OBLIQUE VERDICTS. James Clarke.
$19.95 168 pages.
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In this collection of deeply felt poems, James Clarke challenges his conscience as he examines his decades-long experience as a judge, exploring what it means to sit in judgement of people, and what attaining such a position entails. These are poems that will resonate with anyone who cares about fairness, truth, power, and freedom.
"Many lawyers and judges before James Clarke, immersed in what he all too accurately calls the crabbed / world of law, have tried to blot out the rancorous words & / drizzle of lies that can tend to dominate their diurnal profession, and to seek that crack in the wall / of the law where / justice peeks through. Many before him have sought solace in poetry, often with mixed artistic success. But James Clarke is no ordinary lawyer poet. He has, in an exceptional way, made use of his poetic gifts to slowly, slowly / [learn] to unclench [his] hand, to find once again the tenderness and love of the human that can shelter us from the gusting winds & punishing waves of law. His beautiful work provides not only a shelter for other lawyers and judges, but a living refuge for us all." Michael Blumenthal is the author of eight books of poetry, most recently No Hurry: Poems 2000-2012
"There isnt a person in this country Jim Clarkes book wont appeal to: lawyers who should read it to see that someone up there (on the bench, that is) is really listening; victims (on both sides) should read it to see they are being heard by our judiciary; poets and writers, those who have lost someone they love, anyone who has ever had the feeling that 'life is unfair' will find something to take away from this book." Susan Musgrave
James Clarke was born in Peterborough, Ontario, attended McGill University and Osgoode Hall. He practiced law in Cobourg, Ontario, before his appointment to the Bench in 1983 where he served as a judge of the Superior Court of Ontario. He is now retired and resides in Guelph, Ontario.
Clarke is the author of eight collections of poetry published by Exile Editions, and three memoirs: The Kid from Simcoe Street (Exile Editions, 2012), A Mourners Kaddish: Suicide and the Rediscovery of Hope (Novalis, 2006), LArche Journal: A Familys Experience in Jean Vaniers Community (Griffin House, 1973). In addition, James Clarkes poetry has appeared nine times in the Legal Studies Forum, published by the University of West Virginia law school.
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