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Where Sadness is Not Mute: A Review of Pablo Valdivia’s, ‘Breathing Underwater’

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Pablo Valdivia, Breathing Underwater
translated from the Spanish by Ross Woods
Guernica Editions, Fall 2014
102 pages
Trade Paperback
ISBN13: 9781550718799
ISBN10: 1550718797>
English
Translated from the Spanish
$20.00 Canada, $20.00 US


Where Sadness is Not Mute: A Review of Pablo Valdivia’s, ‘Breathing Underwater’ by Brenda Clews

A stranger. What does the stranger feel? In this book, Valdivia writes from what it feels like. A nomad writing about the alienated self. Minimal poems, bare traceries of the consciousness passing through the landscape of another land that is not home. Home is “the bosom of the olive piles…that burst with happiness.” (The Valley, 31) London, by contrast, “is dying /from the melancholy.” (53) Leaving home is perhaps a broken love affair: “There is a heaviness which lives in the skin /and reopens wounds… //Have patience that time /will leave the path /of misfortune clear /and with its light it will cure the pain”: (Recollection, 21)
This was loneliness.
The…

May Poetry Salon this Saturday afternoon!

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On Saturday afternoon, May 30th, 2:30-5pm, I am hosting another wonderful Poetry Salon at Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St E (just west of Parliament) in Toronto. This month features poet Kath MacLean and musician/song writer Joani Paige. There are 8-10 open mic spots of 5 min each and all forms of writing are welcome, as well as music. The Salon is free, but we do pass-the-hat for the features. Hot apple cider and mineral water provided by Urban Gallery. It's always a warm, convivial, supportive and very talented afternoon and I would love you to come out and enjoy a marvellous afternoon and perhaps share a poem, short story or song of your own.

We have two features this month:

KATH MACLEAN Is a Toronto multi-media artist and educator. She writes poetry, creative nonfiction, fiction, critical reviews, performance poetry, drama and film and has performed her work throughout Canada and the United States. Her most recent work is Kat Among the Tigers (2011), poetry based on the journals a…

Simple sketch to test Pitt oil-based pencils

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A simple sketch to test some Pitt Faber Castell oil-based pencils, soft and hard black, sanguine and sepia. In my Moleskine poetry journal. Small, 4"x3".

'Words on Water, the Humber River Poetry Walk'

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This walk is part of the Lost Rivers exploration in Toronto: http://lostrivers.ca. These photos are from, 'Words on Water, the Humber River Poetry Walk' last Saturday afternoon (May 16th). Yah, poets on the Humber River! A perfect afternoon!

We walked, and then stopped a pre-designated spots for poetry readings. Raymond Souster lived near the Humber River and some poems were read that were written by him on the river. Lucy Maud Montgomery also lived by the Humber, and extracts from her diaries were read. The organizers had done this walk late last Fall and each had written poems, and they read them at various stopping places. The river came to us in many moods and through many images in the poetry. It was all quite wonderful, indeed.



2. Hogweed - if this touches your skin, a nasty rash (with boils 'n stuff) that can be reactivated by sunlight up to 12 years after the initial exposure. Way too much of it along the Humber...

3. That mark of waves on the bridge... how high th…

Solarized!

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Solarized!

'Contrast,' ink painting in Bampot Bohemian Teahouse Group Show

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Contrast. Brenda Clews, 2015. 16" x 20" x 1.5", acrylic, permanent India and acrylic inks on gallery size canvas.

Bampot Bohemian House of Tea
201 Harbord St (at Bathurst)
Toronto, Ontario

Lady Albion (after Blake)

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Lady Albion (after Blake), ©Brenda Clews, 2015, 21cm x 29.7cm, 8.25" x 11.75", graphite, Prismacolor premier and Pitt pen permanent ink on Moleskine Sketchbook acid free paper sized with Golden Gak 100.

'Albion' is Blake's primal man. I leave it up to you to decide about Lady Albion. Of course, the title of this drawing may change at some point too.

It is impossible to know which image to show. The upper one is what the drawing looks like in daylight; the lower one, more like evening light. Both photographs are true-to-life. I am a stickler for accurate rendition, and use Photoshop to attain the truest colour. Two accurate images drive me crazy.



