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category: Poetry
published: Oct 2020
ISBN:9781771835480
publisher: Guernica Editions

Canticles II

MMXX

by George Elliott Clarke

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canadian, african american
0 of 5
0 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $29.95
edition:Paperback
also available: Paperback
category: Poetry
published: Oct 2020
ISBN:9781771835480
publisher: Guernica Editions
Description

Canticles is a lyric-styled epic. Clarke's visions of canonical and apocryphal scriptures are black in ink, but lightning in illumination. Testament II issues re-readings, revisions, rewrites of scriptures crucial to the emergent (Anglophone) African Diaspora in the Americas. Canticles II (MMXIX) and Canticles II (MMXX) follow Testament I (also issued in two parts) whose subject is History, principally, of slavery and imperialism and liberation and independence. Canticles II is properly irreverent where necessary, but never blasphemous. It is scripture become what it always is, really, anyway: Poetry.

About the Author

George Elliott Clarke’s books include George & Rue, winner of the Dartmouth Book Award for Fiction and longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; Execution Poems, winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry; and Whylah Falls, winner of the Archibald Lampman Award for poetry and chosen for CBC’s inaugural Canada Reads competition. In 2008, he was appointed to the Order of Canada at the rank of Officer. He was recently the Poet Laureate of Toronto, from 2012 to 2015, and currently teaches at the University of Toronto.

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Editorial Reviews

If you want to read poems that just about sing themselves free of the page, read George Elliott Clarke. His ear is tuned to the forms and frequencies of history; the sound and syntax of humanity. No other North American poet writes with his majestic euphony.

— Terrance Hayes, author of Lighthead, winner of the 2010 National Book Award

Canticles is George Elliott Clarke’s most textured work to date. Like Virgil guiding Dante, Clarke guides us deep into the dark echo chamber of history where he remixes an epic catalogue of multicultural voices from Hannibal to Harriet “Moses” Tubman. Weaving these voices together, like bards of yesteryear churning raw material into epic song, Clarke plays the role of a chameleon poet inking a brutal lyricism onto the page. These canticles abound with polyphony: Clarke echoes slave and imperialist debates that stretch back to Cleopatra, provides new voice to Marie-Josèphe Angélique and Phillis Wheatley, and revises and reworks history with the powers of a firebrand poet in full control of his craft. As spirited and incendiary as Ezra Pound’s querulous Cantos, Canticles is a manifesto that tells us—howling, screeching, testifying, rhyming—that poetry makes things happen, and that it has as much to tell us as ever.

 

— Paul Watkins, Assistant Professor of English at Vancouver Island University

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