luminist poems



the luminist poems, by Brenda Clews, a romance, its dazzling and dangerous light, questions the paradoxes of who we are before the text blazes into visionary rapture.

"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." -John F. Walter

Cost: $20.00 CAD, each book is signed

Size: 6" x 8"; 15.24cm x 20.32cm 
Hardcover: 39 pages
Publisher: LyricalMyrical Press
ISBN: 978-1-897275-84-9

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the luminist poems is a small hand-made chapbook produced by Luciano Iacobelli, who owns LyricalMyrical Press. They are hard cover, usually in bright primary colours; the poems are printed on fine paper. Each of his chapbooks is a jewel. With an initial print-run of 30 numbered copies, they are collector's items. I am honoured to be among the poets he has published.

A review of the luminist poems:

“Tell me the eternal form of you, in that burning star.” “We are solar explosions. What else could we be?” These two quotes from The Luminist Poems hint at the romance of the book (it’s a great love story – and I love the way the heroine dresses!) and at the central conflict of light and human experience as metaphors for each other, as primal energies that are subject to a thousand laws of time and place even as those laws are bent around the beating star and the pulsing heart. These are deeply thought-out and felt-through poems, as interconnected as planets of a solar system or the organs of a body, and yet they read with the seductive spontaneity of a diary. There is enormous erudition here, both in terms of science and philosophy (from Plato to Bergson) and of literary tradition (Henry Vaughan to Julia Kristeva), but the author wears her learning with the effort-concealing elegance of a dancer whose lead you trust. Her allusions are always at the service of the poet’s tale and the reader’s pleasure. (I’m reminded of Nabokov’s search for “the passion of science, the precision of poetry”.) Like the passage of light, this book can be experienced as both waves and particles: as irresistible forward movement in an unbroken line and an archipelago of individual thoughts. And what thoughts! Few modern poets are so generous, so companionable, so easy to commit to memory. Few writers are so able to combine turbulence and passion with serenity; and for this reader it’s the equilibrium between pain and peace that makes me feel that my own struggles have been seen from afar, recognized from up close, and given a shape that lets me face them, and, finally, bless them.

--Stephen Hatfield (one of Canada's pre-eminent choral composers)



A 1:33min videopoem using NASA SOHO footage of the sun that I did a few years ago. The poem, 'ravishing light,' is in the luminist poems.

A review by Sharon Goodier:


the luminist poems
Brenda Clews
LyricalMyrical Press 2013

“Destiny is ... the unfolding of the moments in the wholeness of everything that has or will exist.” (P. 5) Clews’ Luminst Poems, her first chapbook, is an un-metaphysical journey into the whorled wonder of a world and a mind that is like “modulated magnetic and thermal fields of ionized plasma.” (p. 6) Clews strives for a mystic’s vision of “the truth beneath illusion, of a pure reality amidst appearances.” (P. 7) Clews rather sees “the bifurcation of opposing tendencies” in sunlight “caught in the long, white curtains...that plummeting, billowing fabric.” (P. 8) Like the curtains, these poems work “through thick folds of language.” (P. 8) They rise, plummet, billow and bifurcate into illusions and their corresponding reality always reaching into the depths of experience.

Postmodern spirituality is organic and grows from the rich, dark soil of sun and sea and earth and heliosphere where “the sun’s singing in fiery fountains of coronal loops” (P. 10) lead us into the ecstatic (P. 11) and we know the “love that swallows you as you breathe it, like fire dust.” (P. 12)

Clews, also an accomplished painter, has an artist’s eye that sees “strands of perceptual DNA locking or unlocking ... particles and waves.” (P. 14) These poems break open the secrets of perception and love. “Why can’t I be within you where thought emerges from drives and motives, little nuclear chain reactions.” (P. 21) She know that “the ways we think of each other create what we are for each other” and wonders “why we can’t see each other.” (P. 23)

The ecstasy is not in going out of oneself to unite with the Ultimate as the ancients assumed. Rather it is in going inward to face the possibility that “perhaps there is nothing at the centre” (P. 6) except for “the never-ending process of witnessing my own life.” (P. 24) This downward spiral or inward labyrinth is not Freud’s narcissism, although that is always a danger. If the centre is to be entered, if it must be empty the Minotaur of me-ism must be slain along the way. Clews wonders “What if recording my experiences causes the outcome?” (P. 24) Quantum science tells us that every object affects all other objects around it and even far away. Therefore, every act affects the outcome of that act. This is karma.

Yet, Clews knows that “what they haven’t figured out is the flow of cohesive energy between us all. How we determine each other as we configure our perceptions and expectations of each other.” (P. 15) Quantum has given us a solid basis for such observations. Wolfgang Pauli, who was in analysis with Carl Jung at the time, received the Nobel Prize for his contribution. Prior to this, these questions drove writers to drink and Nietzsche to suicide. What spares us is the contemplation of the organic reality of the everyday. “And in the middle of the meditation I arose silently chanting solar sound and began washing dishes.

Zen teaches: before Satori, chop wood, carry water; after Satori, chop wood, carry water. This, too, is Karma.