The Blue Clerk: Ars Poetica in 59 Versos (Paperback)
On a lonely wharf a clerk in an ink-blue coat inspects bales and bales of paper that hold a poet's accumulated left-hand pages-the unwritten, the withheld, the unexpressed, the withdrawn, the restrained, the word-shard. In The Blue Clerk renowned poet Dionne Brand stages a conversation and an argument between the poet and the Blue Clerk, who is the keeper of the poet's pages. In their dialogues-which take shape as a series of haunting prose poems-the poet and the clerk invoke a host of writers, philosophers, and artists, from Jacob Lawrence, Lola Kiepja, and Walter Benjamin to John Coltrane, Josephine Turalba, and Jorge Luis Borges. Through these essay poems, Brand explores memory, language, culture, and time while intimately interrogating the act and difficulty of writing, the relationship between the poet and the world, and the link between author and art. Inviting the reader to engage with the resonant meanings of the withheld, Brand offers a profound and moving philosophy of writing and a wide-ranging analysis of the present world.
Dionne Brand's collections of poetry include No Language Is Neutral; Land to Light On, winner of the Governor General's Literary Award and the Trillium Book Award; thirsty, winner of the Pat Lowther Memorial Award; Inventory; and, most recently, Ossuaries, winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize. Brand is also the author of the acclaimed novels In Another Place, Not Here; At the Full and Change of the Moon; What We All Long For; Love Enough; and Theory. Her works of nonfiction include Bread Out of Stone and A Map to the Door of No Return. In 2006, Brand was awarded the prestigious Harbourfront Festival Prize, and from 2009 to 2012, she was Toronto's Poet Laureate. In 2017, she was appointed to the Order of Canada. Brand is also a Professor of English in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph.