitechapel Gallery on July 25th. Over three hours of kinetic poems and performances - screenings, readings and more. It was a really generous, communal atmosphere, good to see old friends and meet quite a few poets I have long admired but had yet to encounter in person.

I really wanted to follow my more conceptual performances at Tate Modern and Cafe Oto recently with something similarly performative and distinct, and thoughts of how one might perform a concrete poem led my to Lego. I had only the specifics of the ideas on the morning of the performance, so after rushing to a Lego shop and dropping more money than Id thought Id need to on the bricks, I had only one chance to practise making the letters, in a coffee shop next to the gallery itself. In the end, it went nicely, I managed to stay within the 4 minute limit.

my poem in the New Concrete anthology

The most beautiful anthology I've been a part of, my poem is rendered wonderfully in this major achievement, summing up the best of 21st century concrete poetry. You can buy the book here http://shop.southbankcentre.co.uk/the-new-concrete-visual-poetry-in-the-21st-century.html & it'll be launched here http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/events/new-concrete/

The New Concrete anthology: launch at the Whitechapel Gallery - July 25th

This is the most significant anthology of concrete poetry of my generation. I'm delighted to be included, and alongside many friends / peers - Antonio Claudio Carvalho,  Marco Giovenale, Tom Jenks, Sarah Kelly, John Kinsella, Anatol Knotek, Márton Koppány, nick-e melville, and Jörg Piringer  & legends like Vito Acconci, Augusto de Campos, Henri Chopin, Bob Cobbing, Ian Hamilton Finlay https://thenewconcrete.wordpress.com/about

"The New Concrete is a major new anthology of visual poetry edited by Victoria Bean and Chris McCabe and published by Hayward Publishing (July 2015). The book represents visual poetry published from 2000 to the present day and suggests ways in which the original concrete movement of the 1950s and ’60s has been built upon, developed and redefined by subsequent generations of poets and artists." You can buy it here http://shop.southbankcentre.co.uk/the-new-concrete-visual-poetry-in-the-21st-century.html

The anthology will be launched in a full whack 5 hours programme at the whitechapel gallery on July 25th http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/events/new-concrete/ I'll be performing "Join us for an afternoon of film and live performance showcasing some of the most exciting work in this field. The event brings together some of the most celebrated poets and artists working at the intersection of visual art and poetry."

The Feinde exhibition: May 1st to 14th at the Hardy Tree Gallery

This two week exhibition, which focuses the Feinde: Austrian Enemies project (which has four events in 2 cities over two weeks) right in the heart of London, in the Kings Cross based Hardy Tree Gallery is a wonderful opportunity for me to bring together over a dozen new visual poetry artworks in exhibition, all from contemporary artists, with a decided nod to the legacy of the British and Austrian postwar Concrete poetry pioneers. http://www.theenemiesproject.com/feinde

http://hardytreegallery.com 119 Pancras Road. London, UK. NW1 1UN : 
Gallery Hours - Thursday to Sunday Midday to 6pm.


Poets like Bob Cobbing, Edwin Morgan, HC Artmann, Friedrich Achleitner, Konrad Bayer & Gerhard Rühm have had an indelible influence on contemporary visual poets who are able to interrogate visuality, materiality and the very appearance of their language. I have taught their works at the Poetry school and Kingston University, and this exhibition is a way for me to bring together some of the work that evidences the necessity of this movement and how it can compliment everybody's work. This is a huge part of the exhibition, that the poets involved are not just Concrete poets, they work across poetic methodologies. We owe this flexibility disproportionately to the poets working in Austria and the UK from that period.

The exhibition will feature works by Anatol Knotek, Victoria Bean, Peter Jaeger, Fabian Macpherson, Tim Atkins, Jeff Hilson, Nat Raha, Sophie Collins, Esther Strauss, Robert Herbert McClean, Ann Cotten, Prudence Chamberlain, Simon Barraclough, Max Hoefler and many others.

The opening hours will be Thursday to Sunday midday to 6pm, and we have a special view reading on Sunday May 10th, beginning at 7pm, free entry, with many of the exhibitors and readings from Emma Hammond, Cristine Brache & Ollie Evans.

Thanks to the Austrian Cultural Forum in London
www.acflondon.org

Visual Verse: August issue: Sink

Great to be part of Visual Verse, a really innovative writing project in online journal form where authors are asked to respond, in the course of one hour, to an original artwork, an image, across a range of mediums, be it poetry or art etc. You have a size limit, between 50 and 500 words, and that one hour. 

My poem, Sink, is in Volume one of Chapter 10, and I join an amazing list of writers who have taken part in the Visual Verse experience. Check out the poem (it's unusually concise, for me) 

http://visualverse.org/submissions/sink/

Vikings are here! POW published my poetry poster art

One of the publications I am most proud of, without a doubt. Finally Ive managed to produce something, outside of collaboration, which is as satisfying visually as it is textually, to me at least. These are six poems rendered in the shape of the first six magical letters of the Elder runic alphabet. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elder_Futhark The Futhark, left behind by the norsemen as a incantational representation of something I am bonded to, as an urge, but am happy to misunderstand and rerender as a plate for my own warping language. This is but the first of many interactions my poetry will have with Vikings in the next few years, a subject in my blood, and the first poetry I was exposed to by my dad, the Sagas. 

"The invention of the script has been ascribed to a single person[9] or a group of people who had come into contact with Roman culture, maybe as mercenaries in the Roman army, or as merchants. The script was clearly designed for epigraphic purposes, but opinions differ in stressing either magical, practical or simply playful (graffiti) aspects. Bæksted 1952, p. 134 concludes that in its earliest stage, the runic script was an "artificial, playful, not really needed imitation of the Roman script", much like the Germanic bracteates were directly influenced by Roman currency, a view that is accepted by Odenstedt 1990, p. 171 in the light of the very primitive nature of the earliest (2nd to 4th century) inscription corpus."

All the better that this work should be with Antonio Claudio Carvalho's remarkable POW series. These are poetry poster artworks, far too underappreciated, emanating out of Brazil via Edinburgh, and taking in 26 authors in their finality, now, with my Vikings being the 25th, and Hansjorg Mayer the 26th! Incredible, and with Chris McCabe, Peter Finch, Augusto de Campos and so many great others coming before, I am privileged to be in such company. I owe Antonio such a debt for the commission, it really challenged me to grow as a poet who is also an artist in aspiration. Thanks too to Anatol Knotek, ever aiding in my technical ambitions. 
So exciting these posters will be launched and available soon, and part of the upcoming Translation Games project, with the special edition poetry library event on march 5th. Check out Ricarda Vidal's great post on the series, with more examples, here http://ricardavidal.com/test/translation-games/pow/

Anatol Knotek's postcards

Really priviliged to receive a set of Anatol Knotek's new postcard series. He is genuinely a groundbreaking presence in the Visual Poetry scene, and a new generation, one who is not afraid of turning back to work and collaborate with more lingually orientated poets, like myself. Im very proud to call Anatol a collaborator too, and I think our work together will have increasing opportunity in the public realm this year. Here is one of the postcards "nothing lasts forever" http://www.anatol.cc