'Dance of the Solar Wind' (3min) video poem

direct link: Dance of the Solar Wind

'Dance of the Solar Wind,' a poem from my forthcoming chapbook, "the luminist poems."'

for my daughter

who liked this video, and asked it remain without filters, untouched

'the luminist poems' will be published by LyricalMyrical Press on June 13, 2013.Two fantastic poets will also launch their LyricalMyrical chapbooks that night: 'The Cabin' by Lisa Young, and 'Scarborough Songs' by Pat Connors. Please come to the launch of our chapbooks if you are in or near Toronto. Q Space, 382 College St., Toronto. 7:30pm - 10pm. Refreshments and desserts available at Q Space.

Yesterday I put in a 15 hour day trying to save the video with the three of us reading poems from our forthcoming chapbooks. I began copying different clips out and trying to save them as .mov files in the hopes that I could patch it back together. The clip in the vid above was weird, it was there, in a 'project file' but when I went back to the main Projects Library it disappeared completely. The "undo" button worked. So I decided to save it, added bits, cover, our 3 book covers, etc. and uploaded to YT. I've captioned in the launch.

Tomorrow I am going to do my damnest to retrieve the 7 min video of all of us - Lisa and Patrick both look great, and they each read two poems in the video - and get it uploaded to YouTube, even if I have to start from scratch. This has never happened before. I even moved all the files to another ext HDD, to no avail. The video plays fine in Final Cut, just won't save out to an upload-able version. It should have been ready to go early yesterday morning. I'm doing what I can.


Notes by John Walter on video of 'Ink Ocean' poetry performance

direct link:

Honoured, I share notes my dear friend John Walter (poet, playwright, novelist, teacher, intellectual, polymath) wrote while watching me perform Ink Ocean (as recorded in this video clip):

"Where plumes drag through the ocean's gloom" "Salt water on fire!" This poem is a wakeup call if I've ever heard one.  "Burning despair of illusion"--waw. Your response to the black ocean with words is powerful and moves from despair to love, Brenda. Your performance of Ink Ocean is powerful and rhetorically dramatic. It was so great to see you in front of a live audience.

You get across the massive destruction, the complete wiping out of the entire environment, with the voice of a jeremiad poet who does not let herself lose herself in woe.

I like the image of being 'fishermen of words' , the way you blend the ocean of ink and the blackened ocean, contaminated by the oil spill.

"Let cold salt water wash our eyes until we swim in vision." So many great lines in this poem. I felt I was right there, in front of you, watching you perform.

Your theatricality is impressive. Your voice is a skillful instrument. You demonstrate your ire and sadness and yet do not succumb to it.

I like the way you undulate, 'anchored in the swell." The panoply of images you present is stark, and yet vast.

Great finish. So gladdening to see you get such enthusiastic applause.

(Dec 3, 2012)


Wear White Paint for the Moon -reading at CENtRAL

direct link: Wear White Paint for the Moon (*this video is subtitled* -after you hit play, hover your mouse over the CC in the playbar, when it turns red, the subtitle file is loaded and you can read along with the prosepoem if you wish- red is on; black is off)

This reading of my prosepoem, Wear White Paint for the Moon, took place at the CENtRAL last night, a pub in Mirvish Village in Toronto, and while I wasn't particularly happy with it, I did have enormous fun making the video, and quite like it now.

With tripod on camera, the angle was unchangeable. I layered multiple tracks of the same clip with lots of filters and then pulled in some footage I had shot of the full moon last August. The moon is quite bouncy in parts, and yet matches the words in those parts, which I found delightfully synchronous.

The background of moon and clouds was my wild imagination at home when I was editing the video. While it would have been wonderful to encase the poets that night in a stage set of lunar light and wispy cloud moon veils, alas, no, we stood on a small stage with a screen behind us. The scenery is a product of the magic of film editing.

I spent hours making detailed by-the-second subtitles for this video so you can read the words while you listen, if you like, and have Google translate into another language if that is better for you.

Background music - 'Satellite Two,' by Professor Kliq, from his album on Jamendo, "Athene's Theory of Everything: The Original Soundtrack."

Wear White Paint for the Moon is a poem that represents jump starting a drained engine. This poem was originally written in response to a prompt at the now defunct Big Tent Poetry. One of the hardest pieces I've ever written due to a writer's block. So I used a technique. While walking on dark streets staring at the moon, I spoke into the 'voice memo' on my iPhone about the moon and later transcribed it. From that jumble, I wrote the poem (Yeats wrote all of his poems this way -prose first, from which he crafted his brilliant poems). You can read the original prose passage and responses by the Big Tent community of poets (who I miss) here: The Blocked Poet Strips Herself. Further, getting myself to the venue on Saturday night to read was very difficult, and I have to admit, I was into my 2nd large 'Creemore ale on tap' by the time I got up to read. :giggles:

Further note on the subtitles: Once I learned how to make a subtitle file, no matter how time-consuming, I promised I would do this for all my future videopoems. It's not just the languages (Google offers translation into 25 languages), but I also have received complaint that watching a video with a voiceover of poetry, which is condensed, rarified language, packed with meaning in sparse phrases, is too difficult without the text. This way, the viewer has a choice to watch with, or without. It's the perfect solution!

