Few writers deliver as electrifying a live performance as George Elliott Clarke. We’ve published a number of books by George, from his stark, award-winning Execution Poems, to his lush poetic verse plays Trudeau and Québécité. The poem we’ve picked for poetry month is from his chapbook Africadian History. It is also reprinted in the poetry anthology Gaspereau Gloriatur: Volume 1.
Sermon on J.W. Doull’s Used Books Store
George Elliott Clarke
Poetry is a useful art.
Shakespeare and Milton brush against
Demi-mondaines like Longfellow,
Or faint luminaries like Rod McKuen,
Or those anonymous, dead stars—
Discards, pitilessly tumbled in bins,
Ignorant that professors praised
Their lines to judgmental undergrads,
Who would not forsake embraces
And dark beer to warm a poet’s words
In their skulls or bedside shelves.
Discounted, musty, some who anguish
Over lines will languish in mildew
Graves until some light-summoning poet
Plucks them from dank obscurity.
Copyright © George Elliott Clarke, 2001.