Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Fruiting Bodies



Fruiting Bodies
is writing begun during lockdown and stay-at-home orders. When you are alone, you don't have a sense of yourself-in-context of the society in which you are a viable subject. You move through your rooms invisible to yourself, you don't think about how you look, and aren't dealing, one hopes, with your otherness among people. Race, colour, creed, size, age, these aren't at the forefront when you are home, in your own space where you are safe to be yourself. The images, in this section, are from my abode, and, when I read them, I find the familiarity of what I dwell among. I wanted this writing to have a spiritual dimension since I believe we all speak in our privacies to something ineffable, to what guides us through our lives.
 
Recording a reading was entering the world in some way. It was hard to look at a non-existing women, myself, in the clip, to see her, the gesture of my physical body, the contours of age. I hung a William Morris Tree of Life weaving as a backdrop, and shot in a room of sunlight. Editing the video, I began layering in poppies I've photographed on my walks through my neighbourhood, perhaps seeking to add some beauty in what is essentially a 'talking head' video. I live over a subway, which I rarely hear, but, oh, could you hear them on the sound track! I removed the sound of 8 trains! Lastly, I added chimes, which I had ordered for this video, some larger ones, and played, standing, moving the clapper. I hope I've produced a watchable reading. 

A reading for a feature at the Art Bar Poetry Series in Toronto - one in a series of many Canadian poets who have videoed themselves reading their poetry during lockdown over the last year and a half. Many thanks to Margaret Code and Rosa Arlotto for their hard work and dedication to providing one of the best spaces for poets to read, share, blossom. 

A special shout out to Lizzie Violet, whose beautiful hand-crafted flower I wore in my hair.
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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Tulip on Tulip


An open studio that my friend Erica is offering. I had no idea what I’d do this time. Sometimes showing up and allowing the inspiration of the moment is the way to go. Grabbed this and that and a chalk pastel and Taylor’s chalk of tulips wilded on paper. No plans to keep the pastel which will go out with the tulips, but they make an interesting photograph. 

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Thursday, January 21, 2021

Portrait in Black & White


Drawn with graphite putty and a 4B pencil on yupo paper an hour or so ago.

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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Archeology of Water



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.

https://brendaclews.com
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*Archeology of Water, it seems in retrospect, though different in style, follows from a videopoem I worked on between 2014-2018 called Ink Ocean, a poem which emerged from a drawing into which I had written the beginnings of the poem. Here is an older official version based on a 2014 performance, with the drawing in it, Ink Ocean, and here is a newer more free-form performance that I quite like, Ink Ocean.
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Saturday, August 22, 2020

'Pull Down the Northern Lights for Chandeliers,' Zoom video August 20, 2020

 
 "I'd dance to death to evoke it." "Who in me writes?"

It was a rich, varied poetry evening where we read, talked about process, and asked questions. I'm still integrating what everyone said. An evening of inspiration. I would like to thank my features, Elana Wolff, Michael Mirolla, Margaret Christakos and Jeff Cottrill for their superlative poems, readings and expressions of inspiration. And for our fabulous, talented audience! You all added your creative energy to this dynamic event. Thank you, one and all! 💗

The drill order:

I open with a pre-amble, then read/perform a prose poem, 'Pull Down the Northern Lights for Chandeliers,' about breaking through a writing block of 9 years, followed by a Q & A. Elana Wolff and Michael Mirolla each read a poem and talk about their writing process. There is a 15min break, where discussion ensues. Margaret Christakos, and Jeff Cottrill each read a poem and talk about process. We end with an open discussion with feedback on poems and writing processes. My hope is that writers who watch come away inspired, and thinking about how best to continue writing in the ways they most wish. 

Timestamps:

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

direct link: https://youtu.be/3bhZzXzX5fs

I would like to thank the League of Canadian Poets & Toronto Literary Council for funding for this event.
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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Crawling Out of the Morass

A preliminary sketch that I hope to work on in the coming days. Photo with electric light during a dark thunderstorm. Self-portrait, stick and water-soluble graphite, 20"x26". Crawling out from a deeply troubling family crisis.

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Saturday, June 20, 2020

The Book of Night Women by Marlon James

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. 
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Fruiting Bodies

Direct link:  https://youtu.be/B47jC2hl2e0 Fruiting Bodies is writing begun during lockdown and stay-at-home orders. When you are alone, yo...