BRENDA CLEWS is a poet, painter, dancer, video-maker, mother, friend, muse, mystery-maker, a lover, a solitary, believer in divine sybaritism. 'While we all have an instinctual sense of what 'art' is, it's from a 'Weltanschauung' that is itself art because it is part of the process of conscious life in a world that is a work of art.
Our universe's creativity is beyond our wildest imaginings.'
Bren was born in Zimbabwe in the then small mining town of Chinhoyi. When she was two her father, D. Richard Clews, who was a geologist, moved her and her mother to Kafue National Park in Zambia, then the largest game park in Africa, as he joined a mining team looking for copper, and where her two brothers were born.
She cites her early years spent in the jungle, barefoot, living in a compound of mud huts, with many wild animals and the wonderful Ndembu people for her deep resonance with the beauty, strangeness and brilliance of the tribal mind and the natural world.
After the time in the jungle came a year in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, and then her father took the family to England where he obtained a doctorate in Geochemistry and accepted a position in Canada. Bren has lived in Canada since then.
Bren's publications include a novella, Fugue in Green, with Quattro Books, 2017. She has a full-length collection of poetry, Tidal Fury, with Guernica Editions, 2016. LyricalMyrical Press published her chapbook, the luminist poems, in 2013. She hosts Poetry & Music Salons in Toronto.
She has edited university textbooks and creative writing, taught writing, written articles for newspapers, taught Kundalini Yoga, done temporary office work, and dog sitting, while maintaining a reclusive lifestyle of writing and painting. She raised two wonderful children as a single mother. She has a degree in Fine Arts and abandoned a PhD in English Lit many years ago.
Bren has had solo art shows at York University (2000), Q Space (2013) and Urban Gallery (2014), and been in a number of group art shows including 'Birthtales' (1992) at A Space, 'Birth2' (2004) at Ayer Lofts in the US, '5 By 5' (2013) at The Gladstone Hotel, Yellow House Gallery (2014), SuperWonder Gallery (2016) and Arcadia Gallery (2016). Her artwork has appeared in 'Addiction to Perfection' and as two journal covers and in a poster for ‘ARM Magazine.’
Her poetry has been published in print journals, like 'Tessera,' and 'ARM Journal,' and on-line at sites, including 'Juniper,' 'Qarrtsiluni,' 'Mothers Movement Online,' and 'The Browsing Corner' (she is not good at submitting her work). She presented papers yearly at conferences at York University and OISE on the maternal body from 2001-2006. Her video poetry has been featured at 'CrossBridge' (an international multidisciplinary journal), and 'Moving Poems ('best poetry videos on the web').
She is a multi-media artist whose approach to a topic may include poetry, painting, theory, dance, recordings, and video. Brenda's oeuvre focuses on the plethora, the multiple callings, the obsessive muse, the prism rather than the spotlight, or on multiple spotlights. She writes, "Where else do you flee? How do you combine yourself?"