A note on : Writing Photographs at Tate Modern

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Oct 13th 2018 - A powerful day of provocations and workshops led by Beverley Carruthers and Wiebke Leister and the staff of Tate Modern in the Starr Cinema of that institution exploring photographs intersection with the written word. https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/shape-light/writing-photographs

I had the chance to run a workshop that I turned into a paradox, essentially suggesting most collaborations between poetry (specifically, not text) and photography was a banal tennis match between the mediums, never exploring what is possible between the two precisely because they are so disparate and paradoxical when aligned and this is because no one wants to take a risk / responsibility and stake out working definitions of both mediums in order to fix a creative point of genesis between them. I presented the poor souls in my workshop with six exercises to exacerbate them further, each one designed around impossible, paradoxical tasks that related to photography & poetry / photography & poetry. After this lovely 90 minutes where people wrote some great bursts of work and shared some excellent suspicions I then gave a presentation to the wider group about what we were up to. A good day for me, to further and refine ideas for myself. Photographs by Xiaolin Zhang.

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A note on: Launching my new book at Kingston Writing School

I had brilliant fun creating a performance at Kingston University, as part of David Rogers longstanding Kingston Writing School series, 'directing' a film or montage while sharing poems from my new book The Guide to Being Bear Aware. It's a performance Im strangely pleased with, trying to find the right balance between concept, improvisation, spacial exploration, humour, complex undertone and actual poetry.

The experience was particularly gratifying, a really lovely, resonant evening, as my students from my Experiments and Innovations module, the mainstay of my teaching at Kingston Uni, read with me. Coming at the close of their degrees and my teaching year, it was their first chance to share a stage with me and I suppose engage with my work. They are a remarkable group of young poets, some of whom are featured in my performance. 

A note on: Asemic Exhibition in Minnesota

Asemic Writing: Offline And In The Gallery: an Asemic Writing exhibit at Minnesota Center for Book Arts opens March 10th and runs till May 28th 2017. Curated by Michael Jacobson http://thenewpostliterate.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/asemic-writing-offline-and-in-gallery.html

Featuring Asemic Writing & Book Art from: Tim Gaze, Rosaire Appel, Luigi Serafini, Carlos M. Luis, Israel F Haros Lopez, Paul A Toth, Alain Satié, Jose Parlá, John M. Bennett, Marco Giovenale, Cecil Touchon, Scott Helmes, Derek Beaulieu, Brion Gysin, Satu Kaikkonen, Cheryl Penn, Raymond Queneau, Logan K. Young, Steve McCaffery, Xu Bing, Geof Huth, Gene Kannenberg Jr., Christopher Skinner, Max Ernst, Timothy Ely, Charles Stein, Gazaliel, Lucinda Sherlock, Volodymyr Bilyk, Catherine M. Bennett, Henri Michaux, Spencer Selby, Jim Leftwich, Louise Tournay, Abdourahamane Diarra, Joe Maneri, Michael Jacobson, Robyn Ellenbogen, Donna Maria De Creeft, Marilyn R Rosenberg, Francesco Aprile, Bill Beamer, Nuno De Matos, Lynn Alexander, Tony Burhouse, Scott Ross, Axel Calatayud,  Henry Denander, Jean-christophe Giacottino, Lin Tarczynski, Tom Cassidy, Ricky Brett, Edward Kulemin, Phil Openshaw, Kerri Pullo, Anneke Baeten, Benji Friedman, Laura Ortiz, John McConnochie, Kimm Kiriako, Sam Roxas Chua, Steven J Fowler, Tatiana Roumelioti, Ekaterina Samigulina & Yuli Ilyshchanska, Nico Vassilakis, the unknown author of  The Voynich Manuscript, all the authors & artists in Asemic Magazine, everyone in John Moore William's asemic issue of The Bleed, & including everyone in Paul A. Toth'sALPHA BET A TEST: The Eye Am Eye Asemic Anthology: Language In The Act of Disappearing.

