'Three Poets, Three Chapbooks, Three Visions' video is finally live!

direct link: Three Poets, Three Chapbooks, Three Visions

Simply cannot believe that this video is finally live! Wow, what I've been through with buggy FCP X! The video is simply done: Lisa Young reads two poems from her forthcoming chapbook; I read a prose poem; and Pat Connors reads two poems. Then animated blurbs on our chapbooks with the cover photos. And finally the three chapbooks with the website of the publisher, LyricalMyrical Press. And credits, thanking Luciano Iacobelli, the publisher. I only played a wee bit with colour (Lisa and Pat are, um, rather bright and I'm more black and white) and some, uh, sidelights. :) ::laughing delightedly:: Enjoy a lovely poetry reading in the comfort of where you are. And, if you're in, or near, Toronto on June 13th, come to Q Space at 382 College for the launch!

Also, I put the launch date and so on in a few YouTube "Annotated Notes." Quite fun, I tell you. But I can remove them after June 13th, and then the video will remain to float around YouTube in the years to come, itself launched. :)


Writings of 'Who'

direct link: Writings of 'Who'

A videopoem performance piece.

For a backdrop, I slung a rich, red Chinese satin cloth over a room divider, pulled my iMac up close, and recorded a recitation of the poem ten times in PhotoBooth, each time adding more jewelry, a swath of orange beads across the neck and shoulder, a rhinestone dangly tiara. The excesses of perhaps too much expression decreased as I became tired and the speaking of the poem emerged more clearly as it rendered through me.

Besides preparing for a performance piece, I used a number of techniques and filters in the editing of the videopoem. In PhotoBooth, Apple's fun camera still and video program, I used a spotlight plugin, which was cool; unfortunately Photobooth's resolution is low. The video was imported into Final Cut Express where I layered it in curious and idiosyncratic ways, adding a vignette to the base layer, and color emboss to the other one. Both those layers also received a maximum de-interlace flicker filter. The lens flare title and credits were done in iMovie and added as tiny clips to the timeline. I used FCEs scrolling text option for the poem, adding a light rays video filter to it. Finally I added a caustics render video generator track to the whole piece.


For textual influences, in comments on the original poem post I wrote:

Kristeva did a lecture at the University of Toronto in the late 1990s on the question of 'Who' that I attended, but didn't connect then to the 'who' of the muse. Blanchot's 'The One Who Was Standing Apart From Me?'... is my particular inspiration here.

On the 'coded' "unconscious" of the Freudian/Lacanian school: I, too, incline towards a phenomenology of consciousness, whatever that may be. How often do I access my own personal symbols to write? References that might be opague to others. From Célan I learnt much on interweaving the personal myths in such a way that my symbol stream is only hinted at and whose full meaning remains just out of reach.

Kristeva is where I first learnt of the 'speaking subject,' the 'speaking voice.' Can we take it further to the 'writing subject,' the 'writing voice'? Though I don't want to get trapped in semiotics either.

John Walter wrote, in response to the poem, and it is worth quoting: "You ask the hard problem that Beckett asked throughout his entire oeuvre, especially the trilogy of novels Malone, Malloy Dies, and The UnNameable as well as his classic one man play, Krapp's Last Tape: "Who is the voice speaking within me, if it is not me, and it speaks when I don't, all my life, up until my last breath."

You pose it in a variety of fascinating ways here."


Poem, written in 2006; videopoetry performace, 2011.

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Starfire, a collector's edition

Starfire, 11 poems I have recorded with music background, is a free download - Mp3s at a decent 195kbps. It's under a Creative Commons license that allows sharing, and, for the first time, derivative works, though not commercial use.

However, I have been asked a few times about the text of the poems. Some kind listeners have voiced the wish to read the poems along with the recordings. Those poems are in this archive blog, and you certainly may run a search for each one.
Yesterday I quickly put together (with 18 quick revisions) a .pdf with all the poems, comments, paintings and photographs, and it was 26 pages!

No way I'm going to blog anything that long. Hosting the .pdf at my Google sites site for poetry recordings won't work in the long run, either, due to space considerations.

So I offered it in Jamendo's 'Virtual Shop.' This seemed the best way. I get to offer high quality flac files of all the poems, and the 26 page document containing the text of the poems, and the artwork and photos that accompanied each poem when I first shared them with you.

Of the 5 €, I get 2.6 € before the cost of currency exchange and other bank fees. I might make a buck, if that.

So it's not about making money.

What really sold me on offering the text of the poems this way was that, tiny as it is, Jamendo gets a percentage, 2.4 € (the larger the sum you charge, the smaller their percentage, btw).

