Happy New Year's!

Love y'all! Love ON!

 Whether you're with family, friends, lovers, strangers, or alone (I've done them all) - and every New Year's is beautiful. Wishing you reflection and anticipation, reappraisal and accomplishment in the coming year. With a heap o' inspiration and fruition!




It was a year of...

It was a year of tender beauties and fragile fires of becoming. Of being ravaged by torn things, by facing duplicity and seeing clearly the multiplicities of truth. It was a year of floods and sinkholes. Of shows and learning to withstand jealousy and pettiness without caving. I hung my work in public twice, a tremendous amount of work and perhaps a fearful act. I learnt to brace myself against those who trivialize others, their work, their lives. I didn't hide. I got a used clip-on mic and start dance performing during poetry events where I was featured. I masqued myself so that I could reveal myself. It was a year where I found myself dealing with what is inessential by relegating it to the margins. I distanced myself from insincerity and understood more preciously those who are clear with the truth of loving impartially and generously. I made my way gingerly through seething places of anger, sadness, remorse, pity, retribution and survived. I was of help to those I love. It was a year when I learned to hold fast to my values and not waver. I think it was a break-out year. Inner strength manifested. There were milestones. LyricalMyrical Press published my chapbook, ‘the luminist poems,’ and I signed a contract with Guernica Editions for a full-length book of poetry, ‘Tidal Fury,’ which was gratifying after the years of writing and re-writing as I honed my craft and vision. As I became less of a recluse and more of a public poet and artist, I found a voice I didn’t know I had. It was a watershed year, tumultuous, just when I thought I landed it all broke apart and then I landed somewhere else and it was good. I remain in awe of existence, the way our lives manifest through the years, our interconnections with each other, the way we share who we are through what we give of our knowledge and talents and how we all grow through this process, of the creativity of our very being. May 2014 be not a meek but a strong year for each of us.


The Butter Trick

Too cute not to share. My cat, Aria, 1½, sure loves her doggy, Keesha, 14½. Keesha is so gentle with her little cat, letting her sleep on her 'n all.

Keesha has lived with a number of cats in her 14 years and none of them were friendly.  Little Aria, who came from Willie Anicic out near Niagara Falls, was thought to be half Siamese and half tabby but who looks exactly like an Egyptian Abyssinian, doesn't she. She is all of 6 lbs fully grown. I wanted Keesha to have a feline pal, and so I worked on 'their relationship.' Aria hissed/spit at her doggy the first week or so, as all the cats do. But, instead of allowing their natural distrust of each other to determine their relationship, I used the butter trick.

What is the butter trick? A lady in a store told me that a friend of hers had heard about the butter trick - she covered her kitten in butter and her dog licked it off and they were sleeping together within weeks.

With Aria's hissing and Keesha's barking back at her, it was a bit scary putting butter on the little 2½ month-old kitten and holding her for the dog to lick for sure! I only put a small pat of butter on her side, and held her in my lap while I sat cross-legged on the floor. Keesha was called over and I pointed to the butter. She delightedly licked it off the tiny kitten who, when I let her go, ran off as quick as she could to a high perch to wash herself with dignity.

After another session or so of the 'butter trick,' when Keesha and I came home from a walk, our wee kitten was waiting on the stairs for us. She rubbed herself under her dog, and against her dog, purring loudly. I was flabbergasted. It was amazing to see after all the hissing and growling and scratching she has endured from our other cats over the years.

Here is a little cell phone video of Aria as a young kitten playing with an origami ball. Keesha wants to play with her, but doesn't know how to without hurting her (listen, I know my dog - not all dogs would be like this, but my old Springer Spaniel has a wonderful disposition).

June 15, 2012 - two days after Willie dropped her off. She'd be about 9 or 10 weeks old in this family video.

A month or so ago. My kids are tired of all the pics and videos of these two, but I never tire of being amazed at how close they are. Unfortunately, my doggy has an inner ear problem, behind the eardrum. She can't be operated on due to her age - vet says she wouldn't survive the anaesthetic - and because the area is too close to the brain. I've spent two grand on treatment for her ear, and at this point, I am keeping it as clean as possible, medicated drops, flushing with saline, and she is on gravol, which helps with the motion sickness and is enabling her to eat more easily again. She still energetically drags me through the streets on our walks, is loving and happy, so she's doing alright, the sweet old lady.


Lady of Mystery

Lady of Mystery 
- Tara Clews - 

photos by Brenda Clews from our photo shoot on Christmas Eve 2013


Merry Gift-Giving and Day of Loving

Well, hey, Merry Gift-Giving and Day of Loving, to others, to yourself. Feast, be joyful, contented. Never mind the other stuff. Overload on good food, good company, good vibes. Get nice and charged up. Then glow, ok. Don't matter if you're with warm, loving family, hyper-intense dysfunctional family, friends or alone. Get merry, 'k. And remember, Poets Rock!!! xoxo

(photo courtesy of Tara Clews- who's back home in a warm apartment now! Ice Storms Cometh... and Ice Storms Goeth.)

Christmas Eve 2013

Wishing You A Beautiful Solstice

Best Wishes for your joy, comfort, safety and success are all year long, and yet this is the time of year when we are full of the light of our loving of each other and every wish sets off more sparks in everyone's lives... this gorgeous Solstice card was sent to me by +laurie corzett overflowing with an abundance of transformational wishes and so I am setting you alight with it too. xoxoxoxo


Poempaintings @ Urban Gallery for the Winter!

Just sent some minor edits through to Urban Gallery, where my next show will be, from, get this, January 9th - March 1st!

The Opening will be on January 9th, from 5-8:00 PM (due to liquor laws, there has to be an rsvp list (send via email to Urban Gallery).

I'll be in attendance/artist at work on three Saturdays from 2-4 PM, Jan 18, Feb 1, Feb 15.

I've organized two 'poetry salon' events for January (both will get Fb event pages):

-Winter Snow Ball, an evening of Queer Poetry/Music/Performance, hosted by Philip Cairns, 7-9 PM.
-A Performance Poetry Evening, featuring Luciano Iacobelli and Brenda Clews, 7-9 PM.

Poetry Salons for Feb will be announced - hoping Nik Beat will do a poetry and music salon,  A Poetry Dance; and that Banoo Zan will offer a poetry night of features and open mic too.

Image is a composite I made from their website,


Christmas/Hanukkah Edition of Renaissance Revival Poetry Workshop

Our Renaissance Revival poetry workshop was lovely last night! My apartment just fit 10 people, in a circle, it was cosy but nice. The set up looked like a Poets Anonymous meeting! Everyone brought food, simple nibbleys to a fantastic spinach and feta cheese phyllo pastry roll (thanks Margaret!) and wine. Some people just read (incl me - rough notes from my poetry journal) and others brought a poem to workshop (with 10 copies). With Allan Briesmaster, Luciano Iacobelli and Norman Cristofoli there, all publishers and fantastic editors, those who workshopped received excellent feedback. I had intended to take some photos, but 2 hours before the workshop all the power in the bedrooms in the back of my apartment went out, and the Super came and then a man from Maintenance and apparently an electrician has to come today to replace the circuit breaker itself. It all kind of threw me and hunting for camera and tripod in the dark didn't happen. The room where we put the coats was candle-lit. Somehow the apartment itself, half lit and half-unlit, became a poem for what was a very fine evening indeed. Many thanks to those who came and shared their writing!

The Renaissance Revival poetry workshop is Norman Bethune Allan's poetry event - held on the 3rd Monday of every month at CSI , 720 Bathurst St (a block south of Bathurst Subway) in Toronto in the cafe - at 7pm - you have to knock on the window to get someone to let you in if you arrive past 7pm. If you're interested in joining this on-going poetry workshop, send him an email via his website and he'll put you on the email list.

