About Saint Mary's

Canada’s Poet Laureate reads work never before heard in public


George Elliot Clark  - The Motorcyclist coverSaint Mary’s University invites the public to an historic celebration of the life and work of Dr. George Elliott Clarke, appointed this January as Canada’s Parliamentary Poet Laureate. The Governor General Award-winner will deliver the 2016 Cyril Byrne Lecture on Friday, March 11 at 7 p.m. at Saint Mary’s McNally Theatre Auditorium. As always, admission is free and all are welcome.

Mr. Clarke’s work has attracted national and international acclaim, and his writings on African-Nova Scotian culture have initiated one of the most important creative and scholarly projects in Canadian literature. Long before that, however, he was a Halifax poet and high school student just starting out his artistic career. Today, as he launches his newest novel, The Motorcyclist, he’ll join us for a special evening and go back to the beginning to read from his earliest works, many never heard in public.

“This will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to listen as one of Atlantic Canada’s major literary figures re-visits his creative origins in our city,” says Dr. Margaret MacDonald, Saint Mary’s Dean of Arts. “It is in keeping with our commitment to public engagement that we welcome this opportunity to reflect upon the critical issues raised by George Elliott Clarke’s work. We couldn’t be happier to be hosting this event at Saint Mary’s.”

In keeping with the themes of Clarke’s first book, Saltwater Spirituals and Deeper Blues, the evening will include a special performance by the ECMA-Winning Jazz and Gospel Singer Linda Carvery and her family choir. Carvery and Clarke both hold honourary degrees from Saint Mary’s University.

After the reading, Clarke will be interviewed on stage by Dr. Alexander MacLeod, a fellow award-winning writer and a professor of Atlantic Canadian Literature at Saint Mary’s. An audience Q and A and reception will follow. Admission is free and all are welcome. Seating may be limited, so early arrival is recommended.

The Cyril Byrne Lecture celebrates the spirit of Dr. Byrne and his lifelong commitment to interdisciplinary studies at Saint Mary’s University. It is the largest annual event in the Faculty of Arts. Past lecturers include Anne Enright, Richard Ford, Emma Donoghue, Alistair MacLeod, Anne Carson, and Colm Tóibín.