30 Year Anniversary Event and launching Shifting Ground, a publication - September 22nd 2016: A really wonderful night at Dalston Curve with all the friends, colleagues and members of J&L Gibbons, celebrating three decades of remarkable, innovative, mindful work in shaping the environment of London and beyond. Lovely to work towards this night, where I gave a small contribution with this collective, multivocal reading, through the Shifting Ground publication. A beautiful object, it combines articles, reflections, dialogues, celebrates the past through future work and enterprise, and fortunately for me, contains a suite of my poems.
My second poem about Napoleon for Crispin Best's For Every Year Project.
A soft man of average height,
drowning in an inch of liquid,
warmed by the wave of sentiment
from which he was born.
As the year dies off, it's a chance to reflect on a really remarkable 12 months past and say a few thank you's to those who have been so generous as to make everything that transpired, mentioned below, so remarkable. Here is 2015 in review:
debut solo exhibition, Mahu, took place across June and July, at the Hardy Tree Gallery in Kings Cross, a book handwritten onto the walls, with 11 events across the run. Thanks to Cameron Maxwell & Amalie Russell, and the over 50 poets and writers who contributed.
Throughout 2015, I was in residence with Hubbub group at Wellcome Collection, sharing the space with neuroscientists, social scientists and other researchers. I launched my Soundings project with Hubbub and Wellcome Library, performing with Emma Bennett, Dylan Nyoukis & Maja Jantar. Thanks to James Wilkes, Kimberley Staines & many others.
a debut play, Dagestan, was produced to scratch at the Rich Mix Theatre, thanks to an amazing cast, director Russell Bender and producer Tom Chivers, of Penned in the Margins.
Really wonderful to join the faculty at Kingston University, as a lecturer in the Creative Writing department.
With The Enemies Project, I had the pleasure of curating multiple international collaborative projects:
Gelynion, with Nia Davies, thanks to Arts Council Wales. Remarkable events from Newport to Bangor, finishing at Hay-on-Wye Festival.
Feinde, with Austrian poets, thanks to the Austrian Cultural Forum, including multiple events & an exhibition celebrating concrete poetry.
Croatia, with Tomica Bajsic & co, thanks to Croatian PEN and others, a wonderful mini-tour of Croatia and an event in London.
Enemigos, with Mexican poets, thanks to British Council, Conaculta and the London bookfair.
Wrogowie, with Polish poets, thanks to Polish Institute London.
Nemici, with Italian poets from across Europe.
Kakania, celebrating Habsburg Austrian culture, supported by Austrian Cultural Forum, saw memorable events in the Freud Museum, the Horse Hospital and the ACF, with over 40 new commissions. It also produced two books – an anthology of the project’s work and a new collaborative collection written by Colin Herd and I, about the life of Oskar Kokoschka.
a launch of the 2nd edition of my book Fights, published by Veer Books, at Apiary Studios in October. Big thanks to the publishing committee at Veer and the authors who celebrated the sport of boxing with me on the night.
A World without Words, curated with Lotje Sodderland and Thomas Duggan, saw 4 events in 2015, including at Somerset House and the Frontline Club. A remarkable success exploring the human brain, language, neuroscience & art with some amazing thinkers, not least Lotje & Tom.
I spoke at the School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt University, Berlin, thanks to Daniel Margulies, and became a Salzburg Global Fellow, for a conference on creativity and the brain. also attended the International Literature Showcase in Norwich thanks to the British Council and Writer’s Centre Norwich, and contributed to a panel on technology and literature.
attended Festina Lente in Paris in March, hosted by Martin Bakero and collaborated with the brilliant Zuzana Husarova.
curated many stand alone events, including the European Camarade, which brought together 18 poets from across the continent, the Norwich Camarade, thanks to Writer’s Centre Norwich and UEA, Global Cities for Southbank Centre & the London Literature Festival, European Literature Night in Edinburgh and a Cemetery Romance, thanks to Czech Centre London. Pleased to be a part of the Globe Road Festival too, leading an artists tour of the road.
had the privilege of being hosted by Edge Hill University, thanks to James Byrne, and co-curate a Camarade in Liverpool, which included a launch of my collaborative book with Tom Jenks, 1000 Proverbs, from Knives forks & spoons press.
amongst readings / performances: at Whitechapel Gallery for the launch of the New Concrete, edited by Victoria Bean & Chris McCabe, at the Stoke Newington Literature Festival & at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, on Henri Gaudier-Brzeska’s The Wrestlers, thanks to Sarah Victoria Turner & co.
Wonderful to again teach for the Poetry School, sharing my passion for European and world avant-garde movements in the courses Maintenant and Mondo.
continued in residence with the brilliant J&L Gibbons landscape architects and had the pleasure to share the stage with them at the Garden Museum, London for the Big Tree Debate.
