Clarke: “I wanted to have fun with this idea that this future president is already thinking about this conflict – linguistic, economic and political – and reading the history of the Haitian revolution to have an understanding of how radical it actually was that these slaves become ex-slaves, threw out their French masters, and established a black republic — the first black republic. And Haiti has paid the price for its insurrection ever since. Even today. Umpteen millions of livres, Haiti had to agree to pay France. Part of my project in this poem was simply to recover this history, and make it more available.”
The 4th Poet Laureate of Toronto (2012-15) and the 7th Parliamentary [National] Poet Laureate (2016-17), George Elliott Clarke is an Africadian (African-Nova Scotian). A multiply prized poet, his 15th work is Gold (Gaspereau, 2016). Now teaching African-Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto, Clarke has taught at Duke, McGill, the University of British Columbia, and Harvard. He holds eight honorary doctorates, plus appointments to the Order of Nova Scotia and the Order of Canada. His recognitions include the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Fellows Prize, the Governor-General’s Award for Poetry, and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award.