Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A Deep Desire for Difference (and Layton poem), blog entry, Jan 9 06

http://www.livejournal.com/community/bibliophiles/108875.html
Posted by whitealchmist
January 9, 2006

In Memory of Irving Layton

Last week, Irving Layton - Nobel Prize winner and one of Canada's most celebrated poets - passed away. I heard this news on CBC Radio and realized that while the name was familiar I knew nothing of his work, and given what the news report had to say about him, it seemed high time to correct this negligence.

So I picked up a volume of his work, A Wild Peculiar Joy, and I wish I could have called myself a fan while he was still alive. He has all the things I love most about the best Canadian writers - an understated social conscience, a quirky sense of humour, and a deep desire for difference. He reminds me of Leonard Cohen in some ways, understandable given that they both worked in Montreal and were near-contemporaries. Anyone interested in this sort of poetry, I strongly encourage you to seek out his work in more detail. I hunted through my new book for a sampler and resisted his more profound stuff in favour of this lovely gem for my fellow lit-nerds:

Misunderstanding

I placed
my hand
upon
her thigh.

By the way
she moved
away
I could see
her devotion
to literature
was not
perfect.

COMMENTS:

jitendra
2006-01-09 10:53 pm
my canadian lit prof told our class about it the other day. He had us add Layton's date of death to our anthologies.

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quirky_rocket
2006-01-10 01:30 am
I like that =)

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katcanread
2006-01-10 06:34 am
That's sad =(. I came across his work in 2004 as part of a writing class at uni, and I and the whole class had great fun reading it aloud! R.I.P Layton! Thanks for sharing whitealchemist

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minky_delaney
2006-01-10 03:04 pm
a quietly splendid poem, it made me smile.

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