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A little telephone message from John F. Walter on 'the luminist poems'



John left this message last February after he had read the manuscript and before he sent a small blurb. I've clearly edited this little clip. At the end I think he's saying something about 'the personal,' that despite the science and metaphysics these prose poems are lyrical and intimate.

What he ultimately sent, and which is in the book: 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.’

I've dedicated the book to him, along with a number of other beloved and inspiring people:

"for John Walter, his light, inspiring and guiding,
and for Luigi Bianchi, a ‘Professor of light,’ and for
Jeff, who re-appeared when I was writing these
poems and became a part of them, and, always, for
my two children, Adrian and Kyra, their resilience
and support, and for Luciano Iacobelli, with thanks"

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 brendaclews.com
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1st washes of an untitled painting



You wouldn't think that so many brushes would be necessary to such a simple painting, huh?! Crazy how many get used. I intend to write part of a poem into this painting, so it's not finished. Also, this is all washes, and yet, and yet... it kind of works. What I don't want is to overwork it. 'Untitled,' 2nd wash, 24" x 30", oils on stretched canvas (daylight shot, colours good).

Poem fragment (from my book, still a manuscript with an excellent publisher currently considering it):


Do we fall into what dissembles us?
A whirlpool, its swirling torpor,
undressing us,
naked against the onrush.

Is it that we are always approaching what we can never give ourselves to?





2nd wash, 24" x 30", oils on stretched canvas (nighttime shot, not so good for whiteness or colour)


untitled, 1st wash, 24" x 30", oil on stretched canvas (taken in shade of sun, better colour)

The photos are not very good. The canvas where there isn't paint is white. But these are simply a tracking.

Beginning this piece was a challenge. The kitten was sleeping. I chanced putting a canvas down and doing a quick paint sketch. Then the dog walked right on it! Impossible!

I know what I'd like to do, and do hope it works out.

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 brendaclews.com
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Picking Cigarette Butts

A man and a woman are sweeping the grass in the park. He with a broom; she with a whisk broom and dustpan. They are slowly filling a garbage bag. Who are they? Kindly, concerned neighbours? On a Sunday? But, why sweep the grass?

Following my meandering dog, I make my way over to say hi, and to joking ask, after remarking that the weather today is wonderful after that snow squall and heavy north wind of yesterday, "Why are you sweeping the grass?"

She says, squatting, filling her dust pan, "Cigarette butts."

"My goodness," I say, looking around. "The grass is filled with butts." And then a speel, "I hate how people throw live butts. My dog has almost stepped on lit cigarettes a few times, I really have to watch. And my neighbours threw a lit butt a few summers ago over the fence into dried sticks and leaves - we were in a drought." (I didn't say that that day I yelled back over the fence, 'Please put your butts out first - that hit dried sticks here, and good thing I was here to put it out for you.' And that the people in that backyard behind the very high very enclosed fence didn't say a word but went inside immediately.)

"Community work," she says. "We have to do so many hours cleaning cigarette butts in all the parks. There's people doing this all over the city."

"Wow. Well, it's healthy and good, and hope you're not too sore tomorrow!" (She is squat walking sweeping close to the ground.)

"Me too! Thanks." "Enjoy the rest of the day!" "You too."

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 brendaclews.com
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Poets Series: Brandon Pitts @ Lizzie Violet's Cabaret Noir

Beginning to think that plain pencil works best for these short sketches of poets that I find myself doing - I now take art supplies since even though I think I'd like to sit and enjoy the readings with a glass of wine, I always end up grabbing a pencil or pen because something interesting happens, a costumed reader, or the challenge of drawing a performing poet like Brandon Pitts... This is the 3rd time I've tried to draw him... and I wasn't going to. I only had my writing Moleskine notebook with me, determined to either write or simply listen. Ha! Let's start with that shape of head and shoulder (which I didn't get - after I'd finished his face and came back to the particular slope of suited shoulder, he'd finished and had sat down). He has a very distinctive face, especially his dark eyes, and yet his features are, well, he is good looking, nothing too accentuated that would make it easier to offer enough of a 'recognizable' visual notation for someone to say, 'Yeah, that's Brandon.' I never take reference photos, btw. Never. What you see is what you get, and if I tinker later, it's from memory. Anyhow... sharing Sunday night's sketch. Brandon Pitts at Lizzie Violet's Cabaret Noir at Q Space in Toronto on 14 Apr 2013. 6" x 7", graphite, Moleskine notebook.



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 brendaclews.com
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Poets Series: Two Musicians at Portobello



Two Musicians at Linda Stitt's poetry and music afternoon at Portobello Restaurant in Toronto on April 13, 2013. 8.5" x 11", graphite and conte on 130% archival art paper.

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 brendaclews.com
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An Ice-Storm in April

Pellets of snow ice fall on the roof tiles sticking to them in gullies, bands, slats. The tiles, buckled, laying over each other for the run-off. Wet, rough, sandpapery.

There are no legions of souls. Only empty air.

The rough peck of ice falling from the sky.

___

 brendaclews.com
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Poets Series: Rishma Dunlop @ The Art Bar



Rishma Dunlop, a poetry reading sketch at the Art Bar at Q Space on April 2, 2013. 4" x 6", Aquarelle graphite on 130lb archival art paper. This drawing was done with a water-soluble 6B pencil, and so can be wetted and then it will change, and may lose the likeness here, so I thought to post the original sketch before seeing what a wet paintbrush produces.

(Unfortunately, once again, I forgot my 'distance/close-up' glasses, and so she was fuzzy in the distance and likely the likeness is too. Lol.)

Rishma was on my thesis committee for a thesis I didn't finish at York U about a decade ago. She's a fabulous poet, essayist, literary editor and teacher. I bought her book, 'Lover Through Departure,' and look forward to reading the poems. It was wonderful to see her again.


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 brendaclews.com
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Poets Series: Joani Paige @ HOWL


Joani Paige at Nik Beat's HOWL at Q Space on March 24, 2013. A little sketch that I turned into an ink painting. 8.5" x 11", graphite, India and acrylic permanent inks on 130lb archival art paper.

(Was trying to recall how I did my ink paintings last year...). Original pencil sketch here, and a video of Joani singing that I did in 2011.
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 brendaclews.com
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Poets Series: Gabrielle at HOWL



Charcoal sketch of Gabrielle B. [it is nigh impossible to find images of her on the NET, and she's a published author, and so I think that is a deliberate choice, and therefore naming her is not, I suspect, apropos] at Nik Beat's HOWL at Q Space on March 24th, 2013. To the left, the untouched original sketch done there, and, to the right, finished in various colours of conte. I had to rely entirely on memory for the colour, which perhaps I oughtn't to have done since to my eye the finished drawing loses the spontaneity of the sketch, but I wanted to attempt the rich skin tones. 8.5" x 11", 130lb archival art paper.

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 brendaclews.com
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The Poet Who Is Either Silenced Or Speaking Fire


It is the kinda day to pick up your cross and bear it.

I'm not saying I'm wishing you a Good Friday, exactly. Actually this drawing was drawn a month ago and I just finished it tonight and took a photograph under daylight bulbs.

'The Poet Who Is Either Silenced Or Speaking Fire,' 2013, Brenda Clews, 8.5" x 11", mixed media on 130lb archival paper.

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 brendaclews.com
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