George Elliott Clarke’s bio

George Elliott Clarke

Photo: Harvard University Department of English

GEORGE ELLIOTT CLARKE has published in a variety of genres: verse collections, Saltwater Spirituals and Deeper Blues (1983), and Lush Dreams, Blue Exile (1994), two verse-novels, Whylah Falls (1990) and I & I (2009), four verse plays, Whylah Falls: The Play (1999 & 2000), Beatrice Chancy (1999), Quebecite (2003), and Trudeau: Long March/Shining Path (2007). His opera Beatrice Chancy, with music by James Rolfe, has had four stage productions and a broadcast on CBC television. This powerful opera about slavery in the Nova Scotia of the early 1800s won great reviews and enthusiastic audiences. He wrote the screenplay for the feature film, One Heart Broken Into Song (Dir. Clement Virgo, 1999). His first novel, George & Rue (2005), received rave reviews and the Dartmouth Book Award. The verse play, Whylah Falls, was staged in Venice in Italian (2002). Clarke continues to publish poetry with Provençal Songs (1993 & 1997), Gold Indigoes (2000), Blue (2001), Illuminated Verses (2005), Black (2006), Blues and Bliss: Selected Poems (2009), Red (2011), Illicit Sonnets (2013), Traverse (2014), and Extra Illicit Sonnets (2015). His Execution Poems (2001) won the Governor General’s Award for Poetry. Clarke has been instrumental in researching the work of Canadian writers of African descent. In 2002 he published, Odysseys Home: Mapping African-Canadian Literature. His follow-up volume is Directions Home: Approaches to African-Canadian Literature (2012).

On January 1, 2016, Clarke was appointed Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada.