Nordic Poetry Festival #3 - collaborating with Endre Ruset

For this collaboration there is a personal history

This was fun. Endre and I have been friends for nearly a decade and there hasn’t been a year in that time when we haven’t done some event or festival together. We read together at Southbank centre in 2012, Freeword centre in 2015 and now Rich Mix, for the first NPF, which Endre was no small part of inspiring, in 2019. It was a lovefest.

Please watch the video, it explains why Endre won the award of the 2019 best nordic poetry award, deservedly, and without bias or deep poetic corruption.

Nordic Poetry Festival #2 - A heaving Camarade

This event will likely ensure I try to do the festival again. On another dark and rainy night the Mix venue in Rich Mix, where I’ve hosted over 50 events, slowly filled up with people until it was bursting. 11 new collaborations were so varied, so full of authentic duo expressions, that the event ebbed and flowed, valleyed and mountained. It just seemed people liked it, they realised things, what is possible with poetry, and collaboration, and connected through these works, with a sense of humour around strange intense serious works. It felt like people became connected. I was quietly proud of it. This is the point, it came and went, proofed my concept, held the fest as a purposeful thing to do with a brief moment of time and it’ll be remembered I think, by those in it and out of it.

All the videos are here seriously worth watching them

Nordic Poetry Festival #1 - Opening at Burley Fisher

My new festival, the sister of the European Poetry Festival, began on a rainy, dank, slightly loopy London night, October 11th 2019, in Dalston. The event was a reading but also an opening, for an exhibition we’ve done with the fest. The whole project is an experiment, to see if the resonance of the EPF can be extended into something else, something that feels worthwhile and generative. This night was an optimistic beginning. Because it was intimate, sincere and generous. The readings were wonderful, but more than that, it felt communal, collaborative, and it had a sense of humour, surrounding the serious work on the walls and from the mouths. All the videos are up on and are seriously worth a watch. and I’ve included here Ragnhildur Johanns reading, as she said good things about my star sign. This was a night of seeing old friends and making new ones, and in our little corner of London, the festival began as i hoped it might

Published : Poetry Magazine podcast on Myth of a Mole

Pretty sweet the editors of Poetry Magazine, Don Share, Christina Pugh and Lindsay Garbutt, featured my poem with Max Porter on their latest October 2019 podcast. There’s a full transcript tooo

Max Porter: …. And so, out of this all—and indeed some of my dreams at that time—came this figure of the mole. So, I read this piece to Steve and his students called “The Myth of the Mole.”

S.J. Fowler: And as is often the case at readings, I wasn’t really listening to Max [laughs]. Though, what he read was very charismatic and extraordinary. But I spent, actually, the time he was reading not only listening but also writing. Which I know a lot of people do who are writers when they go to literary events.

Lindsay Garbutt: Fowler then sent Porter the writing.


Christina Pugh: Yeah, there’s so much fun to be had in listening to this piece. As you were just saying, to hear S.J. Fowler and Max Porter really dialoguing together. And, that’s something interesting that you get from the recording. You know, on the page, it looks like one poem—one monologic poem. But, it’s interesting, too. I think part of what makes it fascinating and fun is this idea that there is a kind of suggestion of storytelling, there’s a once upon a time that then gets frustrated by all the internal rhyme that makes the mole, as you’re trying to get a grip on it, turn into things like holes and voles. And, you know, the idea that the mole, as an entity, is just so slippery, the way myth is…..

A note on : Reading at Torriano, a first chunk from my new book on the brain and prescription drugs

O significant to me for two reasons

  • The first time I’ve read from my new book, I WILL SHOW YOU THE LIFE OF THE MIND (ON PRESCRIPTION DRUGS) out next Feb 2020 from Dostoyevsky Wannabe and a real effort for me to combine my interests in the brain and a poetry fiction text illustration hybrid method Ive been thinking on for ages

  • This doc represents I hope, its a mini doc, the authenticity and sincerity of the lovely intimate readings in London embodied by the Torriano Meeting House which has been going for so many years.

Published : Myth of the Mole with Max Porter in Poetry


The October 2019 issue of Poetry Magazine features my collaborative prose poem written with Max Porter, Myth of the Mole.

I say mole, I mean Sharpe, Sean Bean as Sharpe, I mean people are dying while you go full-bore Cockerhoop. I mean it wasn’t like that when I was around, when I was younger. I mean a certain kind of touch, of look. I mean a freedom pass. I mean blindness to the estate. I mean, have you been in prisons, lately? They don’t really. I mean you aren’t talking of who fixes what you’re using?

I mean an acre of English ground, a sugarcoated Dacre homeward bound.

