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Ink Ocean, a reading at HOWL@QSpace

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Published on Nov 30, 2012

On Nov 25, 2012, I performed my prose poem 'Ink Ocean,' on the Gulf Oil Spill, as one of the featured poets at Nik Beat's HOWL@QSpace in Toronto.

In lieu of trying to say something about this poem and a performance of it, I share notes my dear friend John Walter (poet, playwright, novelist, teacher, intellectual, polymath) wrote while watching the video:

"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.
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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. 
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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.
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"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.
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Your theatricality is impressive. Your voice is a skillful instrument. You demonstrate your ire and sadness and yet do not succumb to it. 
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I like the way you undulate, 'anchored in the swell." The panoply of images you present is stark, and yet vast. 
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Great finish. So gladdening to see you get such enthusiastic applause.

(Dec 3, 2012)

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With thanks to Nik Beat, Q Space and Luciano Iacobelli. It was a great evening.

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