Vikings is a series of poetic sequences.
Whale Hunt was published by Annexe press as a pamphlet, Runes: the Futhark was published by POW poster art series and Runes: the Wunjo was published by Gorse magazine: issue 2, all in 2014. The poem Ragnarök was published by Long Poem magazine, issue 13, in 2015.
Annexe press released the Whale Hunt as part of their introducing series in 2014. http://annexemagazine.com/books/annexe-introducing/
Whale Hunt was reviewed by Billy Mills on Sabotage Reviews. http://sabotagereviews.com/2014/05/12/whale-hunt-by-sj-fowler/
"There is an additional undercurrent of animism running through the poems. Fowler’s whales and other animals are shape-shifting totemic creatures inhabiting a world in which ‘Time began with a bear then it became a Viking’. The bear is almost as much a presence as the whale; indeed they cannot really be distinguished:
Becoming Bear from Whale
Turns out the Whale is a Beaver
Bear > Beaver > Whale
Like Housman’s hunter and sailor, whalers, even putative Viking whalers, come home in the end. In fact, ‘home’ is the final word in both the first and last lines of the ninth and final poem in the set. For poet and Viking alike, it’s a hard-won landfall, ‘famished but alive’, wearing an Orca skull as helmet, home at last. It’s a neat resolution for such a restless sequence, final but somehow lacking finality, home until the next time, language, for the moment, at rest."
Runes: the Futhark was published by POW, as a concrete poetry poster, edited by Antonio Claudio Carvalho.
Further Runes were published in Gorse magazine, issue 2 http://gorse.ie/rune-poem/
A rune below, and Chris McCabe's blog on the POW series here http://chris-mccabe.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/pow-final-series-perrone-melville-vas.html
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 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/
Ragnarök published by Long Poem magazine June 2015
A magazine I've long admired, the remit of Long Poem is beautifully attended to by Lucy Hamilton and Linda Black, and I am so happy my poem Ragnarok, part of my Viking series, has appeared as the very last poem of this wonderful latest issue. I'm happy too to be in there with some great poets - Geraldine Monk, Claire Trevien, Will Stone, Ian Seed and more.
My poem draws a lot from the work of Pentti Saarikoski, and was something I worked on quite intensely while in Copenhagen last year. It mediates his sense of disjunction and magical contradiction between the banal and the profound by evoking the world's end.
You can order the issue here: http://www.longpoemmagazine.org.uk/page4.htm