Friday, January 06, 2006

Famous Poet, Ely Times & County, Jan 5 06

Top Canadian Poet Irving Layton Dies at 93
Staff and agencies
05 January, 2006

MONTREAL - Irving Layton, a prolific writer and one of Canada‘s top poets, has died. He was 93.

Diagnosed with Alzheimer‘s disease Alzheimer‘s disease in 1994, Layton died Wednesday in a long-term care facility surrounded by caregivers and longtime friend Musia Schwartz, said Lisa Blobstein, spokeswoman for the Maimonides Geriatric Centre.

Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotter said Layton "taught me how to think." Layton taught for many years. He held university posts as poet-or writer-in-residence and was nominated for a Nobel Prize in literature in 1982. Layton was named to the Order of Canada in 1976 — Canada‘s highest honor.

Born Israel Lazarovitch in Romania on March 12, 1912. His family migrated to Canada a year later, settling in a tough, multiethnic neighborhood in Montreal. Its mean streets later became the backdrop for many of his graphic, often bawdy poems.

"I am a genius who has written poems that will survive with the best of Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Keats," Layton said in 1972.

"He was as famous as a Canadian writer could get at the time," said McGill University English professor Brian Trehearne.

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