Canada's poet laureate George Elliott Clarke comes home this week to deliver the Cyril Byrne Lecture at Saint Mary's University. He'll revisit his creative origins in Nova Scotia, retracing his steps in light of his first book, Saltwater Spirituals and Deeper Blues, published in 1983. The lecture will also include a performance by jazz and gospel singer Linda Carvery, and Alexander MacLeod will interview Clarke after his talk. He shares a few words about Halifax via email:
"I'm delighted and excited to be invited to discuss my beginnings as a writer in my home city. The thing is, Halifax is such a contradictory city, of beauty and of obliteration—such as the Public Gardens vs. Africville—and of disaster (December 6, 1917), and of passions (the VE-Day riot in May 1945), and of elite influences (the half-dozen universities) and popular culture (late-night bars and the musics—plural—abundantly present). It was impossible for me to not be shaped by the black roots culture exemplified by folks like Rocky Jones and Linda Carvery, the global arts filters of NSCAD and Neptune Theatre, to give just two examples, the donair and/or Scotch intelligentsia of Cambridgian scholars such as "the" John Fraser; and the list is actually endless. Halifax is a city of bagpipes and boxing matches; sailors and cyclists; blues guitarists and organic gardeners; not to mention socialists and socialites. If I could guess at my poetics, I'd say it's more banged out and banged together than not, which I'd say has something to do with growing up in a place where you always have to be resourceful because resources can be tough to come by otherwise. My aesthetic is based on scavenging, salvaging, sampling, savaging: The poet as Dr. Frankenstein—if not his Monster."
George Elliott Clarke
w/Linda Carvery, Alexander MacLeod
Friday, March 11, 7pm
SMU, McNally Theatre Auditorium 940 Robie Street