Books·Canadian

Phillis

Phillis is a book by Alison Clarke.

Alison Clarke

Phillis Wheatley was the first African American to publish a book of poetry. In 1773, her book, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, was published to international acclaim. Wheatley was presented In London as "the African genius," and her writing was published in New England and England alike. Phillis Wheatley's name was known in households throughout literate North America. Yet Phillis Wheatley was a slave.

In Phillis, Alison Clarke reaches through time to tell the story of this remarkable woman. Through a series of poems and prose-poems, Clarke presents Wheatley's world with depth and liveliness, reimagining the past for a modern audience while bringing sensibility and passion to the story of Wheatley's life. Wheatley's story is told in first-person poetry that illuminates significant chapters of her life, capturing the brilliant heights of her writing career along with the inevitable, brutal injustices she faced as an enslaved Black person in North America.

Interspersed with poems written from the viewpoint of Black intellectuals, entrepreneurs, and other people who themselves were inspired by Wheatley, this is a collection of poetry that celebrates the resilience and accomplishments of Black history. (From University of Calgary Press)

Alison Clarke is a poet and children's author from Edmonton. Phillis is her first book.

Interviews with Alison Clarke

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