Award-winning poet George Clarke is introducing his newest epic poem during a lecture at Vancouver Island University.
The poet speaks on Thursday (Oct. 22) during the university’s Gustafson Distinguished Poetry Lecture Series. He reads excerpts from his poem Canticles, a work in progress which is a response to Ezra Pound’s Cantos. The poem “echoes slave and imperialist debates from Cleopatra to Celan,” according to the VIU press release.
“For George, poetry is not only a printed form, but also an oral art,” said Clarke’s colleague Paul Watkins, a VIU English professor. “His boisterous readings present the listener with a gumbo concoction of jazz rhythms, blues-infused gospel vernacular, and plenty of play upon the standards of the larger literary tradition. This is poetry presented with the ‘lightning of prophecy.’”
Clarke champions writers of African descent and coined the term Arfricadian, identifying the “black culture of Atlantic Canada.”
The poet has published 13 works of poetry, such as Whylah Falls and Traverse. He also created four anthologies of African-Canadian writing including Directions Home: Approaches to African-Canadian Literature. He won the Governor General’s award for his work Execution Poems.
The poetry lecture is at the university campus in Building 355, Room 203. The event is free but donations are being accepted.
After the lecture there is a book signing with a catered reception and cash bar in Building 300’s Royal Arbutus Room.
For more information about the lecture series and upcoming events, please go to www.mediastudies.viu.ca/gustafson.