If the subtitle file is not working, please let me know. If you don't like it, hover your mouse over the CC in the playbar until the CC turns black (red is on; black is off), and then the text is gone. Thanks!

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Videopoem: The Wall

Something appropriate for this storm-filled season.

direct link: The Wall (video, words, voice, music by Brenda Clews, 2010).

It cannot be cracked, splintered, knocked down, for I've tried all this and more; it can only be burnt. Like karma, though it is not like karma because there is no cause and effect. No lesson. Rather, irrational, what we can never fully know. It sounds like glass, but it's not. There isn't anything it's like except for an impenetrable, invisible wall. There is no reason for this, none at all. Kafka's trial.

I typed this text into the box at the P22 Music Text Composition Generator:

the wall of resistance the impenetrable wall the wall that is invisible that is everywhere around me the wall of permanence try to imagine no wall I cannot I have lived behind this invisible wall I have flung boiling water at it I have attacked it with hammers I have attempted to pierce it with the lasers of my consciousness the wall stands tall higher than I can climb deeper than I can fall the wall is real the wall is karma the wall is what I cannot surmount I can touch the world

That's not all of the words, but it still made for a midi track longer than the recording. I did a lot of things to the midi track to make that background, which came out the way I had hoped in the end.

I meditate regularly and often do yoga sets. Especially I do this when I am working through issues. During one of my sessions last week the metaphor of the wall arose, and while resting after the yoga set I picked up my iPhone and began speaking, intending to write a prose poem from my voice notes. I left the recording as is, and added the background of sounds and instruments. My speaking of the words is not a performance but an embodiment of the meaning. Then I began to work with recent footage of a lightning storm I had shot. Initially, when looking at the rushes, I was perturbed that I hadn't removed the mesh screen. Yet the footage is perfect for this video. The subconscious is all of a processing, mobile, energy of constantly equilibrating unity, and what we are voicing here is what we are filming there. Our lives are always moving beyond their boundaries as we push into deeper processes of who we are, alone and together.

When I say karma, it's not that I fully believe in it either. But where there is no cause that can be discerned, it's like Fate, or Karma. And, really, you musn't try to throw karma away, or slip out of it, these don't work. Face it, and burn it. That's what you do with karma - and actually I am doing a very difficult meditation that will help with this process - you purify the essence of yourself. Fire is the most common metaphor for this - and what better than high voltage lightning. That's the set of metaphors I am working with.

But, also, surrender. Surrendering is very hard, and crucial, no other way. Surrender to your walls, the strange and irrational limitations on your life. Only then can you see them and perhaps understand why. Choice didn't get you here. It's something else, Fate, the Wheel of Fortune, the nature of life itself. How you handle it is where you have choice.

Thank goodness!

I'm not at the place where I believe all our trials and challenges are good for us - are the devastations of earthquakes and hurricanes good for us? But we do have to surrender to events however they are, mishaps or disasters, if we are to make it through with any semblance of sanity. To surrender to what is. And, there, be.

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danser la lune

direct link: danser la lune

This little clip was, oh, enticing. It was among other footage I shot of the August full moon, and I couldn't resist a little video.

The story is mine, from a novella I wrote in 2008 (my only hot novella -everyone should write one). The characters in this scene are Moedello and Orsola.

Music by Arnold Wohler, 'Larghetto espressivo' from his album, "Quintett für Flöte, Geige, Gitarre, Klavier und Cello in 5 Sätzen."

The Rumi lines shown at the beginning are from his poem, The Privileged Lovers (source? whose translation? unable to find, you know the NET).

I recorded this quite a few times over an evening and the next morning, and edited the passage a little in that process. I ended up going with the very first reading, wouldn't you know, how it is sometimes, so I don't have the exact version I read.

from my novella, Moedello:

She seemed not to particularly notice him. She smiled brightly when he passed by and said, "How're you today, my good man?" The pleasantries she offered were the same she offered to everyone she encountered on her jaunts through the city where she stopped at many houses to help with chores, or simply visit.

That she did not appear to hold him in a special place in her heart tore at him in his secret hours.

He felt awkward near her youthful beauty. She was like Graeco-Roman statuary, her proportions perfect, her beauty gracious and uplifting.

She shone.

She has charisma, he thought. I'm simply one of the smitten.

When she walked through the city, her hips swayed from side to side like a temptress. Her movement had rhythm, a natural grace. She was intoxicating to watch. When she spoke her voice was like sunbeams, or wind chimes dancing, the tenor and tone rich and seductive.

He could not get her off his mind. He was obsessed with her, and thought of her every spare moment. At night he imagined lying with her whispering intimacies to each other and making love until dawn. Every night he fell asleep dreaming of being entwined in union. In these visions he was the happiest man on the earth with the sexy saint, Orsola.

