After nine years and nine trade printings, Gaspereau Press is issuing a revised and redesigned second edition of its most popular title. Originally released in 2000 in a limited edition of 66 books handset and printed letterpress in a folio format, Execution Poems has gone on to sell over 6000 copies. It was the winner of the 2001 Governor General’s award for poetry and took first place in the poetry category of the 2001 Alcuin Awards for Excellence in Canadian Book Design.
Execution Poems is a suite of poems about Clarke’s cousins, George and Rufus Hamilton, who were hanged in July 1949 for the murder of a Fredericton, New Brunswick, taxi driver. In this startling work, Clarke reminds us of racism and poverty and of their brutal, tragic results, blurring the line between the perpetrator and the victim?a line we’d prefer to be simple and clear. As all true poetry should, Clarke’s embodies both damnation and redemption, offering convoluted triumphs alongside tragedy.