Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Orange is the New Black, Drawing #3

Amazing the true-to-life colour when a drawing or painting is photographed in direct sunlight. I think it's because the whole spectrum is present. Below is an earlier version taken on a cloudy day. In the final version I darkened the flesh tones with some graphite. The drawing took about 3.5 hours to do, crazy huh. Most of it while watching 3 episodes of 'Orange is the New Black,' Drawing #3 (final), 2013, Brenda Clews, 15" x 11", graphite and pastel on 130lb archival paper. No idea if it has any reference to the actual show itself, but it certainly has personal resonances.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Orange is the New Black, Drawing #2

'Orange is the New Black' certainly is a good show for drawing, I find. :~) No idea why.

Orange is the New Black, Drawing #2 (final), 2013, Brenda Clews, 15" x 11", graphite and pastel on 130lb archival paper.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pics from Art Bar feature last night

Some pics taken at Q Space last night during my feature at The Art Bar. The first, with thanks to Jennifer Hosein for taking it, and the second a frame from a video.

"The Art Bar is recognized as Canada's longest running poetry-only, weekly reading series. Since 1991, it has featured both emerging and established poets from across Canada and occasionally from abroad. It is a hub for the poetry community, and an entry point for new voices."

direct link: Art Bar Feature July 23, 2013

A video taken by tripod of my poetry performance at the Art Bar on July 23, 2013. The video was taken from the side of the stage, and it was for my own reference, but I was asked to share it, and so have made it unlisted. It is raw video, an untouched performance.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Orange is the New Black, an unintentional sketch

A little drawing while I was watching Netflix's new series, Orange is the New Black. There is a unintentional resemblance to Piper Chapman, the main actor in the series, as she appears in the first 3 episodes (freaked out is the word for her). Seriously, I began a landscape, drawing in some lines for bark that became her hair. Le sigh. In a little Moleskine notebook, 7.5" x 10", nice for writing and drawing and fits in my purse.___

Featured at The Art Bar tonight, Toronto's longest-running poetry event

Photo taken by Stephen Humphrey, the photographer at the Art Bar, and a writer and poet, and who does awesome CBC podcasts (his podcast, Dancing in the Dark, on bees was one of the very best I've ever listened to).

Tonight I'm featured at the Art Bar, along with the inestimable Pat Conners, and Stella Body. 8 - 10:30pm, Q Space, 382 College St Toronto.

The Art Bar is recognized as Canada's longest running poetry-only, weekly reading series. Since 1991, it has featured both emerging and established poets from across Canada and occasionally from abroad. It is a hub for the poetry community, and an entry point for new voices.

Full Calendar:

Monday, July 22, 2013

Featured at The Beautiful & the Damned

It'll be a fun night!

The August edition will be hosted by Lizzie Violet, and will feature moi, Adam Abbas and Andrea Matchett. It is on Thursday August 8th, starts at 7pm and will be at Q Space, 382 College St in Toronto.

You can follow The Beautiful and the Damned on Twitter:


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Still around.... a poetry salon, and an article published in an on-line newspaper

Went to a fabulous poetry salon last night at Lou Lou's townhouse, 4-level, sunken living room, sunken garden. It was packed and the poetry and music performances were wonderful. I read 'Light Catches Diamonds,' from my chapbook, the luminist poems, and an older poem, 'Drumbeat,' from my CD Starfire. Unlike some of the poetry series where I do open mic, I always feel my work is welcome and my readings, be what they are, are enjoyed by the audience. These gatherings, and we have upwards of half a dozen or more poetry salons a year hosted by different people in the group, are always affirming. A good group of talented friends brought together by Nik Beat, who really is a centre of a small literary and music hub in Toronto.

On other notes, I got an article on the Victor&Rolf Dolls show in Toronto at the Royal Ontario Museum during the Luminata Festival in June published in an on-line newspaper, Dictated News. They changed one word in the article and added a few more paragraph breaks. And I will get paid for the article. I am chuffed, to say the least. But I should put up a separate post on the article.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sinkholes and Floods

I've been living in a strange and precarious situation for about a week and keep meaning to write a post but more stuff keeps happening.

So I'm keeping a running commentary over at my Facebook page with public posts.

Eventually I will write one long blog post on it, but for now, if you'd like to catch up on the mess and the danger and the progress of the sinkholes that have appeared all along the side of the apartment building I live in, check out the Facebook posts:

Last Tuesday morning, July 9th, I did post a video, there was one from the previous day too. It's worse now, though.

direct link

Other holes appeared after that was filled, and a new still-tiny one in the past few hours very close to the walkway and my only door.

