feature: essay

Poetry and Cultures of Feedback

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Nemeses, by SJ Fowler & collaborators

My collaboration with Steven J Fowler 'The New War Machine: A Miniature Poetry Play' is included in the second volume of Steven's selected collaborations, Nemeses, just published with HVTN Press.

Nemeses "brings together over 50 collaborations and collaborators, placing poems and prose alongside musical scores, diaries, sculptures, films, photographs, scripts and more. It explores not only the grand potential for collaboration as an innovative, generative, playful and profound practice, but also aims to expand what is possible when sharing the live upon the page."

Steven writes: "It is always in compiling Nemeses that I really realised how many collaborations I have undertaken in the five year period the book covers. It presents excerpts of full collections alongside works made specifically for Nemeses. It draws from full feature films, exhibitions, commissions, installations and poems made for performances around the world. The book is finished with an essay which details, in basic terms, how it was constructed and what my thinking has become around poetry and collaboration."

Our text for 'The New War Machine' is edited from transcriptions of two semi-improvised collaborative performances enacted as part of the Arts Council-supported Yes But Are We Enemies project and 10-day tour of Ireland and London that I produced and co-curated with Steven in 2014 - the performances in question happening in Galway Arts Centre on 21 September and Rich Mix Arts Centre, London, on 27 September of that year.

Additionally, I'm proud to have played some part in a producing, curatorial or editorial capacity in bringing about or supporting some of the other collaborations featured in Nemeses: 'Subcritical Tests' with Ailbhe Darcy began at Yes But Are We Enemies and culminated in a book-length project which then became the first Gorse Editions title we published, in 2017; 'It Is What Is Love / It Is What Is Hate' with Rike Scheffler is also forthcoming in gorse No. 11; 'Beastings' with Diamanda Dramm is the result of a collaboration that began after Steven and Diamanda met at Phonica: Eight in March 2018 (where they performed storming individual sets) and with a full album release forthcoming later this month; and 'The Irish Character Study' with Billy Ramsell was conceived & performed as part of Yes But Are We Enemies.

You can read Steven's introduction to Nemeses on the gorse website. The book is available to buy from HTVN press.

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