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Topic: George Elliott Clarke

Madmen and Specialists: George Elliott Clarke’s Canticles I (MMXVI)

Ranging over 400 pages, the incumbent Parliamentary Poet Laureate’s Canticles I (MMXVI) is a torrent of erudition. Refreshingly, it also happens to contain much good poetry. Conceived as “a lyric styled epic,” Clarke roams the valley of history’s losers and sheaths dry bones with breath. Calling History (capitalized) a “demonic Bible” in his opening poem “Apologia” Clarke’s work can be best understood as an uninhibited attempt to provincialize the Eurocentricity of our regnant narratives.

Canada’s Parliamentary Poet Laureate sells gold for gold: George Elliott Clarke’s Gold

The next logical choice for George Elliott Clarke’s poetry collections associated with colour (there was Blue, Black, then Red), was Gold. The book brims with the musical and learned force we’ve come to expect while managing to feel like a sunset, casting a glow and shadow over his seminal works. The gold sleeve covering the cover, and covered with the chemical symbol, “Au,” is a physical manifestation of his belief, and opening quote, that, “Beauty…is the sole business of poetry.”

Arc 73: Canada's Up-and-At-You Poetry Magazine

Emerging talents, ones-to-watch, and debuts. You’ll find them all in Arc’s up-and-comers issue, now on newsstands.

Lost and Found Poet #4: Cheng Sait Chia

Cheng Sait Chia: Chinese-Canadian Maritimer Imagist
Rediscovered by George Elliott Clarke.
Cheng Sait Chia, the Singapore-born, Chinese immigrant whose spare, beautiful poetry should have placed her among the great Canadian imagists, alongside her fellow Maritimer John Thompson, published only one book posthumously, and has never been anthologized, not even in collections of work by Chinese-Canadians, East Coast poets, or Canadian women poets. Cheng died of cancer in 1981, at the age of 41, and her work, though infused by her illness with the theme of death, exhibits an exhilarating refusal of luxury, heroic stoicism, and a stern and bracing morbidity.