Jamendo runs no ads on their site. Their revenue comes through licensing fees, royalty payments, percentages from the virtual stores, etc.

How much of a relief is it to visit a site without ads?! They are the largest free music site in the world. The community of musicians and reviewers is a beautiful one, and I spend countless pleasurable hours there each month. They nearly folded early in the year, but a financial backer appeared at the last moment.

I love Jamendo! ♥

I could offer the text of the poems some other way, certainly, but why ignore the company who enables me and many others to share our music, our recordings?

Only a token, yes, my Collector's Edition of Starfire, but a tiny way to thank them for the beautiful music hosting and sharing site they have created and maintain.

click for larger size if you'd like to 'see' the
page without actually going to the site

Ink Ocean

direct link: Ink Ocean (version 1)

Ink Ocean (9:47min), a poem I've been working on since the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico earlier in the year, a darker, more troubled piece on love. Is it a good ending for my album of love poems? Not sure, though it is a love poem - loving amidst the pollution, with our wounds, whatever they may be. The reading was difficult since I live over a subway, and kept stopping the speaking every time a subway ran through because the muse beckoned the voice at rush hour this morning, O muse! Those sections were clipped out. I've been at my computer working on this recording for 12 hours I guess. May be too close to it to 'hear' it?

It's layered, of course, multiplicities seem what I like to do. You can read the words here if you like (though it looks more like a play of approaches and voices than a poem proper).

Spent days looking for music, too. I already had a small collection of 'possibilites' that I had collected through the year. Nothing was quite right. So I went searching at Jamendo. I found two tracks that each offered something substantial, and did something I had hoped never to have to do - I mixed them! Oh! I should give up these poetry performance pieces, or learn an instrument!

The tracks are a combination of that brilliant musician of experimental, midi, ruby texts that become sonic masterpieces, Alphacore's (Gabriel Garrod) side_project in his album Side Projects, and a new musician for me at Jamendo, Extra (Michael Erickson), and the beautiful track, The Quickest Vessel to a Distant Future, is from his album, Water Every Full Moon.

Three Mugshots:

Should I ever show the workings of my 'mad' mind? Ok, ok. I'm self-taught. From these mugshots you can get some idea why my poetry recordings take so long! Files get recorded and taken from here to there, and then there to here, and back again. Can you hear all those tracks in the final version? Who knows. But, like wearing beautiful lingerie, I know they're there.

Though with this last project - an album of poetry readings with the music of Jamendo musicians - has taken nearly a year, and with 11 tracks, it's only 33 minutes long!!

I may give up poetry recordings, and lingerie too.

Gulf Oil Slick, 2010, 13" x 10", 33cm x 25.5cm, 
mixed media on canvas

From Ocean Words
Where the poem began...

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White, a Butoh-inspired dance by Brenda Clews

A poetry in motion. I played with negatives. It reminds me of ice and snow, of liberation from constraint. Of imaging between being and non-being. Of the mother. Of the sorrow of the mother earth. Of disappearing into and emerging from. Of the continuous cacophony of the dance of life. Of the disjointed, an awkward grace. The film loses some of its quality in the uploaded video: the semi-opague layers appear more like faded images than the transparencies they are. Yet you let go of the white leaf and let it float out to the sea. I wanted to add a poem, and perhaps that's next. The flowers are from photographs I took last year of mandalas of fresh flowers in the street outside an Indian restaurant in honour of a Hindu festival. The increasing presence of the flowers behind the screen of the dance is a reminder of what is ever-present, profundita natura, the profundity of nature at its most beautiful, fragile, transitory, in the flower. I leave you with a screen of flowers, like a prayer.

Hi beautiful friends, Sharing 'White, a Butoh-inspired dance.'.. film clip from late last Summer, and then all last night editing (editing video I'm discovering is like that:-) ...layering... images, sounds, yet not wanting to disturb the vulnerability, perhaps strangeness, of this 'silent film'... Butoh can express the painful and beautiful paradoxes of life in an intimacy that is almost unbearable to watch, I don't know if this film has that, but it's in the intent.

Feedback is always wonderful as I stumble down the path of this art form.

If 'White' opens something out in you, even in resistance, or in a sense of discomfort, then that is the Butoh influence, and then I'll know your reaction is like mine. For I don't know who that woman is, something else takes hold, another energy flows through.

Many thanks for taking the time to look at this. Many thanks for the blessing you are in my life,

hugs, Brenda xo

direct link to the video at YouTube: White, a Butoh-inspired dance.
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