I'll come by and make a long post soon.



Saturday, July 06, 2013

Video: Two Poems by Linda Stitt from her, 'Acting My Age.'

Here are two poems from Linda Stitt's, 'Acting My Age,' and read by her at her poetry book launch at Portobello on April 13, 2013. At 81 years of age, she remains a beautiful woman and poet who I am honoured to know through her ongoing series, Portobello Saturdays, in Toronto.

In the first scene, Ann-Marie Boudreau plays an Oscar drum while Linda reads. Ann-Marie's music and voice is something I could rave about too.

Two astounding women artists!

direct link: Poems by Linda Stitt from 'Acting My Age.' (note: I'm now using another of my YouTube accounts to host my videos of poets, musicians and artists)

I'm a guest poet this afternoon at the lovely Portobello Saturdays that are hosted by Linda Stitt and Peter Solmes. Poetry, jazz, a lovely restaurant with good food, it's always such a pleasure to go to this event.

995 Bay St., north of Wellesley on the East side, from 1:30pm - 4:30pm.

Because of my feature this afternoon, I went searching through my video footage and thankfully found some I'd taken of Linda's launch last April. A little video I put together - it's just over 2 minutes.


Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Happy Canada Day!

Happy to say I think I have finally found music for a videopoem that I have been working on for nearly 2 years. Wow, what a gift on Canada Day is all I can say. My own private fireworks, I tell ya. And I started on an article I had hoped to write, too. Let's say it's been a productive evening. All day I felt an atmospheric pressure that was overwhelming, I can't explain it. I kept slipping past here and finding everything opening up, way beyond the roads and houses where I live. The universe was bearing down today. Do you have days like that too? But then this evening, finally, music that seems to grasp the imagery of the video without trivializing or dominating, and while I still have to work on the writing, I am close to bringing this project to fruition. When things on your list get done, it's like, halleluja.


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Ink Sketch while reading Neil Gaiman's 'Ocean at the End of the Lane'

Ink Sketch while reading Neil Gaiman's 'Ocean at the End of the Lane,' Brenda Clews, 2013, 8" x 10", India ink, in a Premium C.D. Japanese Notebook (the paper is like silk).

There is a rough draft of a poem on the other page but I blurred it out.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Decided on a PayPal Merchants Account for payment options

After researching my options, I went with PayPal. 

the luminist poems, by Brenda Clews, a romance, its dazzling and dangerous light, questions the paradoxes of who we are before the text blazes into visionary rapture.

"Brenda Clews offers us a pellucid voice that presents and interprets so clearly, it is almost as if light is shining through each one of the magnificent images in these mysterious poems." -John F. Walter

Cost: $20.00 CAD, each book is signed 
Size: 6" x 8"; 15.24cm x 20.32cm 
Hardcover: 39 pages
Publisher: LyricalMyrical Press
ISBN: 978-1-897275-84-9
Shipping costs:

'luminist poems,' $20.00CAD, choose shipping from drop-down menu
the luminist poems is a small hand-made chapbook produced by Luciano Iacobelli, who owns LyricalMyrical Press. They are hard cover, usually in bright primary colours; the poems are printed on fine paper. Each of his chapbooks is a jewel. With an initial print-run of 30 numbered copies, they are collector's items. I am honoured to be among the poets he has published.

A review of the luminist poems:

“Tell me the eternal form of you, in that burning star.” “We are solar explosions. What else could we be?” These two quotes from The Luminist Poems hint at the romance of the book (it’s a great love story – and I love the way the heroine dresses!) and at the central conflict of light and human experience as metaphors for each other, as primal energies that are subject to a thousand laws of time and place even as those laws are bent around the beating star and the pulsing heart. These are deeply thought-out and felt-through poems, as interconnected as planets of a solar system or the organs of a body, and yet they read with the seductive spontaneity of a diary. There is enormous erudition here, both in terms of science and philosophy (from Plato to Bergson) and of literary tradition (Henry Vaughan to Julia Kristeva), but the author wears her learning with the effort-concealing elegance of a dancer whose lead you trust. Her allusions are always at the service of the poet’s tale and the reader’s pleasure. (I’m reminded of Nabokov’s search for “the passion of science, the precision of poetry”.) Like the passage of light, this book can be experienced as both waves and particles: as irresistible forward movement in an unbroken line and an archipelago of individual thoughts. And what thoughts! Few modern poets are so generous, so companionable, so easy to commit to memory. Few writers are so able to combine turbulence and passion with serenity; and for this reader it’s the equilibrium between pain and peace that makes me feel that my own struggles have been seen from afar, recognized from up close, and given a shape that lets me face them, and, finally, bless them.

--Stephen Hatfield (one of Canada's pre-eminent choral composers)


Researching Payment Options and Why I Don't Use Credit Cards

Ok, FreshBooks is more of an invoice generator system.  If you only have 3 clients a month, you can have a free account; up to 25 clients costs around $20./month; etc.

What a great company though! The woman I spoke to on the phone listened to what I needed and suggested I check into a PayPal Business account, which she said would be free for what I wanted, and would enable me to accept credit cards. She also mentioned Stripe. And Square - now I have heard of artists who use Square on their smart phones to process sales of their paintings in shows that they set up outdoors, or at craft fairs, and I know it is an excellent service.

Thing is, I don't personally use credit cards. I cut mine up in the late 1980s, not because I was in debt, but because I was appalled by the interest rates, and how people are routinely gouged. It's my one hold-out against Capitalism. Credit cards enable people to borrow on the future. For a whopping price, if you don't get it paid off within the month. I believe in living here and now, debt-free. Even if I have virtually nothing, I owe nothing. This way of living is compatible with my belief system, and I am comfortable with it. If I don't have the cash, I don't buy it, whatever it is. Companies that won't accept my cash, like Amazon, don't get my business, that's all there is to it. I won't be forced into getting a credit card to buy a book that I would really like to have and which is only for sale on Amazon (who also do not offer even gift cards for plain cash).

But for me to accept payment via credit cards for my chapbook and paintings and so on, now I may be snagged there. I may be forced to get a credit card to accept payment by credit cards. If this is so, I'll be finally caught and pulled into the massive debt system that is probably the deepest cause for the many ails of our species on this planet. I won't go on a rant about how the profit margins rule the roost, even at the expense of people's lives, and the environment itself.

Maybe. I'm sure I'll balk. A simple PayPal button may be all I can offer if I wish to be able to live with the fury I feel at the horrors of interest payments on IMF loans for third world countries right down to the guy who goes bankrupt and loses everything because of defaulting on a credit card whose interest payments have exceeded the amount borrowed.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Researching payment options

I got as far as FreshBooks in my research today. Google Checkout is being retired, with no plans by Google to replace it. It's easy to embed a PayPal button, but I'd like to include other options, like Visa Debit cards, and credit cards for those who use them. Likely FreshBooks is not a viable option, but I will call them tomorrow to see how it works and whether their service would fit my decidedly minimal needs.

'the luminist poems' chapbook cover

This took hours because my internet went down and then it started telling me another IP address was using it resulting me calling the internet provider and changing the name and the password, all of which took upward of 3 hours (you know, running back and forth between computers, re-starting the modem, having little bowls of curry and cucumber and bananas and mango chutney, taking the dogs for pit stops). I just got it from my old computer, which is connected to a scanner, via the home network. Ok, you'll see it a lot in the coming weeks or months. And I still have to figure out how to make a 'shop' page... that's tomorrow's task... although I seem to be running a fever, so may need to go in search of a doctor since it's Sunday... we'll see. By tomorrow night's end I aim to have a Google Wallet page or some such - and then I'll become like all the other writers selling their book(s). Lol! It's a good feeling!!!!!

And tonight I managed to transfer the video of my launch reading onto a video drive. And even looked at 30 seconds of it. Who knows if I'll do anything with it... maybe a snippet, maybe the whole thing at some point, or not.

Clearly, though, despite a rising fever, tonight I have finally had time in the midst of a week long family crisis to remember I just had a small chapbook published, and to begin to do the tasks necessary for its little journey in the world.

(That I've got this far is good. A shop page is next. Then I have to start selling it at readings by getting up on open mic and not hiding away in the back row. :) (Though... I am a featured poet in two upcoming poetry events in July, so I'll have to step up to the plate, or mic, somehow.)

It's a small hand-made chapbook... by Luciano Iacobelli who owns LyricalMyrical Press. Bright primary colours. Printed on fine paper. Each of his chapbooks are jewels. He probably does 9 or 10 chapbooks a year. Collector's items. I am honoured to be among the poets he has published.