Sharing an Evening with Parliament’s Poet Laureate

By Suzanne Robicheau | spring 2016

Those who attended Saint Mary’s 2016 Cyril Byrne Lecture in March had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear Canada’s newly installed Parliamentary Poet Laureate, Dr. George Elliott Clarke, read from his earliest works.

A talented poet, playwright, and literary critic, Dr. Clarke is an officer of the Order of Nova Scotia and the Order of Canada. He has also received the National Magazine Awards' Gold Medal for Poetry, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award, and the 2001 Governor General's Award for Poetry for his book, Execution Poems. In exploring the African experience in Canada, he has made a significant contribution to the cultural fabric of our country. 

In keeping with the themes of Clarke’s first book, Saltwater Spirituals and Deeper Blues, the evening included a special performance by the ECMA-winning jazz and gospel singer Linda Carvery and the Loppie family choir. Both Carvery and Clarke hold honourary degrees from Saint Mary’s University.

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