As he grew increasingly lovesick, an illness crept over him. A high fever developed; he became delirious. When his dinner was delivered to him, the woman who brought it saw Mœdello, who lay silently in his bed, was ill. Teas of various steeped herbs were prepared for him and brought to his bedside. Cloths dipped in cool water were laid over his heated brow.

Those caring for him in rotation through the day and evening were tired and Orsola was asked to watch over him for the rest of the night.

While he lay in a stupor dreaming of her, Orsola sat beside him in the dark room.

In the small room, the chair on which she sat jutted against the bed so her knees touched him as he dipped in and out of feverish delirium.

He called, 'Orsola...' in his fever not knowing he spoke her name out loud. And as in his dreams, she answered, 'I'm here, it's alright, I'll look after you through the night. Your fever will break soon, I know it will.'

He thought he was dreaming, truly. He reached out to where the voice, her voice, was and finding her knees, startled, he opened his eyes and tried to see in the dark.

She put her hand lightly on his on her knees, and said, 'Mœdello, rest, I'm watching over you...'

Mœdello lay still for what seemed forever and then he slowly began to move his hand between her legs, his heart beating with his boldness. He groaned slightly and she moved to lay a cool cloth on his brow and he kept slowly sliding his hand under her skirt, up her soft inner thighs.

Orsola did not stop him. Nor did she acknowledge that his fingers were slowly moving towards her most intimate grotto.


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'‎danser la lune' coming soon

‎danser la lune, yes, oh it's fun... a wee bit o' Rumi, a story that you'll enjoy, a crazy moon. Laughing! Uploading video now. Late walking the dog.

Some stills - the August moon, the yellow flower moon (Osage), shot with my Canon Vixia S100.

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White Petal

direct link: White Petal

Experimenting... always learning! Trying this and that with the footage. Having fun, and it shows in the humour of the piece.

I wanted to do a voiceover, a narration — thinking a Wong Kar Wai style. You will see there are sections to this visual poem. Doubles, single, shifts in colour and style as the yoga dance continues.

Here are a few scribbles, that perhaps will or won't work:

I live in a city in a small apartment. Fabric covers a doorway and shelves. I'd like to see myself dance before it is too late.

Faded opulence. Over-the-edge-of. Yet floral abundance. The flowers are the stars—beauty, that edge of fading.

Doubles. Who are we? Repetitions of ourselves. Our memories create us in our fragmentary identities. I fold into who I was or who I will become. Uncertainty is confusing. People flee from my uncertainty.

White Petal

Look into a dissolving mirror
bones, skin, neurons

the self-image.

This poem is not neat as intact
petal veins, mysterious as garden

The poem writes,
rises from ruminations, dried
flowers on my spine
bursting seeds.

Danced, videoed, edited by Brenda Clews; background music by Gabrielle Roth and the Mirrors, from an old favourite, Initiation: ​​

Wishing you a beautiful Summer Solstice

direct YouTube link: "Green Goddess" Masque

Wishing you a lovely day as spring turns into summer! Midsummer Night's Eve, or Summer Solstice is a magical time!

For those of you who might like to read a longer post on the process behind making this video poem: "Green Goddess" Masque.


Costume for Tangled Garden

Composing a simple costume, sewed some lace,
put on the green goddess masque, for a little video
of dance to layer into my long video poem, Tangled Garden.

This test iPhone photo shows the woman  in something pinned
and strapless. I will likely layer over a white bodysuit for the little
bit a movement I may add here and there to the video.

(with thanks to Bent Lorentzen for the suggestion to add dance
to the video)

I quite like the photo I created this evening, though.

C'mon, the woman is texting.... who? Isn't this just such
a 'now' photo? The mirrored self snapped by cell phone.
Something ... I like about this little composition. A surreality.

Videopoem (1:56min): Solstician Rain

Direct link to YouTube video: Solstician Rain

The light was beautiful, but ripe, fruity, dense, as if walking through a film in technicolour. Light swimming to us through veils of vapour high up, some particles clear, others refracted. Colour magnified. Air, rich. The streets a vision under a distant roar of stratospheric surf. Then it poured.

The woman I passed saw the light, its ominous hush, picked up an umbrella on her way out. I didn't.

We, my dog and I, stood under a tree cover while thunder broke its drums.

We weren't slicked and soaked by the time we reached home, only dampened with large drops: she, smelling of happy wet dog; me with my khaki green long soft Indian cotton skirt, spotted, juiced.


'Solstician Rain' is a description of my walk yesterday evening. An hour or so after getting caught in the rain, I went out and recorded the video. It was dark by then but with various filters I was able to achieve something resembling the feel of the atmosphere earlier. Holding a microphone out of the window, I recorded the rain and thunder. Working in Final Cut Express, I layered video and audio tracks to form this videopoem. I love the rich fertility of this time of year.

The music under the thunder is by AlFa. It's approximately the first two minutes of an eighteen minute piece, 'Poème de la forêt,' from their album, Nuance Khaki, Fiber Lily, which carries a Creative Commons license and may be found here:

Here is a screen capture of this video in Final Cut Express.
Click for a larger size.
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