Thursday, October 22, 2020
This began with an image of memory scrawled in a notebook in April 2019 that I knew I would work with, either in a poem, or perhaps video. That note, 'memories carved on other memories like archeological layers that disintegrate, losing their definition under the press of time,' evolved into this filmsoundpoem of at least 50 layers all wrapped into each other as they dissolve.
In May 2020, I took some clips on a hike that struck me as interesting and began to edit them. Then I expanded the original journal fragment into a page of repeating phrases that were then written onto a new page, edited and spoken as a sound poem of repeating tracks (as part of a series of short soundpoems I'm working on). That final scratched-out page is placed on screen - we love to see other writer's processes.*
The sheer number of compound images rolled into compound images in this video pushed my hardworking computer to its limit and eventually I simply had to stop, create some handwritten titles and credits, and let this little oceanic memory poem skip out on the waves.
I would like to thank my dear companions, Kate Rogers, Dai Evans and John Oughton for a hike on May 16, 2020 in Presqu'ile Provincial Park near Prince Edward County in Ontario where the lapping beach clips were shot.
As ever, this is a one-woman production - soundpoem, video, voices, editing, everything except of course my friend John, who skipped a stone on Lake Ontario, was done by moi, for better or worse.
Saturday, August 22, 2020
The drill order:
0:10 Brenda's pre-Amble
07:50 Brenda gets Lola, the tiny doggy
08:30 Brenda read/performs Pull Down the Northern Lights for Chandeliers
27:57 Q & A on Pull Down the Northern Lights for Chandeliers
42:54 Brenda introduces Elana Wolff
44:44 Elana Wolff reads 'Surfacing Behavior'
55:14 Break, with open discussion
1:09:16 Brenda introduces Michael Mirolla
1:15:38 Michael Mirolla reads 'Demeter Makes Plans to Uproot Herself'
1:32:42 Brenda introduces Margaret Christakos
1:35:34 Margaret talks about Pull Down the Northern Lights, performative aspect and imagery, and also her own poetic
1:41:00 Margaret Christakos reads 'Charger 12' and speaks about open field poetics
1:55:22 Brenda introduces Jeff Cottrill
1:57:50 Jeff Cottrill reads 'Wilfred Owen's Off Day'
2:13:41 Open discussion at the end
I would like to thank the League of Canadian Poets & Toronto Literary Council for funding for this event.
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
Saturday, June 20, 2020
June 20, 2020
Today I am silent. Between The Book of Night Women, by Marlon James, and the ballet dancer, Sergei Polunin, who I watch on YouTube. One, grippingly violent, a story of the slave trade in Jamaica, in beautiful prose, in a seamless, perfect and mesmerizing dialect; the other, one the best dancers in the world, spins and leaps that are superhuman, a force de majeure, but shy, introverted, a rebel and a visionary. I float through a heatwave, basking in humidity. Sitting on a bench with my cat, I stare at the foliage and sky, the green, until I am saturated with heat and the healing of trees. Later in the evening, I buy the 2017 documentary on Sergei, The Dancer. I am living in Lilith’s world where she defended herself violently against rape. There has been blood in my mouth since that scene. I had to put the book down because I am living in that hut with her and her burned, skinned-alive would be rapist. I fall asleep dreaming of pirouettes.
Tuesday, June 16, 2020
June 16, 2020
The Salt of the Earth, directed by Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado. France, 2014.
Rich blacks, almost coppery greys, luminosities of light, whites sheer like silk shining, Salgado's work, grandeur, a vast scale. In his humanity, we see the terror of us, how we are victim to our own cruelties. His golddiggers, a hive of ants in the pit, farmers, dying Rwandans, Ethiopian skeletal peoples, the genocide of the Serbs, burning oil fields in Kuwait, on land, water, air, ice, in forests, mud plains, cities, deserts, he paints landscapes of pain or of beauty. When he cannot contain the pain anymore, retreats into existential despair, his wife, Leila, who was with him in spirit on every project in every part of the world while at home with their children, a true curator, guide, turns their focus to healing through affirmation of the beauty of the planet, to re-planting their denuded rainforest in Brazil, to documenting the diversity and beauty of animals, birds & insects of the world. The film ends with renewal, resurgence, regeneration, a joy, transcendent. Of a mountainous desert alive with two and a half million trees.
Wim Wenders has created a portrait of an artist, Sebastiao Salgado, whose face is as smoothly worn, craggy and lined as the mountains he loved and full of the light from the tops of those peaks, which spreads out in every direction.
Sunday, June 14, 2020
Clara, in Allende’s The House of Spirits is, I think, my favourite character in all of literature. Psychic, clairvoyant, telekinetic, someone who could draw many people to her, helper of the poor, I’ve only just read her and am integrating her still. I suspect she is the real writer of the novel and the narrator draws his story from her copious notebooks. Others… Fevvers in Angela Carter’s Nights in the Circus, but not as much as Allende’s Clara. Two books I’m currently reading! This isn’t much of a piece but it does come from the potpourri of a writing life.
But the grass didn’t get cut. The dog wasn’t bathed. There is no coffee cream for the morning. Laundry is still waiting. The floor didn’t get washed. The dishes not done, though that’s an easy task while the kettle boils for coffee. There was no writing. I started and finished a whole section of what is likely a new project and since then, nothing—waiting in writing purgatory. Tapping the keyboard distractedly, waiting for inspiration, for the muse, for a new place to begin again.
Drawn with graphite putty and a 4B pencil on yupo paper an hour or so ago. __
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