Published: two works from Aletta Ocean Empire in The New Post Literate

Michael Jacobsen is doing a grand job at his e-journal The New Post Literate in collecting and documenting contemporary explorations of the asemic poetry and abstract writing which is a big interest and concern of mine in practise and especially in my teaching nowadays.

This will culminate in a new book next year with Blart Books, ( http://blartmagazine.jimdo.com/blart-books/ ) entitled Aletta Ocean Empire. It will bring together a series of hand rendered ink and handwritten abstracts and illustrated texts. Two of the early works have now been published.

http://thenewpostliterate.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/3-excerpts-from-forthcoming-book-aletta.html

Published: a blog for the Rich Mix on my play Dagestan

http://richmixlondon.tumblr.com/post/131017660468 Poet and martial artist Steven J Fowler writes about his first piece written for theatre:Dagestan. See it performed here on Friday 16th and Saturday 17th of October. 

“Dagestan is a real place, or so I might read, or be told. At the moment, in Britain, it might as well not be, for our relationship to that place is non-existent. So it has been for many nations, until we have a reason to know they exist. What if we found something in Dagestan we needed, or wanted? What if something happened there that led us to announce our presence, and so define our relationship to this new and exotic place, this idea of the place? How do we do our announcing in a world after Iraq and Afghanistan, after the 21st century has begun, and where private military companies, with their own internal cultures, their own ‘special’ checks and balances, might be the first boots to hit the ground?

This is the context of my first play, a hypothetical question. But just as all professions seem to have their own internal language and logic, so Dagestan is also really about a closed, internal world of physical training, through the martial arts, and playful, innovative language. It is a play in the tradition of Beckett, or Pinter, and as Beckett said, “a play is not a simulation of life outside, any more than football is, or the circus, or a game of chess, but an activity in itself.” So it is with Dagestan, not merely as a snapshot of the world, but a way to represent aggression and vulnerability, strength and weakness, expression and physicality through the material of the theatre, that is, with the audience acknowledged, and with the actors switching from exhausting performance to energetic dialogue.

“A play is not a simulation of life outside, any more than football is, or the circus, or a game of chess, but an activity in itself.” - Samuel Beckett

With my own background in martial arts, it’s been an amazing experience developing a work-in-progress version of the play, something both physical and literary, working with brilliant actors Robin Berry, Maya Wasowicz, Steve North and Gareth Tempest, director Russell Bender and producer Tom Chivers, to make something we hope is truly unique. A play where knives and chokes sit comfortably with paradox and poetry.

Dagestan has become a non-place in this play, an idea, with its own internal logic, its own presence, that isn’t really real, but perhaps closer to the truth of something for that, for it is not pretend. It is wonderful to have the chance to take risks in theatre, to build upon ideas not immediately obvious or easy to digest, and that are far richer for that fact.”

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

Mahu: celebrating Blart & Homebaked Books - Sunday June 7th: the videos

A beautiful Sunday evening in Kings Cross. Thanks to Stephen Emmerson, Lucy Harvest Clarke & MJ Weller.

Mahu - Opening Night - In Sound

Thanks to Daniela Cascella, Sharon Gal & all the readers. A beautiful way to open the exhibition, and so many discoveries.

Mahu: an exhibition at the Hardy Tree Gallery - June 6th to 27th 2015

My first solo exhibition in London will run for three weeks in the Hardy Tree Gallery, in Kings Cross, just behind the British Library.

Mahu is an exhibition of writing - a novel written upon the gallery walls, growing as the exhibition passes. A living book in ink, veering between sense, story and abstraction. The gallery is covered in scrolls of paper, onto which I write, without preparation and entirely within the gallery. As the exhibition passes, so the walls become entirely covered. The text will never be typed, only read, ready to be unfurled.

