The Snow Bunting

A mason times his mallet
to a lark’s twitter

            Basil Bunting Briggflatts

Big Voice Ben sings the Monday Morning song to Susie.
Finn Balor hits the coup de grace to pin Samoa Joe.
Chloe Sevigny is 41 years of age. I know Timothy Hutton
starred in The Falcon and the Snowman, which was directed
by Snow Bunting.

Two birds, one one legged, the other bipedal, sing.
One’s song operatic, the other popular.
I own no birds, and so feel terrible to find that worm
in the road, inching towards cars near Harlesden.
What waste, they need those nutrients in the Arctic.

The Snow Bunting holds a sign that says Don’t Leap.
It’s fire-born in a box, the enemy of salamanders
and as it enter the galaxy, its main thing is stolen
from the Black Library.

One day you’ll work for me says the Snow Bunting,
on the way out. So the other bird pursues,
and punches the Snow Bunting.
Why couldn’t it just have kept its mouth shut?

The Snow Bunting stars in movies with the most impossible
combination of words, like Black Dawn, Half Past Dead,
and Point Blank. It runs like a little girl covered in bees,
but you can’t say anything about that.

What’s the best cartoon to watch when you’re smoking
your home made cigarettes, Snow Bunting?
The call is the distinctive rippling whistle
of the monogamous snowflake, arctic specialist.
It’s not your friend. You don’t know anything about it.

by SJ Fowler

This weekend, three of our students will take part in The University Camarade, curated by this week’s poet, SJ Fowler. Jennifer Wong, Abigail J. Villarroel, and Christina Murphy have been paired up with other students from different universities to produce collaborative poetry that they will perform this Saturday 25 February at Rich Mix in London from 7.30pm. This promises to be a very exciting event and it is free to attend! You can find more information about it on the Rich Mix website.

‘The Snow Bunting’ is copyright © SJ Fowler, 2016. It is reprinted from Birdbook IV: Saltwater and Shore (Sidekick Books, 2016) by permission of Sidekick Books

SJ Fowler is a poet and artist. He has published five collections of poetry and been commissioned by Tate Modern, BBC Radio 3, The British Council, Tate Britain and Wellcome Collection. He is the poetry editor of 3am magazine, Lecturer at Kingston University, teaches at Tate Modern and is the curator of the Enemies project. He is a high functioning vegan bear, befriends birds and will protect their eggs with electric technologies. Currently he is writing an autobiography of the famous Hyde Park Mud Crow. Find out more about his work on his website.

Notes from Sidekick Books:

With this poem we continue our selection of poems from Sidekick Books’ four volumes of Birdbooks. In 2009, with two micro-compendiums under their belt, Kirsten Irving and Jon Stone, the editors at Sidekick, discussed the idea of a book of bird poetry – but one in which less well known species were on equal terms with the popular ones. There are dozens of poems about herons, eagles, ravens and nightingales, not so many about the whimbrel, the ruff, the widgeon or the hobby. Paper-cut artist Lois Cordelia was recruited to give the series its distinctive covers, and over 150 artists and illustrators were commissioned over six years to complete the series. The first volume is now in its second printing. Find out more about the Birdbook series on the Sidekick website.

Sidekick Books is a cross-disciplinary, collaborative poetry press run by Kirsten Irving and Jon Stone. Started in 2009 by the ex-communicated alchemist Dr Fulminare, the press has produced themed anthologies and team-ups on birds, video games, Japanese monsters and everything in between. Sidekick Books titles are intended as charms, codestones and sentry jammers, to be dipped into in times of unease. You can follow Sidekick’s work on the press’s website and via Twitter.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.

from Gilles de Rais

the magician television show which isn’t true to life.

This is the best of all says prelati
mixing tobacco
too many fish in the sea apparently
to keep
the quench clenched
oh well no use in crying
now 30 years or 300 years later unless there’s
some hard money involved
but I am not able
to forget, Gilles in drowing
in his dreaming
of the happy society kissed as a king

shot in the ribs in revenge.

my organs like this, two ribs, rhymes
and emily’s
racist baby workout
is a future collected book
like this a postcard sized box that is completely
empty as a hospital bed
can be empty soon
enough if you don’t watch you mouth & if so
I’ll be on quick as a flash
evidence for it in my past

by SJ Fowler

Two news items: Hannah Lowe, Teaching Fellow in Creative Writing, andJennifer Wong, PhD student in English and Creative Writing,will be taking part in the Reading Poetry Festival on Saturday 8 November 2014 in a special Poetry Centre reading. You can find out more about the festival, and book tickets, on the dedicated website.

From St Aldates Church in Oxford: This winter sees the publication of an Advent Poetry Anthology and we are currently accepting submissions towards this project. This is open to all ages, and although poems don’t have to be overtly Christian, they should reflect the themes of the advent season. The closing date for poetry submissions is Sunday 9 November. For more information or to submit a poem please email

This excerpt from ‘Gilles de Rais’ is copyright © SJ Fowler, 2013. It is reprinted by permission of Penned in the Margins from Enemies (Penned in the Margins, 2013).

Notes from Penned in the Margins:

‘Gilles de Rais’ is a collaborative work with poems by SJ Fowler and artwork from David Kelly, and comes from the anthology, Enemies . This ground-breaking, multi-disciplinary collection is the result of collaborations between SJ Fowler and over thirty artists, photographers and writers. Diary entries mingle with a partially-redacted email exchange; texts slip and fragment, finding new contexts alongside prints, paintings, diagrams, Rorschach blots, YouTube clips and behind-the-scenes photographs at the museum. Find out more from the Penned in the Margins website, watch SJ Fowler read from the poem, and follow his work on his website and on Twitter.

SJ Fowler is a poet and artist living in London. He has published four collections of poetry, most recently the limited-edition Recipes (Red Ceilings, 2012). He has produced poetry, sonic art, installation and performance artworks for Tate, the Voiceworks project and the London Sinfonietta. He is the poetry editor of 3:AM Magazine and also works as a martial arts instructor, and as an employee of the British Museum.

Penned in the Margins is an independent publisher and live literature producer specialising in poetry and based in East London. Founded in 2004, the company has produced numerous literature and performance events, toured several successful live literature shows, published over twenty-five books, and continues to run innovative poetry, arts and performance projects in the capital and beyond. The company is currently touring two productions: Shlock!, a powerful feminist satire for the cut and paste generation, and The Shipwrecked House, a one-woman performance that blends poetry with theatre, in which Anglo-Breton poet Claire Trévien navigates a shifting maritime landscape. You can find out more about these productions on the Penned in the Margins website.

Penned in the Margins’s recent anthology, Adventures in Form, was awarded a Special Commendation by the Poetry Book Society and was chosen as one of 50 Best Summer Reads by The Independent. You can visit the Penned in the Margins website here to sign up to the mailing list, and follow the publisher on Facebook and Twitter.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.