Thursday, January 05, 2006

Gazette Condolences, Jan 12 06

Guest Book for
Irving Layton
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January 12, 2006

I was thinking of Irving only last week, wondering how he was getting along. I see he has now decided to go travelling. Of course, we'll miss him, but that's just our point of view. I'm sure he'll be back before we've fully realized he's gone.

Ann Diamond (Montreal, QC )
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January 12, 2006

I was privileged to have been taught by Irving Layton and, especially, to be in the class immortalized in his poem, "To the Girls of my Graduating Class".
He is gone, but for me and the thousands of students he taught, his inspiration will endure forever.

Sol Nayman (Toronto, ON )
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January 11, 2006

As a student of the United Talmud Torah I was a grade 8 student of an unforgetable teacher,who taught us History with no books and ran with us outside on Fletchers Field. A teacher never forgotten whose book Now is the Place (1948) which he autographed for us and which still has a place of honour in my bookcase. What more can be said of such a great personality never to be forgotten.

Myrna Lorraine Solomon (Pierrefonds, QC )
firefly1836@yahoo.ca
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January 9, 2006

Like many Canadians, I was saddened to learn about the passing of Irving Layton and digested the news with the sober realization that one of this country's great poets had just left a large hole in our nation's psyche.

I was lucky to hear Irving Layton read to a packed house at an independent bookstore on Wellington Street in 1990 and loved the experience of hearing his voice echo through the mid March, overheated, and exuberant crowd of devotees.
( All thanks to John Metcalfe.)

I am grateful for his passion and commitment to words; to making art and paving the way for others to legitimately place their major and minor muses on paper. And I wholeheartedly agree with him that 99.9999% of humanity are philistines.

Loretta Fleming (Ottawa, ON )
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January 9, 2006

Sincere condolences to your family during this intensely sad time. Irving Layton was an inspiration to our family. May the memories of this great man, and all the support and love sent to you ,sustain you during this time.

The Karpman Family
donna karpman (hudson, QC )
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January 9, 2006

Sincere condolences to Mr. Layton's family from The Canadian Writers' Foundation.

The Canadian Writers' Foundation (Ottawa, ON )
smw.enterprises@sympatico.ca
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January 9, 2006

As a child of the 50s, I saw Layton's impact on Canada. He was the muse of an entire post-war era. Simply put, the most learned, audacious, gifted, and talented poet we've had. Ave atque vale Magister!

Walter Bruno (Calgary, AB )
wbruno@shaw.ca
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January 8, 2006

Irving Layton was my first cousin twice removed (his mother and my grandmother were first cousins). More significantly, he was my teacher at Herzliah High School for most of my secular subjects for a period of three years (1953-1956). From Irving I learned Latin, history, English literature and, most memorably, composition. Each week he assigned an essay topic, and then thoroughly critiqued our very modest efforts. I was only 12-14 years old then, yet it was one of the best learning experiences that I have ever had. I only wish that more of my doctoral students were exposed to someone so dedicated to teaching writing. In addition, he opened our minds to poetry, inspired us to read and love good literature and exposed us to the works of important social critics. I feel very indebted to Irving, proud to be his cousin and grateful to have been his student. May his memory be for a blessing.

Stanley Messer (Highland Park, NJ )
smesser@rci.rutgers.edu
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January 8, 2006

Rest in peace.

Andrea Taylor (Montreal, QC )
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January 8, 2006

I would like to add my condolences to the family of Irving Layton.

My memories of Mr. Layton go way back to the time when I was about 7-8 years old. My father owned a printing business called, "Canada Mailing Service" which was located at 1190 University between Dorchester and Cathcart Streets in Montreal. My grandfather, Frederick Robinson, lived on the third floor of this building along with Mr. Layton who was a struggling poet and writer at the time, and well before he had made a name for himself. I have vivid memories of visiting my dad at the office and sneaking upstairs to watch and listen to these two men. The result of this strange alliance? A beautiful book of poetry written by my grandfather which I have treasured over the years.

Thank you, Mr. Layton for befriending a very lonely man who had recently lost his wife.

My thoughts are with the family.

Dorothy Mather (née Robinson) (Ottawa, ON )
genechaser@rogers.com
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January 8, 2006

I was a neighbor and baby sitter for you in Cote St Luc in the 1950's

Mary Teiber (pictou, NS )

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January 7, 2006

To love, and be loved is the greatest gift. Thanks for all your great gifts. The whole world loves you. God bless.

