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.


Saturday, June 22, 2013



The Trawlers

I am writing poetry, have all along, but cannot post publicly anymore. This is due to the Trawlers, a group of poets who trawl the Internet looking for snippets to steal, tid bits that can't be traced back their source, inspiration, to keep their blogs going and to keep their accolades coming. I note that not one single one of the Trawlers has congratulated me on getting a chapbook published. It's as if the last thing they want is my work in print. Odd how I feel that way, isn't it.

The only time I've felt 'safe' in the last number of years was if I did, say, a poetry prompt in a poetry community and then received lots of comments, as you do when you participate in these beautiful little communities that pop up and disappear all too soon, as the last one did. Because of the traffic to my site, and that some of the participants also read their blogs, the Trawlers wouldn't sack that poem. They might get caught out. Geez.

Also I wrote a really fine poem a year or two back and never posted it but is is in one of my videopoems, one which has received 2,500 hits in just over a year, and I added it via the Subtitle option in YouTube. The Trawlers are unlikely to touch something that is in video form because, again, in the cross-overs of communities, someone might see my videopoem and then read their rip-off in something they posted on their site and the wires would mesh.

While they all hide behind Oscar Wilde, who said, "Talent borrows, genius steals," Wilde himself was very original as a writer and did not "steal." He was a very witty man. But the plunder of literature his famous comment spawned, now that's a sad thing, it really is.

It's as if people can't be bothered to plunder their own psyches and work at saying what they need to say in their own words - because writing poetry is hard work. Words create the writer and writing is a dangerous act. The Trawlers really don't like to put anything at risk - better to steal from someone who is dying into their writing. Then they can get some depth, something real into their own work, even if by theft, not by the hard work of mining oneself.

Even this post has a few nuggets a couple of the Trawlers would glom onto, I know.

There is no solution to this continued and persuasive problem in the Internet blog world. Incredible poetry is being posted every day around the world in various blogs. And then there are the Trawlers, middling talents who are desperate, who happily grab this and that, mulching it into their own rather poor but self-inflated productions.

Talent Borrows, Genius Steals, but it's still Plagiarism on the Net

Monday, June 17, 2013

On Invisibility

For me to keep everything in one place. I do apologize, but I'm at a point where I need to keep my poetry beyond the reach of certain people who have plucked from my work here and there as it pleases them as if they were vultures and I a fresh carcass.

(An image one of them will probably lift. I cannot imagine being so bereft of words and having to literally steal; or, alternatively, being so desperate to appear 'brilliant' that you have to trawl poets on the Internet for whatever you can scavenge.)


Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Beautiful and the Damned - Who is Who?

I've begun a new journal and have been using graphite and charcoal powder. I particularly like this drawing. There is a synergy between the figures, who are together but not gazing at each other, that captivates me. And if you look closely, you, too, will see that it is simply not possible to decide Who is the Beautiful and Who is the Damned. Either could be either.

I loved the remnants of the powder I had smeared on to begin molding the faces in the paper, and so have included those earlier photos. The first one is of the finished drawing. There is a silvery-pewter quality to the drawing, the way the light catches that, that is hard to photograph, but I've done my best.


 Final, detail.


In-process, detail.

Beautiful and Damned - Who Is Who? Brenda Clews, 2013, 16" x 10", graphite and ink, 
in a Premium C.D. Japanese Notebook (the paper is like silk).


Friday, June 14, 2013

The launch of 'luminist poems' went well

I was so nervous I nearly didn't go! My daughter got me there. That was an unexpected reaction. I've been doing open mic for perhaps 6 months almost weekly, and had a few poetry features, and of course have a wack of videos, and I was so stressed I wanted to cancel out of the launch of my first book. You learn something new about yourself every day, I tell you!

It's hard to be present for dear friends with whom you are talking when the crowd around you is in your ears. When you are more of a one-on-one person who likes to get in to actual conversations, the requirements of meet and greet can be a little difficult. I hope I made everyone who came out for the launch feel as special as they felt to me.

Once the readings began, it was okay. Patrick Connors, who launched his chapbook, Scarborough Songs, went first, then me, and Lisa Young closed the evening with readings from her chapbook, This Cabin. They were great. We had been such a team for the promo, it was super to launch with them, and almost a bit sad after, as Lisa said, "Now that the launch is over, it feels a bit like we are breaking up."

