Red joins George Elliott Clarke’s previous ‘colouring’ books?Blue and Black?in which he displays an expansive range of poetic forms and rhetorical poses. Its poems mix the candid sexuality of pre-Christian Rome with the pop sentimentally of Italian screen scores of the 1960s and 70s, drenching us in the brute violence of Titus Andronicus, the reflections of Malcolm X and the music of Charles Mingus (whose “bass sounds like a typewriter/Punctuating Ulysses”). Whether he situates his reader in his father’s Halifax cab, on a beach in Rhodes, or in front of Alma Duncan’s painting Young Black Girl, Clarke is ever sensitive to “the hard work of words,/The even harder work of love. ” Red rings with Clarke’s lush voice, full-throated and unparalleled.
George Elliott Clarke
Born in Windsor, Nova Scotia, at the beginning of the 1960s, George Elliott Clarke is a seventh-generation Africadian. He has published more than a dozen volumes of poetry and prose, including Whylah Falls and Execution Poems, an acclaimed novel George & Rue, and the celebrated opera, Beatrice Chancy. His many awards include the Governor General's Award for poetry and the Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award.
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