George Elliott Clarke

George Elliott Clarke is an internationally-renowned poet and scholar whose booksincluding his highly-esteemed poetry collections Execution Poems and Whylah Fallshave won him many honours, including the Portia White Prize (1998), the Governor Generals Literary Award (2001), the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award (2004), and the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Fellowship Prize (2005). Born in Windsor, Nova Scotia, Clarke presently resides in Toronto where he is E.J. Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto and Canadas Parliamentary Poet Laureate (201617). His most recent book is a novel, The Motorcyclist.


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Trudeau: Long March, Shining Path
George Elliott Clarke

2007 / Poetry / $21.95
9781554470372 / Trade paper / 128 pp


George Elliott Clarkes newest dramatic poem, Trudeau, makes an irreverent, jubilant portrait of the life and politics of one of Canadas most controversial political heroes, Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Clarkes poem provides a whimsical and informative look at the balance of world powers in the 1960s and 70s, infused with the spirit of the many revolutions taking place throughout the world during these years. The poem opens on a hillside in Nanjing, China, April 1949, in the midst of the countrys civil war. Our hero exchanges political stances with Mao and falls for a beautiful young flautist. From China the drama moves to Fredericton, NB, where Trudeau chats with Massachusetts Senator and future American president John F. Kennedy, who has just received an honorary doctorate from the university. The two men cavalierly discuss the perks of political power, each on the cusp of leading their countries. Then, in Havana, on the eve of the Bay of Pigs invasion, Fidel Castro treats Trudeau to rum and cigars and offers his take on revolutions, Cuban and otherwise. When the focus moves to the Quiet Revolution and Trudeaus response to this crisis in his leadership, Clarke presents a leader at once loved and loathed at home, who perseveres through both political and personal upheaval.

Originally composed as the libretto for a new opera by D.D. Jackson to be presented at Torontos Harbourfront Festival in April 2007, Trudeau is a political caper, an extravagant portrait and a dramatic study of influence, power, revolution and liberation. Clarke injects the life of one of this countrys most intriguing personalities with the exuberance and grimy frankness his readers have come to love and expect.

According to the author: "As a teenage poet in the 1970s, seven artist-intellectuals or poet-politicos helped me to conceive my voice. They were jazz trumpeter Miles Davis, troubadour-bard Bob Dylan, libertine lyricist Irving Layton, guerilla leader and poet Mao Zedong, reactionary modernist Ezra Pound, Black Power orator Malcolm X and the Right Honourable Pierre Elliott Trudeau. These idols inspired me to sculpt an individualist poetic scored with implicit social commentary. Yes, this Gang of Seven is flawed. But, taken as a whole, I find their blunt talk, suave styles, acerbic independence, raunchy macho, feisty lyricism, singing heroics and scarf-and-beret chivalry quite, well, liberating.

"For me, no Canadian stood more for liberation than Trudeau, that aloof populist, rights-trampling democrat and tax-and-spend millionaire. An operatic figure in life (19192000), he now merits dramatic treatment. My dramatic poem imagines the politician as player: Plato meets Chaplin."

Other Books by this Author

Gold
George Elliott Clarke

2016 / Poetry / $21.95 CAN / $21.95 US
9781554471577 / Trade paper
Black
George Elliott Clarke

2012 / Poetry / $21.95 CAN / $21.95 US
9781554471034 / Trade paper
Blue
George Elliott Clarke

2011 / Poetry / $21.95 CAN / $21.95 US
9781554470990 / Trade paper
Red
George Elliott Clarke

2011 / Poetry / $19.95 CAN / $19.95 US
9781554470983 / Trade paper
Whylah Falls
George Elliott Clarke

2010 / Poetry / $21.95 CAN / $21.95 US
9781554470952 / Trade paper
Execution Poems
George Elliott Clarke

2009 / Poetry / $14.95 CAN / $14.95 US
9781554470815 / Trade paper
Quebecite
George Elliott Clarke

2003 / Poetry / $39.95 CAN / $39.95 US
9781894031752 / Fine
Quebecite
George Elliott Clarke

2003 / Poetry / $18.95 CAN / $18.95 US
9781894031745 / Trade paper
Africadian History
George Elliott Clarke

2001 / Poetry / $4.95 CAN / $4.95 US
9781894031523 / Pamphlet
Execution Poems
George Elliott Clarke

2001 / Poetry / $12.95 CAN / $12.95 US
9781894031486 / Trade paper

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