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Canticles II (MMXX)
Guernica Editions, Fall 2020
400 pages
Trade Paperback
ISBN13: 9781771835480
ISBN10: 1771835486
English
$29.95 Canada, $24.95 US, £14.95 UK

Canticles is a lyric-styled epic. Clarke's visions of canonical and apocryphal scriptures are black in ink, but lightning in illumination. Testament II issues re-readings, revisions, rewrites of scriptures crucial to the emergent (Anglophone) African Diaspora in the Americas. Canticles II (MMXIX) and Canticles II (MMXX) follow Testament I (also issued in two parts) whose subject is History, principally, of slavery and imperialism and liberation and independence. Canticles II is properly irreverent where necessary, but never blasphemous. It is scripture become what it always is, really, anyway: Poetry.
Ecclesiastes III. 1. To everything, there's first flourishing, then withering; stints of Authority and periods of Abdication; the echo of light be shadow. 2. Once one draws breath, one must stop breathing. There's a time to nourish and a time to perish. Frantically, one uncorks light; fanatically, one unbottles liquor. 3. The lover announces Love, then is humiliated. Another protests Hatred, then his loathing is vindicated. Coffins empty cradles. 4. There's a time for Song and a time for Silence; a time for statecraft and a time for witchcraft; a time for Mozart and a time for Mao.

Books by George Elliott Clarke

Canticles I (mmxvii) Canticles I: mmxvi Canticles II: MMXIX Canticles II (MMXX) J. J. Steinfeld: Essays on His Works