More sketches of poets at readings around the city

Lorraine Gane @ The Art Bar

Margaret Christakos @ The Art Bar

Gianna Patriarca @ Vino Rosso

Gene Wong @ The Art Bar
About the only life drawing I am doing these days - I do enjoy sketching poets and musicians, if they're relatively still, that is! I've thrown out quite a few water-soluble colour ink drawings that did not work to my eye and I've decided to stick with a .9mm technical pencil with a B or 2B lead for now. (Though in Gianna's drawing I did add some fine black Pitt pen.)

Poems that Offer a Mythic Feast: A Review of Clara Blackwood's, 'Forecast'

Forecast by Clara Blackwood
Guernica Editions, Spring 2014
108 pages
Trade Paperback
ISBN13: 9781550718195
ISBN10: 1550718193
$20.00 Canada, $20.00 US

Poems that Offer a Mythic Feast: A Review of Clara Blackwood's, 'Forecast'
by Brenda Clews

Clara Blackwood’s, Forecast, focuses on hidden, delitescent experience. The collection is like a tarot reading. The poems never fully reveal themselves. Across the five sections of the book, including one on the cards of the Major Arcana, we find references to what is dealt, the forces compelling the life of the poet. The poems seep with intuitions of a deeper reality underlying the normative one where “the ravine teems with life: /crows chase hawks, foxes hunt hares” and, more importantly, that “Each blade of grass /aware of itself. //The animal spirits from long ago /made an agreement. /The human imprint /has yet to unseat it.” (Local Pantheon, 27)

The poems in Forecast are from the perspective of the medium rather than the …

More photos from my upcoming videopoetry live performance on June 30th

Especially for those of you working in video or considering video for your writing, you might try to make it to this presentation because you will find it interesting and it will spark so many ideas for your own work!
Here are more images from my 'Ink Ocean' videopoem that I will be showing *and* performing live at Shab-e S'her on Tues evening June 30th (Beit Zatoum 612 Markham St). Bänoo asked for political poems, and this one is on oil spills... oil, ink... The other pieces I will be performing with video are 'Threnody in Clay' and 'A Floral Opera,' plus a couple of short bonus pieces, and performing 'Split Mask' in the mask... all videos shot and edited by me (sometimes I use images from the Internet Archives with full credits). I hope it will be an evening to remember.

Event Page:

Tara & I in June

Tara and I! Love my talented smart beautiful niece!

Preparing for an upcoming feature performance...

A photo from one of the performance videos I am working on for my poetry feature at Shab-e S'her on June 30th, a Tuesday, at Beit Zatoum 612 Markham St (near Bloor and Bathurst). Been busy preparing for this upcoming feature - I will be doing about half an hour of poetry, some with masks, most with video.

Facebook event page:

Transit Drawings

A couple of small quick Transit Drawings (done on the subway). 5.5" x 8", graphite, Pitt art pens, Strathmore toned gray sketch paper acid free.

Attended the 2015 Griffin Poetry Prize Shortlist Readings

The 2015 Griffin Poetry Prize Shortlist Readings last night at Koerner Hall (each writer gets $10,000. for being shortlisted, the books translated share the money) – Shane Book, Eleanor Goodman and Wang Xiaoni, Marek Kazmierski and Wioletta Greg, Michael Longley, Jane Munro, Spencer Reece and Russell Thornton - was magnifico! Saw quite a few poets from the Toronto poetry scene there - which was wonderful. The reception afterwards was a lot of fun too, thanks Quattro Books - who have a book shortlisted - The Hundred Lives by Russell Thornton (I'll be writing a review of his book). The readings were top notch, and who is going to win will be a difficult decision for the judges, who narrowed down this year's shortlist from a submission of 500 poetry books from Canadian publishers. Took the photo with my iPhone without realizing I shouldn't have (my bad), but I did get permission to post it.

I also bought, The Griffin Poetry Prize 2015 Anthology (edited by Tim Bowling, publis…

May 2015 Poetry Salon: photos and video

Was brillyg, our Poetry and Music Salon! We did gyre and gimble at Urban Gallery! I'd like to thank our features, Kath MacLean and Joani Paige, for their poems, songs, for sharing so deeply with us their oeuvre, their work, beautiful and gutsy and more than a wonderful way to spend time on a Saturday afternoon. The open mic list was lit with light. This city has so much talent! I am so privileged to be able to gather some of that talent in one room for an afternoon of poetry and music. I'd like to thank Feng Zhou, Jim McCuaig, Norman Bethune Allan, Charles Taylor, Stedmond Pardy, Jeff Cottrill, Harry Briggs, John Charles Daly, and Bänoo Zan for sharing a portion of their oeuvre - a frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! [S]He chortled in joy!

 (derived from the verb to bryl or broil) -the time of broiling dinner, i.e., the close of the afternoon. (Lewis Carroll’s definition)
Frabjous -wonderful, elegant, superb, or delicious.
Callooh! Callay! -are exclamations of joy and are equiv…

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

Pablo Valdivia, Breathing Underwater
translated from the Spanish by Ross Woods
Guernica Editions, Fall 2014
102 pages
Trade Paperback
ISBN13: 9781550718799
ISBN10: 1550718797>
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.

May Poetry Salon this Saturday afternoon!

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

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'

This walk is part of the Lost Rivers exploration in Toronto: 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…



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

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)

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.