L.B. (NB )

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January 7, 2006

Thanks for the sound advice... and glad to have read that book of yours when I found it...

Eric Williamson (Montreal, QC )
ewilliamson@mail-central.com

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January 7, 2006
Corinne Elizabeth Skarstedt (Montreal, QC )
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January 7, 2006

I 'll nver forget the year in the early fifties at Herzlia High School that Irving Layton taught us English Literature and Poetry - literally creating it on the blackboard in front of our eyes. It gave me a lifelong appreciation for poetry.

Bernard Sternthal
bernelco@hotmail.com

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January 7, 2006

I am grateful to have had the privilege of being a student of Irving Layton at Concordia University in 1979. Attending his classes changed my life, not only because Professor Layton was an extraordinary and generous poet and teacher, but also because it was in his classroom that I met another admirer of Layton's poetry, Gerald,
who soon became my husband. I mourn the loss of my husband, and now of Professor Layton who encouraged us to continue to write throughout the years. And we did...inspired by his passion and love. Thank you, Irving Layton. Avanti! as you liked to say.

Anne Cimon (Montreal)
anne.cimon@sympatico.ca
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January 7, 2006

Thank you Irving Layton for your grand poems and grander spirit.
karen coulter (toronto, ON )
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January 7, 2006

I have memories of Irving running up my fire escape on Crescent Street wildly waving a paper and shouting "Helloooooo. I have a new poem. It's a masterpiece!"
Dear Irving, if you can pause just a moment in straightening out the Big Guy, I'd like to thank you for the excitement, the love and the poems.
Condolences to all who loved you, -- especially your long-time loyal friends, Musia Schwartz and Leonard Cohen.

Sandra Anderson (Beaudin) (Montreal, QC )
SandraAnderson_572@hotmail.com
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January 7, 2006

This is a very sad day, which had to come. My great sadness is that such a fine mind went the way it did. He was my teacher from 1953-1957 in Herzliah High, and was one of the most influential people in my life. Shalom, Sir. Helena.

Helena Sandler (Powell River, BC )
saternamusic@shaw.ca
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January 7, 2006

How life's ironies can unfold like butterflies from black cocoons. Butterflies, whose gold filigree of anticipation reveals itself between those ominous shadows, prepared to soar. Yet unseen beauty rumbling beneath the weight of it all.

My grandmother, who passed away in 1997, suffered through Alzheimers. Shortly after that time, when I heard that Irving Layton had become afflicted with that wretched disease, I was struck by the terrible irony of the fact that this uber-vibrant, life-affirming and deliciously-combative human being was resigned to that, of all fates.

Now, the maestro is free, the shackles of deterioration already turning to dust while he indulges in a freilech to end all freilechs, surrounded by all manner of heavenly bodies, embracing and trading toasts with long missed family, friends and colleagues. Most of all, his beloved Keine.

Sonja A. Skarstedt (Montreal, QC )
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January 7, 2006

The very first time I met Irving Layton I was a seventeen year old student at the Banff School of Fine Arts. As I sat down for breakfast at one of the big round tables in the school's cafeteria one morning, I looked up and immediately recognized Irving
Layton sitting across from me. The famous poet was wearing a black turtle neck sweater and gigantic gold medallion. We exchanged a few words, but his attention was more heavily invested in keeping up with five or six female students clustered
around him, chattering passionately.

Last night, two days after his death, Irving uncharacteristically made an appearance in my dreams. In the dream, the poet was his old robust self, wearing a white shirt, holding court in his home, surrounded by guests and four young children running around in the kitchen. It was almost like a scene from the 1960s, and I thought it was a little strange to see Irving Layton in such a domestic situation. As my wife and I walked into the kitchen, Irving warmly welcomed us. I hesitantly ventured, "But I thought you were dead." To which Irving replied in his booming familiar voice, very matter of factly: "Don't tell anybody. But I was in a coma all those years and just came out of it." He then ushered everyone toward a very long table in the middle of the dining room. Places were set for everyone, Irving presiding at one end, his wife at the other. Let the feast begin.

Geof Isherwood (Montreal, QC )
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January 7, 2006

A great teacher and humanitarian. Always remember our Literature classes at Ross High School in "62. Will always be an inspiration.

BARRY ROBINS (RICHMOND-HILL, ON )
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January 7, 2006

Mr.Layton was a supervisor at the Montreal Hebrew Orphans Home in Westmount in the 30's. He taught debating and english, he was very well likes by all.

