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George Elliott Clarke to serve as parliamentary poet laureate

George Elliott ClarkeAward-winning Nova Scotia-born poet George Elliott Clarke has been named Canada’s new parliamentary poet laureate. The Toronto-based author follows Michel Pleau, whose two-year term finished at the end of 2015.

Clarke, who recently concluded his three-year appointment as the City of Toronto poet laureate, was selected by the Speakers of the House of Commons after being recommended by a committee of experts chaired by parliamentary librarian Sonia L’Heureux.

Clarke’s many accolades include the Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award, and the Order of Canada. As parliamentary poet laureate, he will help curate the parliamentary library’s collection, write poetry for use at parliamentary occasions, sponsor readings, and more. Clarke will practice under L’Heureux, Speaker of the Senate George Furey, and Speaker of the House of Commons, Geoff Regan.

Regan says in a press release that Clarke’s “talent as poet, playwright, and literary critic is undeniable. He is an immensely versatile and engaging writer and will bring great honour to the position.”

Clarke’s latest book, The Motorcyclist, publishes with HarperCollins in February.