4/21/2010

Celebrating Al Purdy

Today is the 10th anniversary of the day that Al Purdy, one of Canada's most celebrated poets, succumbed to cancer and died in North Saanich, B.C, at the age of 81.

We feel it is only appropriate, particularly since it is National Poetry Month, to highlight his life and accomplishments on a day that has since been named "Al Purdy Day" in Canada.

Purdy published his first poem when he was 13 years old, and learned right away that poetry was not going to be a lucrative career -- he earned a dollar.

Unlike many poets, Purdy didn’t hit his stride until his 40s. It wasn't until 1965, at the age of 47, that Purdy won his first Governor General's Award for his book of poetry The Cariboo Horses. But throughout his life he was driven to write, and write he did. All told he published 33 books of poetry, several essays, a novel, and a two-volume memoir.

As a tribute, here's an adaptation of one of Purdy's most famous poems, At the Quinte Hotel. The short film stars The Tragically Hip's Gord Downie, and is narrated by the poet himself.



To learn more about Al Purdy, or the Purdy A-frame project, which is raising funds to purchase Purdy’s former property and establish a poet-in-residence program, please visit the following website: http://www.harbourpublishing.com/PurdyAFrame/index.html

You may also want to check out The Ivory Thought: Essays on Al Purdy from the University of Ottawa Press.

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