I say mole I mean Yarl’s Wood and all who work there who will never get to any heaven English or heathen

There’s an audio recording available free online too, of Max and I reading the poem

This has all been a joy for me. To work with Max, who couldn’t be more as generous and lovely as he is talented, and recognised for that unusual talent unusually, but also because of how Poetry Magazine have treated me / us. They arranged for us to record the poem together, they offered a remarkable level of editorial attention. They are just really so respectful and caring of the work and the poets.

A link to the whole issue here

Published : Beastings, an album for Pre-Order, with Diamanda Dramm

The result of much work, and of Diamanda Dramm’s talents. An album, entirely hers, but made of my poems, written for the songs, a true and long standing collaboration in this way.

The album can be PREbought at this link and one track, Lamb, is available for a listen, by pressing play on the piccy. The album is out in December

The songs are remarkable, and the production also. It has been a surreal and uplifting experience having my (more than usual) soft and disjointed words become something sung, and sung like this. Diamanda changed the texts in the singing of them, literally and mysteriously.

The album was recorded by Diamanda Dramm & Akim Moiseenkov in Borgerhout, Antwerpen, this year, and has been released by Pretty Purgatory records out Portland, US. /

A note on : Writers' Centre Kingston programme 2019 / 2020


I’m very lucky to be direct of of Writers' Centre Kingston, Kingston University's unique literary cultural centre. In the next academic year over ten events will take place in Kingston, Surbiton and central London aimed at giving Kingston Uni students and staff, and people living locally, and outside visitors,, a chance to witness readings and performances by lots of remarkable contemporary writers.

Visit to find out more details.

Events include our annual English PEN celebration, our Museum of Futures visual literature exhibition, the Nordic and European poetry festivals, and themed events on Memento Mori, Literary Health and Delusions of Grandeur. Venues ranges from Kingston Uni to The Rose Theatre to Rich Mix. Should be a grand year.

A note on : Not going to Slovakia, collaborating with Zuzana Husarova

So I curated a brilliant Camarade event in the LIKE Festival, Kosice, Slovakia, that I didn’t go to. I didn’t go because wizzair delayed my flight for 10 hours and I missed the event. In my stead, my friends and poets ran the event without me, apparently to grand success.

I was going to collaborate live with the amazing Zuzana Husarova. We prepared some audio which we going to play over a physical performance that I wont detail in case we do it again. But Zuzana performed in our stead, powerfully, as ever, and then played the audio, as captured in this video. I feel, watching it, celebrated.

Coming soon - NEMESES, my selected collaborations 2014-2019

I am inordinately pleased with this book, because of its ambition, and for what it stands for. It includes dozens of collaborations over five years, stretches to near 300 pages, full of text and image - poems, fiction, plays, performances, scores, film stills, photography, musical representation. Much more coming about the book, but for now, it can be pre-ordered and it’ll be launched first at St Johns on Bethnal Green on Saturday 26th of October, 7pm, with myself and 10 of my collaborators.

Nemeses DRAFT COVER original back-page-001.jpg

A note on : Korean Cultural Centre discussion event on Hye Soon Kim

I’m chuffed to be chairing this as Autobiography of Death is amazing

The Korean Literature Night (KLN) is a monthly discussion group that explores various themes and topics relating to that month’s chosen book. We will read the poem 'Autobiography of Death' by Hye-Soon Kim .

Event Date: Wednesday 23 October 7-9pm = Venue: Korean Cultural Centre UK

Available Seats: 15 / Entrance Free - Booking Essential / Apply to or call 020 7004 2600 with your name and contact details.


The title section of Kim Hyesoon’s powerful new book, Autobiography of Death, consists of forty-nine poems, each poem representing a single day during which the spirit roams after death before it enters the cycle of reincarnation. The poems not only give voice to those who met unjust deaths during Korea’s violent contemporary history, but also unveil what Kim calls “the structure of death, that we remain living in.” Autobiography of Death, Kim’s most compelling work to date, at once reenacts trauma and narrates our historical death―how we have died and how we survive within this cyclical structure. In this sea of mirrors, the plural “you” speaks as a body of multitudes that has been beaten, bombed, and buried many times over by history. The volume concludes on the other side of the mirror with “Face of Rhythm,” a poem about individual pain, illness, and meditation.

About the Author- Hye-Soon Kim Hye-Soon Kim, born in 1955, is one of the most prominent and influential contemporary poets of South Korea. She was the first woman poet to receive the prestigious Kim Su-yong and Midang awards, and has been translated into Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, and Swedish. Her most recent books include I'm OK, I'm Pig! and Poor Love Machine.

