Tuesday, January 17, 2006

CKUA, U. of Alberta including 1985 recorded interview

Irving Layton, a CKUA Memory

Canada's highly regarded poet Irving Layton, died Wednesday in Montreal. He had been in a long term care facility since 2000. The 93-year-old poet was suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

Layton spent much of his career as a teacher, first at a parochial high school, later at Sir George Williams University and York University where he taught English.

He was also poet-in-residence at the University of Toronto, and it was from his poetic pursuits that his fame arose. He published more than 40 books of poetry and prose in a career that spanned more than five decades.

Poet and singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen and TV magnate Moses Znaimer were some of his famous students.

His early poetry focused on sex and love, often written in frank language and shocking some critics.

He won acclaim for his first major poem, The Swimmer, in 1944. Layton's star rose rapidly in the 1950s and '60s. He soon became a regular on the CBC-TV. He was named to the Order of Canada in 1976. Layton is known for his rapier wit and ongoing battle against uniformity and Puritanism.

In December of 1985, Irving Layton visited the CKUA Radio studios and recorded this interview with Tony Dillon Davis. The interview was recorded on publication of Layton's memoir Waiting for a Messiah.

Listen to the interview (8 minutes, 54 seconds)
(In order to listen you must have Windows Media Player. To install the latest player, click here.)

Read more about Irving Layton at this CBC website: www.cbc.ca/arts/books/layton.html.


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