Thursday, January 05, 2006

Equivalent to Ginsberg

By Charlie Rossiter, Oak Park, IL, U.S.A.
January 5, 2006

My most recent Irving Layton experience was while on a road trip in the summer of 2004. I was in Poor Michael's Bookshop on Hwy 10 in Manitoba looking for books by Canadian poets and the proprietor and I got talking about specific poets. Somewhere in the conversation he mentioned that Layton was alive and well in Toronto and "probably making it with twenty-year-olds as usual." Having a vague notion of Layton's age I told him I doubted it, but it was nice that he had that thought.
Being from south of the border, I cannot know the extent of Layton's influence and fame in Canada, but I know he was/is important and feel a real sense of loss at his passing. My impression is that he had the notoriety equivalent to Ginsberg down here. A risky statement but...what can I say. I hope people organize some great testimonials to him and his poetic contributions.

Charlie Rossiter
Oak Park, IL, U.S.A.


Blogger mallowry said...

Layton was a force to be dealt with in Canadian literature.

He helped to dislodge the stake up Canada's literary arse, and cause things to shake up. Though he may , on occasion, have engaged in megalomania, he challenged Canadian writers to live up to Tolstoy's call : "The one thing to tell in life as in art is to tell the truth".

So, he put fire in our blood, and for this we must remain deeply grateful.

6:04 PM  

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