My book, the luminist poems, is beautifully produced -Luciano Iacobelli, who hand-crafts all the chapbooks his Press, LyricalMyrical, publishes did a superb job, as always. A decent number of copies were sold. He hosted a warm, comfortable, loving evening of great poetry, camaraderie, and sharing in the best of literary traditions.

Everyone clapped after every single poem each one of us read! It seems so excessive, everyone clapping loudly after each poem, and yet there is such an enthusiasm for poetry in our 'niche' world. Poetry in Toronto rocks, it really does.

I went in terrified and came out the other end of the hours in a warm glow that lasted well into the early hours as I went with a few friends to a friend's apartment to celebrate.

My dear sweet niece, Freya Clews, gave me flowers. The flowers match my favourite lace dress! Almost my whole family came. I am so lucky! And many beautiful friends. All I can say is thank you! xoxoxoxo

My daughter, son and brother helped me take down my show today, and all the paintings are at home. Lots of lovely responses, but, no, no sales. Q Space, being a poetry cafe, I wasn't expecting to sell, but thought that having a show was a good thing for me at this point. You can see my paintings in the photographs - Luciano was kind enough to make sure that the show and the launch co-incided. My brother, Allan, took some fine video too, so I may post that at some point just because.

All in all, a fine experience; it's been an intense month with a solo show and preparations for and then the launch, and I am quite ready to retire from 'be'in public' for awhile! (Though I am a featured poet at two upcoming poetry events, so not totally!)


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Git Yer Socks Movin'!

Many thanks to all of you who are coming. Big hugs!!! And the rest of you? Git yer socks moving to Q this Thurs! Lol!!


Sunday, June 09, 2013

Invite to Chapbook Launch/Art Show this Thursday evening in Toronto

Dear friends,

June is a beautiful month. I hope you are enjoying the vibrance of Spring.

I am happy to invite you to a launch this Thursday night. LyricalMyrical Press is publishing my chapbook, called, 'the luminist poems.' The launch is being held at Q Space, a poetry cafe in Toronto, with two other wonderful poets, Lisa Young and Pat Connors.

Thurs June 13th
7:30 - 10pm
Q Space
382 College St 

(between Bathurst & Spadina,  street parking in area, map below)
Q Space offers tea, coffee, desserts and a cash bar.

'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 

My POEMPAINTINGS art show will still be up at Q Space (until the 14th, the next day).

I do hope you can make it. I would love to see you!
warm regards, love, Brenda

ps. A video of Lisa, Pat and I reading a poem or two, a little preview of our launch this coming Thursday evening:

'For decisions and revisions'

'For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse,' a line from TS Eliot's, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," 2013, 8" x 10", graphite and ink, in a Premium C.D. Japanese Notebook (the paper is like silk).

Then Dean R. Vincent has offered an even better line, "And so it stays just at the edge of vision/a small unfocused blur, a standing chill/that slows each impulse down to indecision." Larkin, 'Aubade.'

As I built the figure, he looked very eery, but came more into form when I added some B pencil lines, also lilac pencil and then red ink.

The second photo I took with the drawing angled in the sun so you can see some of the texture.


Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Nik Beat on his Collage Art Shows, interviewed by Brenda Clews

direct link: Interview with Nik Beat on his Collage Art Shows

Nik Beat is a well-known Toronto poet, musician, and radio host; what most people don't know is that he is also a Collage artist. An "Inner View" with Nik Beat, who currently has two Collage Art Shows. One at Gallery Catalyst, 666 Queen St W, Toronto; and the other at the Grackle Coffee Company, 208 Main St, Schomberg, Ontario. An interesting interview on his show, "Famous for Falling" - on pop icons who hit bad times or opted out of life altogether. He talks about his Marilyn Monroe collage (one with JFK in it), Elvis Presley, Francis Farmer, even Jesus Christ. He does get a wee bit graphic at one point, so listen without children in earshot. He talks about the rigorous requirements of Gallery Catalyst in Toronto, surely a unique way of getting artists to produce, and their way of showing and selling art. And a little of his show in Shomberg, where his larger collage that took 2 years to finish, 'Sex for Sale' is on exhibit. I enjoyed interviewing the interviewer (he does a weekly show on poetry, spoken word and music at CIUT 89.5FM)! Hope you enjoy listening as much as I did!

(cover photo is also mine from when he did a collage at Nuit Blanche 2011)!


'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 ...