Mahu remains a novel, in the true sense of that word, employing abstraction as a necessary part of the narrative, a narrative that will evolve as the exhibiting takes place. Ostensibly the story of a man living on a farm in Devizes with his distant mother, hagiographical manuscripts and loyal bulldog, Mahu must leave the only place he has ever known to follow the polluted river Kennet out of Devizes, tracing the clues left by the one human in town who'll tolerate him. A story of menace in small town England, Mahu can be read in cursive from the walls. 

As part of the exhibition, the gallery will host 11 events. Each & every event is free to attend, with doors at 7pm, unless otherwise stated below. The gallery’s address is 119 Pancras Road. London, UK. NW1 1UN www.hardytreegallery.com

Click on the event to visit its specific event page, with details of readers and happenings:

June Saturday 6th: Mahu in Sound - 6.30pm start
A sound poetry choir led by Sharon Gal, following a workshop - a celebration of Daniela Cascella's new book F-M-R-L, with Christian Patracchini, Eleanor Vonne Brown, Georgia Rodger, Helena Hunter, Mark Peter Wright & more. 

June Sunday 7th - Blart Books & Home baked Books
Curated by Stephen Emmerson & Lucy Harvest Clarke, readings from Blart Books authors, Richard Barrett, Cathy Weedon, Marcus Slease & more – Celebrating ten years of MJ Weller's Home Baked Books 

June Tuesday 9th - to Tom Raworth
A host of poets pay their debt to the greatest living British poet by reading selections from his work. Readings from Andrew Spragg, Tim Atkins, John Clegg, Fabian Peake, Philip Terry, Michael Zand & many more. 

June Wednesday 10th - Railtracks 
Curated by Gareth Evans. A complete reading of Anne Michaels & John Berger's collaborative book, read by actors. 11,000 words over an hour. Read by Anamaria Marinca and Tony Grisoni. RSVP required for this event. Please email steven@sjfowlerpoetry to reserve one of the last few places remaining.

June Friday 12th - Test Centre
Curated by Jess Chandler & Will Shutes, featuring Paul Buck's Pressed Curtains tape project. 

June Saturday 13th – Mahu Cinema
Co-curated by Dave Spittle. Screenings of over a dozen filmpoems, the emerging medium of poetry film or cinepoetry, crossing poetic principles with video art. A full program of screenings. 

June Sunday 14th - Mahu Camarade
Pairs of poets collaborate to produce original works of poetry especially for this night. Featuring Sarah Dawson & Lucy Furlong, Clover Peake & Giovanna Coppola, Doug Jones & Matt Martin & more.

June Wednesday 17th - a World without Words II
Co-curated by Lotje Sodderland & Thomas Duggan. A World Without Words is an exploration of language, neuroscience & art. Featuring talks by Harry Man, Malinda McPherson & more

June Thursday 25th - Kakania anthology launch
A celebration of Habsburg Vienna in 21st century London. www.kakania.co.uk Readings from Aki Schilz, David Kelly-Mancaux Emily Berry. Jeff Hilson, Pascal O'Loughlin, Rhys Trimble. Vicky Sparrow, Alison Gibb, Eley Williams & more 

June Friday 26th - Influx press
Curated by Gary Budden and Kit Caless. Influx press & their books explore, in some fashion, the idea of ‘place’. Readings from Paul Hawkins, Clare Sita Fisher & more. 

June Saturday 27th - If P then Q press & Mahu in Paint
If P then Q is a pioneering British press edited by James Davies, readings from Peter Jaeger, Nathan Walker, Chrissy Williams & more. Following the readings a live collective art & poetry collective collaboration.

Modes of Aberrant Research - next week at the Whitechapel Gallery

Very excited to be part of this event with brilliant artists, and I'll be reading my experimental story MueuM for the first time in public after it was White Review prize nominated this year.
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Performances coming up this August at the Whitechapel Gallery

Performance: Modes of Aberrant Research

Thursday 7 August, 7pm 

An evening of deviant anecdotes, radical storytelling and narrative segues through archives, collections and institutions. Through experimental fiction, multi-media performance and voice-driven texts, five artists and writers, including SJ Fowler, Patrick Coyle, Holly Pester and Kreider + O’Leary,  examine the subject’s status as agitator, witness and unwitting member of memory institutes.  

