A critical look at PEI writer J. J. Steinfeld's extensive and prolific writings in poetry, fiction and theatre, ranging from his early work on Holocaust themes to his later examinations of absurdity and existentialism. Among the contributors: Raina L. Shults, Michael Greenstein, Richard Lemm, Mark Sampson, Ellen S. Jaffe, George Elliott Clarke, Sandra Singer and Shane Neilson.
About the authors
George Elliott Clarke is a Canadian poet and playwright. Born in Windsor Plains, Nova Scotia, he has spent much of his career writing about the Black communities of Nova Scotia and served for a time in the African-American Studies department at Duke University. He earned a BA Honours degree in English from the University of Waterloo (1984), an MA in English from Dalhousie University (1989), and a PhD in English from Queenâ??s University (1993). In addition, he has received honorary degrees from Dalhousie University (LLD), the University of New Brunswick (LittD), the University of Alberta (LittD), and the University of Waterloo (LittD). He is currently professor of English at the University of Toronto.
In 2001 he won the Governor Generalâ??s Literary Award for poetry for his book Execution Poems. Clarkeâ??s work largely explores and chronicles the experience and history of the black Canadian community of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, creating a cultural geography that Clarke often refers to as Africadia. Clarkeâ??s Whylah Falls was one of the selected books in the 2002 edition of Canada Reads, where it was championed by Nalo Hopkinson.
University of Guelph professor Sandra Singer’s primary scholarship concerns Doris Lessing, having co-edited Doris Lessing Studies (2003-2014) and two essay collections: Doris Lessing: Interrogating the Times and Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook After Fifty. Her current projects encompass fiction, trauma and terrorism.
Excerpt: J. J. Steinfeld: Essays on His Works (by (author) George Elliott Clarke; edited by Sandra Singer)
The pervasive and dominant image in my life and imagination, today in memory and growing up the only child of Holocaust survivors, was my mother's concentration camp number/tattoo. Attempting to deal with that image and memory, in no small part, made me compelled to become a writer. -- J. J. Steinfeld
Oscillating between the chronotopes of World War II and contemporary North America, [Steinfeld’s] narratives form intriguing circuits of connection and disconnection […]. Steinfeld’s conversation with Kafka accords with the view that history’s clocks are not in unison and that their worlds split apart and clash in fearful asymmetry.
[Our Hero in the Cradle of Confederation] captures the “laissez faire” spirit of our times where, as metaphoric Islander, one may cast an ironic, critical gaze, smell disparity and hypocrisy, and feel desperation within the Island’s shores and ideological tides, yet retain “hope” and aspire to “fight back."
Other titles by George Elliott Clarke
Where Beauty Survived
A Memoir of Race, Family Secrets, and Africadia
Canticles III (MMXXII)
Blacks in Canada
The Quest for a 'National' Nationalism
E.J. Pratt’s Epic Ambition, ‘Race’ Consciousness, and the Contradictions of Canadian Identity
I Am Still Your Negro
An Homage to James Baldwin
A Portrait in Words
Canticles II: (MMXIX)
Writers on Writing in Canada