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category: Poetry
published: Feb 2001
ISBN:9781894031486

Execution Poems

by George Elliott Clarke

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0 of 5
0 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $12.95
edition:Paperback
also available: Paperback
category: Poetry
published: Feb 2001
ISBN:9781894031486
Description

Gaspereau Press’ best-selling title, Execution Poems, is George Elliott Clarke’s complex lament for his late cousins, George and Rue?two Black men who were hanged for the murder of a taxi driver. After the overwhelming interest generated by the original limited letterpress edition of Execution Poems, Gaspereau Press released this trade edition which went on to win Canada’s highest literary honour in 2001. The jurors of the Governor General’s Literary Award called this book “raging, gristly, public?and unflinchingly beautiful,” and remarked on Clarke’s “explosive, original language.”

In 1949, George and Rufus Hamilton were hanged for the murder of a taxi driver in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Fifty years later, Clarke has written, in his abundant style, a series of poems that embody both damnation and redemption, offering convoluted triumphs alongside tragedy and blurring the line between perpetrator and victim. What Clarke presents in Execution Poems is uncomfortable. He reminds us of racism and poverty; of their brutal, tragic results. He reminds us of society’s vengefulness. He blurs the line between the perpetrator and the victim?a line we’d prefer remain simple and clear. At the heart of it, Clarke is frustrating the notion that society deals any better with these issues today than it did in the 1940s.

About the Author
George Elliott Clarke

George Elliott Clarke is an internationally-renowned poet and scholar whose books?including his highly-esteemed poetry collections Execution Poems and Whylah Falls?have won him many honours, including the Portia White Prize (1998), the Governor General’s Literary Award (2001), the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award (2004), and the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Fellowship Prize (2005). Born in Windsor, Nova Scotia, Clarke presently resides in Toronto where he is E.J. Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto. George served as and Canada’s seventh Parliamentary Poet Laureate (2016–17).

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Editorial Review

“It is an engrossing and?dare I say it?brilliantly executed narrative that gave me the sort of pleasure that Michael Ondaatje’s The Collected Works of Billy the Kid did years ago.” Noah Richler, National Post

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