A note on : my hero, Laszlo Moholy Nagy : October 16th performance

It’s hard to stress how happy I am to have been asked to do this event, LMN is one of my heroes for so many reasons. Come along

Hungarian Lit Night: Moholy-Nagy in Britain IMMERSIVE BOOK LAUNCH 16 October, 7pm
Hungarian Cultural Centre 10 Maiden Lane, London WC2E 7NA


Join us for an immersive book launch! Valeria Carullo introduces her new book; Moholy-Nagy in Britain accompanied by interactive performances by Steven J Fowler to take the experience to a whole new level. One of the most innovative artists and thinkers of the first half of the 20th century, László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946) emigrated to Britain after the forced closure of the Bauhaus, following his colleague Walter Gropius. Freshly published, Valeria Carullo's book examines the two years he spent in Britain in the mid-1930s before moving on to the United States - two intense years filled with commissions, collaborations, opportunities, disappointments, artistic exchanges and friendship.

Get familiar with Moholy-Nagy's unique perspective at a night of immersive activities. A talk by the author Valeria Carullo will be accompanied by interactive performances by experimental artist Steven J Fowler that take you to a journey into Moholy-Nagy's world.

The event is free, but registration is essential on Eventbrite. / Find out more about the book here.

Published : a Poem Brut poem in PSW's To Call Beautiful to have a handwritten poem / poem brut (from my book published in the handmade beauty of Petra Schulze-Wollgast’s To Call zine / journal, edition number 7. Visit and support her work

A note on : Touring the West coast of Norway, a beautiful boat poe, also travelogue

A concentrated poetry tour down the West coast of Norway with over a dozen poets from across Europe and local to the towns being toured. A beautiful, generous, spirited few days, with readings in Alesund and Bergen, with a boat ride between. A creation of the Nordic Poetry Festival almost entirely through the hard work and hospitality of Jon Stale Ritland, Bjorn Vatne, Erlend Nodtvedt and many others. Thanks to them

For videos of every performance and more info check out and/or watch this mini doc, and visit

September 16th 2019 Flying in late the night before the day, Harry Man and I get to stay with Jon Stale Ritland, our friends, a wonderful poet and a man of golden bones. Ask anyone who has met him ever. A doctor, a tennis player, an embodiment of Norwegian humility, decency and talent. We chat late into the night with him and his lovely family.

September 17th 2019 Harry and I spend the day awaiting the arrival of the other poets in this miniature festival by fighting and exploding. And table tennis. No one wins. We go then to the venue and meet people who are happy to see us. What more can be asked for. Maja Jantar, Christodoulos Makris, David Spittle, Maria Malinovskaya come by from all over, and Hilde Myklebust, Eli Fossdal Waage, Kaisa Aglen too.

An extraordinary evening. It is not possible to discern the strange transitory factors which make an event feel remarkable, nor is it possible to control them. A space can be made for them to happen, and we must’ve done that, for nearly 100 exceptionally attentive people came to Mottaket, the artist led commune gallery in the heart of Alesund, to watch 12 of us read our work. The audience led the poets into really singular readings / performances. Everyone was on. Our host Bjorn Vatne, was so hospitable and charming, he helped shape the aesthetic too, with the space, and the feeling that this was a project which was welcome, in its eccentricity and range.

We are told it’s a grand success immediately, we believe this too. Everyone decamps for a follow up event, a launch of Jon Stale Ritland’s new book. It is packed in a restaurant called Bro. Packed and rewarding and a great launch. We then all eat together, quite high class food and this is all strange and ethereal and dark autumn colours and rain storm outside but talking so easy and serious too.

We don’t go to bed after though. No, we get cabs into a thunderstorm to a big boat. The Hurtigruten. We board and have cabins and snuggle up in the belly of an ocean swell and that’s unusual and really special.

September 18th 2019 The next day the group is like a little family or team if you want me to pull back a bit. We just spend the day together, in the lounges, in the buffets, on deck. We arrive in Bergen, have one hour alone, I go for a jog around Bergen and feel the city is a little more trendy and miss Alesund a bit but its Bergen, so pretty and nice. We are reading collaborations this night, a camarade. And we are in the huge shiny library, thanks to poet and librarian Erlend Nodtvedt. The room is the main café of the library so there is some contextual distraction but that’s a good thing to work with. The audience is a little reticent but a good crowd and I get to work with Dan Aleksander, basically bringing the lord back into these good peoples hearts and I get a chance to eat a croissant which is always nice. Maja Jantar finishes with a choral piece we all noise into and it’s probably freaked the audience out but in a powerfully poetic way.

We finish the diamond duo days in an Ethiopian restaurant and a skybar with injera and hot chocos and every person is genuine and generous and mindful of how lucky we are to do things like this and when they go so well it’s a fulfilling and meaningful nutcase around the scribbling we do. To our Norwegian friends, forever thanks and a glass of water raised up in the air.

Exhibited : My concrete poetry in granite at Åby Library, Aarhus, Denmark

The Danish artist and concrete poet Kamilla Jorgensen has just put into stone a new outdoor exhibition in Denmark called Dyresti (Animal Path) for an Aarhus library. It's a path of granite tiles, each tile engraved with concrete poems that have a connection with an animal. Most of the poems are by Danish writers, but she kindly asked me if I’d have my poem #1st Crown of the Hoi Polloi, from my books Fights and the The New Concrete anthology involved. I am blown away by the result, it’s so beautifully rendered. I’m in there with some amazing contemporary concrete poets and the great Christian Morgenstern too.

Published : Greatist Hits II with Harry Man


A selected collaborative poetry collection like no other. An unlikely and amusing mixture of poetic styles and conceptual approaches from found text in reviews for Aloe Vera juice and Night Vision goggles, to translations of famous classic English poems into the language of dogs. This is a book of beautiful duo poems alongside disturbing letters from poetry superfans.  

Greatists Hits II, at its heart a conceptual, satirical work, evidences the mode of playful experimentation so indicative of a new generation of English European poets, and features sequences written by Man and Fowler on the road between 2014-2019, at festivals including Ledbury, Bjørnsonfestivalen in Molde, 10TAL in Stockholm, and StAnza in St Andrews.

Publisher: Kingston University Press Ltd 
ISBN: 9781909362321 
Number of pages: 130 
Weight: 137 g 
Dimensions: 203 x 127 x 7 mm

A note on : Nordic Poetry Festival - October 11th to 17th 2019 The first ever NPF in the UK, October 11th to 17th, with over 40 poets performing at 5 events in London, Norwich, York and Kingston-upon-Thames. All events are free to attend and doors at 7pm.

October Friday 11th - Opening of the NPF Exhibition with readings at Burley Fisher Books, London visual poetry by four Nordic poets plus performances on the night and an anthology launch

October Saturday 12th - The Nordic Camarade at Rich Mix, London
The grand event of the festival! 22 poets in 11 pairs present brand new collaborations made especially for this night

October Monday 14th - Nordic Norwich Camarade at the National Centre for Writing Poets from across the Nordic region present new collaborations with writers local to Norwich as part of the NCW’s UNESCO Meet-the-World series 

October Tuesday 15th - Nordic York Camarade at the JORVIK Viking Centre
The home of Nordic history in the UK hosts a night of new collaborations between visiting Nordic poets and York based writers 

October Thursday 17th - Nordic Poetry at Writers’ Centre Kingston
The festival closes at Kingston University with a focus on UK-based Nordic poets. Solo readings and performances at the Museum of Futures 

Published : Lunar Podcast, chatting with David Turner

I do not like my own voice and words but nice to have longform chat with david, and what an achivement this series is

David Turner is in central London talking to experimental poet and artist Steven J Fowler. The pair discuss Steven's approach to writing and editing (or lack of it), whether it helps to sometimes be ignored as a writer and his work as a curator of European and international literature events.

Download a full transcript here:…r.pdf

Steven is organising the first Nordic Poetry Festival to be held in the UK and will take place 11-17 October 2019 at various venues. For more information go here:

Listen to Steven on the Scaffold Podcast: Scaffoldpodcast – Ep-12-steven-j-fowler

A note on : launching my cinema poems book at the cinema museum of all places

Oo i made a little doc with the reading footages i did this night, have a watch

This was a strange and balmy and beautifully weird night. The venue of the cinema museum is unreal. Truly astonishing, huge, idiosyncratic, architecturally stunning. As ever with launch events it was a small audience of close friends and a few people I didn’t know. All this hidden behind Elephant roundabout. I enjoyed reading this poems though, they are not ugly in my mouth.

I adore peter greenaways work but i shouldve watched the pillow book before i screened it to basically a room of my mates. it has not brought the 90s with it into the present.

A note on : Illuminations for Friederike Mayrocker, warm times

the entire illuminations series has been strong, and furthered my deep ties with austrian poets and the austrian cultural forum in london. this one, the 7th, for the amazing Friederike Mayrocker, was punctuated by an unusually focused, convivial and alert atmosphere, and by five really considerable performances. more info

i was quite happy with my own performance too, as i came up with it, when someone dropped out (i wasnt supposed to perform) during the night. pure improvisation and warmly received.