Two Spots this Weekend

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I'm featuring in two poetry events this weekend with a whole lot of other fantastic poets and musicians.

◇ On Saturday afternoon I will be a guest poet at 'Words and Music Salon' hosted by Linda Stitt and Lucky Mike from 1:30p-4:30p at Vino Rosso, 995 Bay St (just north of Wellesley St).

◇ On Sunday evening I will be performing poetry with masks and video at a 'Syrian Refugee Poetry & Music Fundraiser' hosted by Sharon Goodier from 7p-10p at Beit Zatoun, 612 Markham St (near Bloor and Bathurst) ▻ their facebook event page https://www.facebook.com/events/802749636487643.

If you're in Toronto and can come out to one or both events, I'd be chuffed to see you.

A Yet Untitled Painting

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Latest painting. It's finished except for some detail work - the paint is thick and still too wet. Haven't thought of a title yet. Model was originally from a life-drawing session last year at Bampot Teahouse, two 20 min poses. 16" x 20" oil on canvas.

A 'Breakout' Poetry Performance

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Last Saturday night was a 'breakout' session for me - for the first time, I performed at a poetry event with some of my video poems playing on a screen behind me. At least, the video part of the poems, with their music. I either read or recited poems and wore a mask for one of them. I had prepared my set over the previous weeks, managing to get the video tracks to work with my pico projector. At the last minute, I got cold feet, and tried to cancel, but ultimately did the set and it went over very well. It was a private Poetry Salon at Norman Cristofoli's house, and he just wrote in an email:
Just wanted to let you know that I have had rave reviews about your performance at the Salon on Saturday.

Here is one quote from an e-mail:

"And the Salon kept us all up to date with what seems to be the latest in poetry: ‘voice-over’ poetry, combined with original music and visual video content.

One might say: four art forms combined! All as cleverly presented by Brenda Clews, w…

Updates

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There will be no April Poetry Salon at Urban Gallery - there is a wedding in the Gallery that evening and Urban Catering will be prepping the room in the afternoon. The next Salon will be at the end of May, on Saturday afternoon the 30th.

I have two upcoming mini features, though. I will be a Guest Poet at Vino Rosso on Saturday afternoon, from 1:30-4:30pm, hosted by Linda Stitt, 995 Bay St, Toronto. And a short feature at a Fundraiser being held by Sharon Goodier for a Palestinian refugee from Syria who is being sponsored by her United Church at Beit Zatoum, 612 Markham St., Toronto (near Bathurst Stn), 7pm Sunday evening May 3rd. More info on those poetry spots later.


little transit drawings

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last Tuesday on the subway



The size they are on-screen is the size they are in-life. Transit Drawings #1, #3, ©BrendaClews, 5.5"x8", 14x20.3cm, graphite, Pentel brush pen, Strathmore 400 Series 80lb toned gray sketch paper acid free.

March Poetry Salon @ Urban Gallery: photos and video

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The March Poetry Salon at Urban Gallery yesterday was MAGNIFICO! /MAGˈNIFEˌKÔ/ I would like to thank our two terrific features, Roberto Angelis and Norman Cristofoli, who were MAGNIFICENT. And those who stepped up to open mic, MAGNIFIQUE, MAGNIFIQUE! Valentino Assenza, Kayla Forrest, Arlene Paculan, Jeff Cottrill, Joe Wray, Cate Laurier, Robbie Patterson, Coral - Crescendo Excompare, and Vladimir Azarov. And to all those who came out, MAGNIFICUM!! (magnificent in Latin, yeah really). Especially I would like to thank my brother, Allan Clews, who has added my Poetry Salons to his Meet-up Group, Toronto Mindful Artists, Writers and Storytellers, and who helped set up. And a special thank-you to Calvin Hambrook, owner of Urban Gallery, who helped everyone get settled, and did the open mic list as my bus connections left me running late. When I arrived to everyone's friendly, smiling faces, wow, all I could think was, MAGNIFICO! It was fabulous!

Here are photos from the Soirée. Please…