New . . . SJ Fowler’s Poem Brut project begins November 25th

We’re proud & excited to be supporting SJ Fowler’s Poem Brut, which begins in November.

Here are some details taken from the new Poem Brut website, which is packed with more information on events, exhibitions, commissioned work, publications etc

Poem Brut at Rich Mix : November 25th 2017 : 7pm – Free entry
35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, London E1 6LA

A literary event celebrating of the visual, visceral, messy, handwritten and colourful in poetry with new unique commissions from writers exploring alternate ways of making literature. Each presentation will be different from the last, with readings, performances and talks alongside pop up exhibits, interactions, video poems and interactions.

Featuring new work from Harry Man, Imogen Reid, Stephen Emmerson, Hiromi Suzuki, Lotje Sodderland, Paul Hawkins, Chloe Spicer, Kate Wakeling and more. Commissions include explorations of erasure and lettering, dyslexia, dyspraxia, and poetry, conceptual editing and the poem as gif.

The event will also be the launch of SJ Fowler’s book I fear my best work behind me with Stranger Press.

The Poem Brut will encompass four new limited edition art books and an exhibition at Rich Mix as well as, beyond SJ Fowler’s own work, a programme of books, events, exhibitions and installations that explores the visual and contextual character of poetry and text, and in so doing the overlaps between modern art and modern poetry.

About the project: What is in the shape of a letter? What images do words recall? What is the meaning of colour in poetry and text upon the page? And white space? How does the situation of a poem change its meaning? Why is composition not a concept that applies to a medium that is innately visual? In literature, why has content overwhelmed context? Why has product dominated process? In the UK especially these questions fundamental to most other artforms have been neglected. The Poem Brut, in a playful, creative and accessible manner, aims to redress some of these concerns.

The Poem Brut explores the language art, the art of poetry – handwriting, abstraction, illustration, asemic and pansemic writing, concrete poetry and more. This is an examination of words that are meant to make you squint, to battle for legibility, rather than you be able to pinch and extend your thumb and forefinger against the page to get a closer look. A celebration of scribbling, crossings out, forgotten notes, strange scrawls – the odd interaction between paper and pen, and pencil, and the colours that randomly collide. It is a project about the page as a block, about geometry, about lines that sever meaning, about inarticulate shapes, about minimalism and collage. It is about making, gesturing towards the handmade, the amateur, the outside, liquid and wood, ugliness, toilet wall draughtsmanship and mess. It is a response to being called an artist in the poetry world, and a poet in the arts world.

As a major part of our day becomes how much time to spend online, and a movement slowly arises to disengage from online existence, so The Poem Brut is also intended to be a tiny return to the obscure, inarticulate, child-like intensity of our making marks upon a page, pen, brush, pencil to paper, that which underpinned the art brut and all it was influenced by.

Drawing on the great post-war figures of avant-garde poetry and visceral text art, and so interrogating the limitations of these definitions, The Poem Brut will refer back to European figures still profoundly underappreciated in the UK, most especially in literature. Henri Michaux, Christian Dotremont, Karel Appel, Asger Jorn, the CoBrA group, Messa.

Works that explore language as markings, that return to the lost languages of linguistic history alongside the immediacy of groundbreaking art movements that used text freely and influenced practitioners from Basquiat to Twombly, will be created and brought into focus. Both those who pioneered such works in poetry and art will be brought together, from the last seven decades and the now.


SJ Fowler : launched on November 25th 2017 at Rich Mix

SJ Fowler : launched on January 13th 2018 at Rich Mix Gallery

launched on March 16th 2018 at Rich Mix

THE NEW PRIM : Hesterglock Press
SJ Fowler : launched on March 16th 2018 at Rich Mix

There’s much more on the Poem Brut website

Lots more on Steve’s visual art projects on his website here



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