Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Foreword

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p. vii

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, poetry in Canada—writing and publishing it, reading and thinking about it—finds itself in a strangely conflicted place. We have many strong poets continuing to produce exciting new work, and there is still a small audience for poetry; but increasingly, poetry is becoming a vulnerable art, for reasons that don’t need to be rehearsed....

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Biographical Note

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pp. viii-ix

Born in Windsor, Nova Scotia, in 1960, George Elliott Clarke is the son of William and Geraldine Clarke, descendants of African American, Cree, and Barbadian immigrants to Nova Scotia. Raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in North End working-class, immigrant, multicultural, and military neighbourhoods, Clarke attended Alexandra, Joseph Howe, and Bloomfield schools, and the...

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Introduction

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pp. xi-xvii

The blues singer, the preacher, the cultural critic, the exile, the Africadian, the high modernist, the spoken word artist; the Canadian poet. These are some of the voices and identities of George Elliott Clarke. His influences are many. Derek Walcott, Amiri Baraka, Ezra Pound,Wallace Stevens, and many others are intertextually linked to his practice. He is a poet who...

Salvation Army Blues

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p. 1

Halifax Blues

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p. 2

Hammonds Plains African Baptist Church

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p. 3

Campbell Road Church

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p. 4

Watercolour for Negro Expatriates in France

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pp. 5-7

Look Homeward, Exile

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p. 8

The Wisdom of Shelley

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p. 9

The River Pilgrim: A Letter

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pp. 10-11

Blank Sonnet

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p. 12

The Symposium

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pp. 13-14

Rose Vinegar

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p. 15

Blues for X

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p. 16

Vision of Justice

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p. 17

Chancy’s Menu

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p. 18

Chancy’s Drinking Song

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p. 19

Beatrice’s Defence

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p. 20

George & Rue: Pure, Virtuous Killers

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p. 21

Ballad of a Hanged Man

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pp. 22-23

Child Hood I

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p. 24

Child Hood II

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p. 25

Hard Nails

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p. 26

Public Enemy

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p. 27

The Killing

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pp. 28-29

Trial I

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p. 30

Trial II

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p. 31

Avowals

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p. 32

Negation

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p. 33

Calculated Offensive

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p. 34

À Dany Laferrière

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p. 35

Haligonian Market Cry

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p. 36

Nu(is)ance

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p. 37

Onerous Canon

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pp. 38-39

April 1, 19—

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p. 40

from Blue Elegies

I.i

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pp. 41-42

I.ii

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p. 43

I.iii

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pp. 44-46

I.iv

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p. 47

I.v

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pp. 48-49

I.vi

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pp. 50-51

Blues de Malcolm

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p. 52

May ushers in with lilac

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p. 53

George & Rue: Coda

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p. 54

Letter to a Young Poet

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p. 55

Of Black English, or Pig Iron Latin

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p. 56

Africadian Experience

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p. 57

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Afterword: Let Us Now Attain Polyphonous Epiphanies, George Elliott Clarke

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pp. 59-63

On a sunny Saturday Halifax, Nova Scotia, afternoon in April 1972, my father gathered up his three sons and a few of our friends, crowded us all into a station wagon, and just went driving. I sat up front, near the car radio, and listened intently as Bobby Vinton sang “Sealed with a Kiss” (from sometime...

Acknowledgements

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pp. 65-66