Our poet laureate puts Toronto on the map

george-elliott-clarkeMy photo of G.E.C. at the dedication of the Souster Steps in Lollipop Park

Toronto’s Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke has a strong voice, great diction, enormous enthusiasm and now, it seems, boundless energy. He has teamed up with our excellent library service to create a “poetry map” of Toronto.

U of T Magazine convered the story and added:

A poet himself, Clarke says he was struck by how infrequently Canadian poets would mention specific places, until the 1980s – probably because “it was considered less interesting than talking about a street in New York or London.” Raymond Souster, who reached the peak of his success in the 1960s, was the lone exception. “He really deserves to be thought of as Mr. Toronto Poetry,” says Clarke. “He deliberately went against the trend of that time as making us sound blandly American or blandly British.”

Danica and I were privileged to visit Ray Souster shortly before his death, thanks to our friend John Robert Colombo, who also brought the poetry map to my attention. Thank you, JR!