£8.50 full price (£4.25 members price).

Book now

Translation Games at the Poetry Library

From the moment I came into contact with Translation Games, through the unusually considered and energetic work of Ricarda Vidal and Jenny Chamarette, I knew it was the kind of project I wanted to be involved in. The kinship it has with what Im trying to do with the Enemies project goes beyond the similar contextual concerns into the very culture of the project, it's openness, it's direction, it's appreciation of complexity. translationgames.net
ALL IS CIRCULAR, LIKE THE SUN. AND ALL BURNS US, EVENTUALLY.
I came into Translation Games at the beginning of it's second phase, as Ricarda and Jenny were expanding the scope of the program and working towards an event, which happened just a few days ago, at the Poetry Library, as part of their special edition series. The process involved 3 artists translating a selection of concrete poems from Antonio Claudio Carvalho's amazing POW series, into their own mediums. They had just a week to do so, and the results were unveiled at the event, with a general presentation of the project and its aims, as I sat in the dark, at the back of audience, live translating the translations and the general goings on.
THE NEEDLE THAT BOWS THE MUSCLES BEFORE IT PIERCES.
There was a Q&A after the works were presented too, where I got to share the stage with Ricarda, and with two of the artists involved, the film maker Anna Cady and the artist Sam Treadaway. Both their work really was a joy to witness, and being so familiar with the POW series, I felt I had an inside track to the roots of their process. Anna's ethereal filmwork highlighted the potential of realising certain paradoxes about death and expiry which cannot be attained in formal language, and Sam's transforming of Simon Barraclough's sun poetry into scent was breathtaking. Sam handed tiny discs to the audience, which were miniaturised renditions of the poem and were infused with the scent of leather, oranges, cedarwood...it was remarkable. You can, and should, read more about it on the translation games website.
7 MINUTES OF LENGTH
IS LOOPED
CUT
LIKE FILM
So much came out of the discussion and the work, but perhaps pivotally for me, I was really forced to consider the lines between translating and collaborating, and how intention defines the difference between these ambiguous concepts when they are deployed as I deploy them, which is, hopefully, a test to traditional boundaries. The live writing was a pleasure, because the event was a pleasure, and I tried to inculcate a meta-dialogue (humorous, I hope) alongside actual expressionistic poetic response. The words, as I was spilling them out, appeared on a screen so the audience could read as the event unfolded. The entire live writing text has been published online and if you liked the excerpts here, you can read it allll http://translationgames.net/?page_id=295

Kingston writing school international pedagogy conference

I gave a off the cuff chit chat paper on the Enemies project and innovation in poetry projects, alongside for more erudite talking by Kim Campanello, James Miller and Fiona Curran, and that was nice, we had a nice audience and a wide ranging chat. Then I went hollywood and went home. Then I returned for a really intimate and enjoyable reading in a lecture theatre in the Galsworthy building of Kingston U. Which is quite modern and clean and new, and like Kingston itself, new to me, and strange. I was one of only two men in a room of about twenty, and so went all dirty magician with my reading, interactively forcing a gentle goose cacophony through the Estates of Westeros book in a box. Saw Philip Gross, Kim Campanello and Jane Yeh read too, having heard of but never seen, all of them. Then I tried to walk the 8 miles home, and got locked in Richmond park in the dark and had to climb into someone's back yard. 

Kingston Writing School 1st International Conference: Pedagogy and Practice: Writing and Higher Education

http://fass.kingston.ac.uk/activities/item.php?updatenum=2496 On Wednesday July 10th I’ll be taking part in a panel discussion on innovative pedagogy in creative writing practise at the 1st International Kingston Writing School conference in the John Galsworthy building of the Uni’s campus. Should be a really interesting discussion, led by the novelist James Miller. Hanif Kureshi will be there that day too. I’ll be reading that night too at 7.30pm, alongside some interesting poets.