The rest of this blog post is going to be about one of my current projects, which I shared with the group last night, and received some good feedback from on suggestions for the writing itself.

Busy cleaning, arranging furniture to try to increase the amount of space for the group, preparing some cheese and crackers and my emergency partial power failure took up all of the day, and I sort of panicked at what to workshop or read. I printed out a few things. Then decided to be brave and read something truly in-process.

From my poetry journal, where all rough drafts are first written in pencil, I read some rough notes towards a soundtrack for clips of my recent figure sculpture (which was always intended for video treatment, right from the start). A few nights ago, when the blizzard in Toronto subsided a little, I got out my video camera to take a clip, but the battery was dead. So I used my Canon camera - fine, except the video function needs manual focus and that's an eyesight problem since I need different prescriptions for different distances. Anyway, taking everything outside, using a lazy susan (that I had hunted through Chinatown to find for this very purpose), I took a few clips and then composed a tiny test run just to see. Later I searched through my GarageBand files to find a snippet of poetry to use - this little fragment from practice sessions of poems I read at the launch of my poetry chapbook in June, the luminist poems - and not what I am currently working on for this figure sculpture.

The actual poem has more to do with clay and art than the poem fragment in the voiceover here... but what I used as a test kind of works, doesn't it. The accompaniment is the sound of the lazy susan turning slowed down to maybe 83%. Spooky huh! I did 'freeze frame' the last frame but then cut it way back & wish I hadn't and wish I also had zoomed in on the face at the end of this clip. Hindsight is always good sight, huh.

Watching the clips, I also realized that the base needs to be black. So I have put black cloth over it for the video clips that will hopefully make their way into the finished videopoem. Also, I have many photos of the sculpture in process, and they may find their way into the piece too.


Sketches of Featured Poets @ The Art Bar

Three featured poets at The Art Bar last night... Jan Conn, Sue Reynolds and Allan Briesmaster. Don't laugh. It's dark, and you have to work fast. If you get a likeness, it's lucky. Norman Allen (who is a friend and whose work I like) draws, and so do I. He posts on their Facebook as often as he likes, but I've declined due to... well, someone on the committee said they were trying to 'declutter' the Art Bar wall and could I post no more than maybe one drawing a month. Since they are all drawings of poets done while they are reading at the Art Bar of course I was offended and deleted my drawings from their page el pronto. My analyst wants me to go to the whole committee about the situation but so far I haven't cared enough. Most of them know nothing about how my work was banished by a rogue committee member and would likely be surprised since when they've hosted and seen my drawings they say they like them. I'm also wondering if the fact that another artist is allowed to post as often as he likes is a form of favouritism or horrors, sexism. When I go to the Art Bar event, which is far less often than before (when I felt welcome), I draw anyway and post on my own Facebook page and here in my blog. 'Draw, draw, draw...' is an artist's motto. :~)


Rock on Toxodon: sketching @ the Museum

Sketching at the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) on Nov 24th with the group, Sketching Around the City. Was an interesting sketching trip. Thanks Valerie Animus Léo for organizing it! This is a Toxodon platensis, from Argentina, 1.5 million years old, actually a hoofed mammal that most resembles a rhinoceros.

We all went our separate directions and met up afterwards in the lobby with our drawings. Photo by Valerie Animus Léo, who organises this event. You can see me peering at the sketches, my Toxodon amongst the others.

Here is the 'dinosaur' I was sketching at the museum. My sketch in the bottom left corner is a bit dark in this iPhone photo, but you can see the skeleton of beast I was drawing (not real bone, but simulated, as it turns out). As I found out when I'd finished, he's actually a Toxodon platensis, from Argentina, 1.5 million years old, and not a fabulous dinosaur of the reptile family but a hoofed mammal that most resembles a rhinoceros. Rock on Toxodon!

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