Canada Reads·Canadian

Whylah Falls

George Elliott Clarke's collection of poetry is a fictionalized portrait of a black community in Nova Scotia during the early 20th century.

George Elliott Clarke

An exuberant, book-length narrative poem that includes snatches of lyric, songs and sonnets, Whylah Falls is the fictionalized portrait of a black community in Nova Scotia in the early 20th century. It features a grand passion, a chilling crime and a family's struggle with loss, all rendered in lively, engaging detail.

Whylah Falls was a contender in the inaugural edition of Canada Reads, in 2002. It was defended by Nalo Hopkinson.

Read an excerpt | Author interviews

From the book

Desire illuminates the dark manuscript
of our skin with beetles and butterflies.
After the lightning and rain has ceased,
after the lightning and rain of lovemaking
has ceased, Selah will dive again into the
sunflower-open river.


From Whylah Falls by George Elliott Clarke ©1990. Published by Gaspereau Press.

Author interviews

Award winning poet, playwright and literary critic, George Elliott Clarke hails from Windsor, Nova Scotia. A seventh-generation Canadian of African-American and Mi'kmaq Amerindian heritage, Clarke has written in a variety of genres including poetry, opera, screenplay, and song 22:19