Canada’s Latest Poet Laureate

Toronto poet George Elliott Clarke has been appointed Canada’s new parliamentary poet laureate. The poet laureate is asked to write poems “especially for use in Parliament on important occasions,” sponsor readings, and advise the Parliamentary Librarian regarding acquisitions. The two-year position, created in 2002, has previously been held by George Bowering, Pauline Michel, John Steffler, Pierre DesRuisseaux, Fred Wah, and Michel Pleau.

Clarke’s 2003 play Québécité began as a jazz libretto commissioned by the Guelph Jazz Festival, and performed in 2003, directed by Colin Jackson with music by D.D. Jackson. In 2012 ICASP and the TransCanada Institute presented George Elliott Clarke reading from his poetry collection Red, accompanied by bassist David Lee. A video of the performance, and a recording of the interview that followed is available here.

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