Wednesday, November 3, 2010

George Elliott Clarke Nominated for Acorn-Plantos Award

Goose Lane Editions is honoured to announce that George Elliott Clarke’s acclaimed verse novel I & I has been nominated for the 2010 Acorn-Plantos Award for People’s Poetry.

The Acorn-Plantos Award for People’s Poetry is awarded annually to a Canadian poet, based on a book published in the previous calendar year. The work is expected to follow in the tradition of Acorn, Livesay, Purdy, Plantos and others by being accessible to all people in its use of language and image. Past winners include Christine Smart, Ronnie R. Brown, Laisha Resnau, and Erin Noteboom, and Goose Lane authors Sharon McCartney and Brian Bartlett.

In the "Boogie Nights" era of the 1970s, Betty Browning and her lover, boxer Malcolm Miles, travel from the fog-anchored grime of Halifax, Nova Scotia, to sunburnt Corpus Christi, Texas, and back - meeting tragedy and bloodshed along the way. I & I smoulders with love, lust, violence, and the excruciating repercussions of racism, sexism, and disgust. Rastafarian for "you and me," "I & I” expresses the oneness of God and man, the oneness of two people, or the distinction between body and spirit. In George Elliott Clarke's hands, this existential aesthetic crystallizes in a love story of Gothic grit. The narrative gives this verse novel shape; the poetry makes it sing, straddling folk ballad, soul, and pop music, all the while moaning the blues. True to form, Clarke’s poetry throbs with musicality, echoing the rhythms of blues, jazz, and contemporary rock. The imagery is visceral at times, but this baseline is balanced by riffs of loveliness, eloquence, and glimmering light.

The winner of the 2010 Acorn-Plantos Award for People’s Poetry will be announced on November 15, 2010. For further information on the Acorn-Plantos Award, please contact Jeff Seffinga at


George Elliott Clarke was born in Windsor , Nova Scotia , a seventh-generation Canadian of African-American and Mi’kmaq Amerindian heritage. He holds three degrees in English: a B.A. Honours from the University of Waterloo , an M.A. from Dalhousie University , and a Ph.D. from Queen’s University. In addition to being a poet, playwright, and literary critic, Clarke is the E.J. Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto . As a writer, George Elliott Clarke has published in a variety of genres: verse collections, verse-novels, verse-dramas, verse-operas, screenplays, and fiction. He has received the Governor General’s Award for Poetry and the Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award among numerous other national and international awards and accolades. His poetry has been translated into Chinese, Turkish, and Romanian.

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