Amongst some lovely conversations / interviews documented this year, this one on Sabotage Reviews with Will Barrett really stood out and I was grateful to the response of many to my short article on the passing of Tomaz Salamun.
Poems in Modern Poetry in Translation, Poetry Wales, Test Centre, Gorse, Long Poem magazine, Lighthouse & others, thanks to the editors. My work was also included in the Poetry Archive.
And knowing no one is reading at this point, simply, it was a great pleasure to collaborate in one form or another with so many extraordinary artists in 2015 - Noah Hutton, Rebecca Kamen, Tereza Stehlikova, Endre Ruset, Alessandro Burbank, Joe Dunthorne, Eurig Salisbury, Zoe Skoulding, Rhys Trimble, Daniela Seel, Anna Cady, Amanda de la Garza, Harry Man, Prudence Chamberlain and Tom Jenks among them.
I'm grateful to have met and worked with so many generous people throughout this year. There is more to come in 2016.
Dear friends, happy new year. The happenings of 2014, a bit of an epic email. It’s been another immense year, and more than ever before I have to express my debt of thanks to collaborators & friends, one + the same, who have helped me so.
In April I had the chance to visit Iraq through the Highlight Arts project in Erbil, collaborating with Iraqi and Kurdish poets and reading at the Niniti Literature Festival. http://www.stevenjfowler.com/reel-iraq/
In October I visited Hay Xalapa and the Cervantino festival in Mexico thanks to the British Council. http://www.stevenjfowler.com/hay-xalapa-cervantino-mexico
In June I launched my sixth poetry collection, the Rottweiler’s guide to the Dog Owner with Eyewear publishing http://www.stevenjfowler.com/the-rottweilers-guide-to-the-dog-owner/ The book had a commendation from the Forward prizes.
Thanks to Creative Scotland, in July I toured Scotland with the Auld Enemies project, with over 40 poets involved over 7 readings from Edinburgh to Lerwick. There’s a documentary https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8Pz-z8z8_w & all the videos, blogs and information http://www.stevenjfowler.com/auld-enemies/
In September I toured Ireland with the Yes But Are We Enemies? project and with Auld Enemies, it was one of the most extraordinarily warm and creative experiences of my life. http://www.stevenjfowler.com/yes-but-are-we-enemies/
In June I toured through the Baltic countries, reading in Vilnius and Talinn and performing a new conceptual piece for the Free Riga festival http://www.stevenjfowler.com/free-riga-festival/ Thanks to the British Council.
In May I had the chance to participate in the Crossing Voices project in Venice, curated by Alessandro Mistrorigo and James Wilkes http://www.stevenjfowler.com/venice/
In August, in Liverpool, I was commissioned by Nathan Jones’ amazing Syndrome project to create a performance piece based on the use of Choros body movement mapping technology, and did so using Kyokushin Karate https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxeGbdAAHlM
In September I was the guest of Croatian PEN and read in Zagreb, thanks to Tomica Bajsic & Damir Sodan http://www.stevenjfowler.com/croatia/
In May I visited the Prague Microfest, thanks to the Czech Centre London, to perform with the TRYIE collective http://www.stevenjfowler.com/tryiecollective/
In March I performed at the Festina Lente sound poetry festival in Paris, curated by Martin Bakero, and held in a circus https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xjIb3yalRM
In late August I read at the 9th international Novi Sad Literature festival in Serbia http://www.stevenjfowler.com/novi-sad-literature-festival/
I was shortlisted for the White Review prize in early 2014, for my story MueuM http://www.stevenjfowler.com/white-review-prize-mueum/ I performed the text at the Whitechapel gallery in August, in an evening curated by Holly Pester.
Across July, the Poetry in Collaboration exhibition, co-curated with Chris McCabe, was the Saison Poetry Library’s summer exhibition, drawing from contemporary and historical sources http://www.stevenjfowler.com/saisonexhibition/
In 2014, the Enemies project was behind over 50 events, with over 200 poets and artists, in multiple nations, in many new forms and spaces, and was supported by Arts Council England http://weareenemies.com/
I curated Camaradefest II in October, with 100 poets reading in 50 pairs, with brand new collaborative works being premiered.
In November the Kakania project began thanks to the Austrian Cultural Forum, with an amazing event at the Rich Mix. www.kakania.co.uk
During 2014 I was poet in residence at the extraordinary landscape architects J&L Gibbons, writing new sequences on soil & trees, the former published in a unique book of essays and reflections on the city of London & its earth http://thegreenerinfrastructure.tumblr.com/
Thanks to the Danish Cultural Agency and the Danish Embassy in London, the Fjender project, a Danish Enemies project took place in March & April. I read & exhibited in Copenhagen, the Fjender event at the Rich Mix in London was a great success, and Morten Sondergaard’s extraordinary Wordpharmacy exhibition at the Hardy Tree, running throughout March, also featuring a reading, was brilliant.
In July I curated a night of new artworks and literature responding to the life and legacy of Bohumil Hrabal for Czech Centre London, called Cabaret Hrabal, at the Horse Hospital. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6HysePkAY0
I co-curated an exhibition with Tom Jenks celebrating the avant object press Zimzalla in October at the Hardy Tree gallery in London, which featured two readings https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UauBZpo9vY
I was pleased to teach two new courses for the Poetry School, Maintenant & Vanguard, both of which explored avant garde poetry post WWII, in Europe and Britain respectively. http://www.stevenjfowler.com/poetryschool/ Both courses were full & extraordinary experiences for me. An interview here with Sarah Dawson with the Poetry School http://campus.poetryschool.com/maintenant-interview-s-j-fowler/
In February I launched a pamphlet called Whale Hunt with Annexe press, thanks to Nick Murray, launching it thus https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saUebKuHKao
In June I performed at the Museum of Water, at Somerset House, thanks to Penned in the Margins, protesting water cannon policy by trying to drown myself in a shallow bowl https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqpJDPBp7gw
The first Mopha collective performance took place at the Rich Mix Theatre in late September http://www.stevenjfowler.com/mopha
I collaborated with the videoartist Joshua Alexander to produce the first of a series of videopoem collaborations, Animal Drum http://vimeo.com/105849417 with footage taken from a performance at the Science Museum.
The Hubbub residency at the Wellcome Trust began in October, and I contributed to the Being Human festival in November http://www.stevenjfowler.com/the-hub-residency-at-the-wellcome-trust/
I had the chance to read in Sheffield for the first time, at Banks Street Arts, for the Midsummer poetry festival, thanks to Agnes Lehoczky, in June https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IFrkTk6s5E
I had the chance to speak at the Poet as a Boxer event at the Saison Poetry Library in February
As poet in residence of the Translation Games project, I was live writing during the Saison Poetry Library special event in March
In March I curated a special Camarade event in Edinburgh for the Hidden Door festival, in the cities abandoned arches.
An event celebrating the work of Tim Atkins, and his marvellous collected Petrarch poems from Crater press was one of the year’s highlights http://blutkitt.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/petrarch-celebration-of-tim-atkins_29.html
A Slovakian Enemies project took place at the Freeword centre in November
Wrogowie: a Polish Enemies project, took place at the Rich Mix in London in February https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=us2sNV3kDDE
An event was held in February to celebrate the work of Bill Griffiths, coinciding with the launch of a second volume of his collected poems from Reality St. press.
I was happy to read the work of Jiang Tao and Ming Di at an event celebrating contemporary Chinese experimental poetry at the Poetry Café in June.
A special Camarade event was held for the Interrobang bookfair in November
I published a special feature on collaboration for Cordite magazine with new works and an essay
3 poets were published as part of the Anglaise Actuelle project with Recours au Poeme magazine, new translations of contemporary British poets into French
Visiting Hannah Silva in research residence at the British Library we had an interview / discussion, excerpted here http://hannahsilva.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/the-prolific-myth-interview-with-sj-fowler/
I was part of the first Penned in the Margins podcast with Hannah Silva, Siddhartha Bose and Tom Chivers, recorded here https://soundcloud.com/pennedinthemargins/sets/penned-podcast-1-poetry-and
I was on BBC radio 3’s Free thinking talking about boxing and poetry http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03t0d9
I was happy to read for the BAMS Modernism Now conference thanks to JT Welsch in June https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXuC4AdG7m8
& to read for Akerman Daly at the London Artbook fair at the Whitechapel gallery, celebrating Fabian Peake, in September.
& to read to celebrate Antonio Claudio Carvalho’s POW series at the Juggler in Hoxton, London, in June https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKmnFmUI0B0
I was privileged to read at the launch of the wonderful Coin Opera 2 anthology in November https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8XAoLotL1g
Thanks to the editors of Gorse magazine, Colony, the Bohemyth, the Honest Ulsterman, the Morning Star, Huellkurven, the Wolf, the Quietus, Test Centre & others.
& heartfelt thanks to everyone who made the year such a memorable one, I’m grateful for all the generosity and hospitality that’s been visited upon me. 2015 will be better yet, plans to follow. Best wishes to you all, Steven
SJ Fowler Act 2 London from Mercy on Vimeo.
SJ Fowler Act 3 Gateshead from Mercy on Vimeo.
SJ Fowler Act 4 London from Mercy on Vimeo. SJ Fowler Act 5 Gateshead from Mercy on Vimeo.