Black

Monday, April 10, 2006 - 7:00pm
Gladstone Hotel Ballroom, 1214 Queen St. W.
Black

Presented by Pages Books & Magazines, Raincoast/Polestar, and NOW Magazine.

Earlier this year, renowned poet George Elliott Clarke sat down on stage at the Gladstone Hotel to interview historian Afua Cooper about her new book The Hanging of Angelique: Canada, Slavery and the Burning of Montreal (HarperCollins Canada). It was one of the biggest crowds This Is Not A Reading Series has yet seen, and Clarke and Cooper held the audience in thrall a they discussed this fascinating and important book. Now, join us on April 10 as we reverse the roles and launch George Elliott Clarke's newest work of poetry, Black. Cooper will interview Clarke on stage about this explosive and passionate new book, and then George Elliot Clarke, in his inimitable style, will deliver spoken word from Black. Both Black and The Hanging of Angelique will be on sale at this event, and both authors would be delighted to sign copies.

Black (Raincoast/Polestar): Three honorary doctorates, a Governor-General's Award, a Trudeau Fellow Prize and a Martin Luther King Jr. Award - just a few of the accolades earned by George Elliott Clarke. With this long-awaited eighth work of poetry, Clarke continues to redefine Canadian poetry, pushing boundaries and shocking us with anger, passion and brutal honesty. The genesis of Black was Clarke's time at Duke University in the late 1990s: an experience that unleashed political and personal outrage. The poetry that resulted is a brilliant and fiery commentary on race and culture, searing, transgressive, and ultimately transforming. Blistering with defiance, tempered with tenderness and desire, Black is a startling collection from one of Canada's most gifted writers.

George Elliott Clarke on Black:

 

"Black extends the virile and virulent lyricism of Blue. It dares to fuse African-American rhetorical traditions of Rap and Blues (no-holds-barred truth-telling) with the magisterial plainness of English-Canadian poetic "My idea is to scribe nasty, but tasty words, to bleed--or ink--a caustic honey. Being a 7th-generation Canadian of African-American origin, I come to this task with urgency: to make my screeching, growling voice sing. "My models? The usual suspects: Ezra Pound, Irving Layton. My style? Free jazz. "Black is for all those lovers of Blue who crave a blacker version."

 

George Elliott Clarke is the E. J. Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto. His awards include the Portia White Prize, a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Fellowship, a Governor General's Award for Poetry, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Achievement Award and a Trudeau Foundation Fellowship. His previous works include Whylah Falls (a CBC Canada Reads finalist), Beatrice Chancy, George & Rue, Execution Poems and Blue.

Afua Cooper is a writer of non-fiction, history, and poetry. She holds a PhD in African-Canadian history with specialties in slavery and abolition, and spent fifteen years researching her newest book The Hanging of Angelique (HarperCollins Canada). She is also co-author of We're Rooted Here and They Can't Pull Us Up: Essays in African-Canadian Women's History, which won the prestigious Joseph Brant Award for history. One of Canada's most versatile poets, she has published four volumes of poetry, including the acclaimed Memories Have Tongue. Afua Cooper teaches history at the University of Toronto.