Myer Gordon for the M.H.O.H Alumni (Toronto, ON )

myer_gordon@sympatico.ca
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January 7, 2006

To Max and Naomi,

My condolences to you both, as your baby-sitter on Kildare in Cote St Luc, I remember your Dad so well, often in the company of Leonard Cohen and Louis Dudek. It is nice to have seen him rise to be one of Canada's most famous poets.

Madlynn Teiber (Chateauguay, QC )
madlynn_teiber@hotmail.com
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January 6, 2006

I met Irving,some 15 years ago, at Sandra Rich Goodwin's house, widow of the late Bill Goodwin (Goldberg) who was Irving's nephew and best friend. I have since enjoyed many conversations with him. Irving used to call me 'Houdini' because he said I appeared and disappeared so often. My last meeting with Irving was on Monday, just two days before he died. I played a medley of Yiddish songs on the piano in the dining room of the 4th floor of Maimonides and Irving, seated with his devoted caregiver, Diane, was serenaded by a flourish of Yiddish music. I hope this eased your passage to heaven! Irving, you meant so much to so many! May your soul rise quickly to The Celestial Academy where I am certain you will enter into debate with the Almighty regarding the plight of humanity!

Rikee Gutherz-Madoff (Montreal, QC )
rikeemadoff@hotmail.com
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January 6, 2006

I send my condolences to the family and friends of Irving Layton who has passed away. May he be remembered for the work he did and for the contributions he made to Canadian literature.

John Jackson (Edmonton, AB )
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January 6, 2006

My deepest condolences to his family. He was my Grade VII teacher at Herzliah High in the late 40's. He was a "star" in his own right...never forgotten.

David Libman (Montreal, QC )
goldielibman@sympatico.ca
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January 5, 2006

May you rest in peace! Your legacy will always be with us!
From a survivor & proud to be Canadian.

Carolina Caruso (LaSAlle, QC )
carolinac@videotron.ca
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January 5, 2006

To Max,

I am so sorry to hear of your Dad's passing. Both of you are part of my childhood and high school years. I did run into your Dad again when he was living in Niagara and we were able to share memories of living in the wonderfully diverse NDG neighbourhood of Somerled-Wilson Avenue. He of course spoke of you. Please accept my condolences upon the loss of your Dad.
You take care.
Regards,

Françoise (née Garneau) Hubley (St. Catharines, ON )
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January 5, 2006

Irving Layton inspired many high school and college students with his poetry. His vision of the world and his insights into the human condition will live on through more generations yet born. Thank you Irving Layton for being one of Montreal's greats. Your light lives on.

Peter Ellis (Brampton, ON )
peterellis@myway.com
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January 5, 2006

My condolences Naomi. We were friends such a long time ago, and I wonder about you often. I remember your father Irving vividly, as who could forget such a presence? Take care, my friend.

Phyl Davies (Vancouver, BC )
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January 5, 2006

I never had the pleasure of meeting Irving Layton but I have talked with those who did. I certainly knew his works and his reputation. He brought a level of passion and intensity to the Canadian poetic landscape that fires it still. He is gone but his legacy will live on for a very long time.

A. M. Hatfield (Toronto, ON )
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January 5, 2006

Mr. Layton was a fine poet, whose vitality, ego and deep love of the mysteries of his art will be remembered.

Nigel Roth (Montreal, QC )
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January 5, 2006

Irving Layton taught me grade 11 English in 1966-1967 at Ross High School in Montreal, a prep school for seriously underachieving teenagers. He was there as a result of his long friendship with Harold Ross after whom the school was named. To say that we were not the most academic class he had ever tutored would be a master understatement, but somehow his energy and passion were able to impact on many of us and his zest for life and love somehow transcended even our thick skulls and has to this day left an everlasting impression. His legacy will live on undiminished.

birks bovaird (toronto, ON )
bbovaird@cenitcorp.com
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January 5, 2006

I was deeply saddened by the death of my teacher who influenced my life and helped me become the person I am. I was a student of Irving Layton at Herzliah High school in the late 40's. He turned me on to poetry specifically and to literature generally. He taught me to love the English language and to respect words. We remained friends through all these years. We had dinner together at my home when he last visited Israel. I extend sympathy to his family.
May he rest in peace.

Shoshana(Rose) Tessler(Freedman) (Jerusalem)
hstes@inter.net.il
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January 5, 2006

Dear Max, Naomi, David, and Samantha,

My late mother, Goldie Satten Levine (1910-2002)taught with your father at the Herzliya High School in Montreal. She followed his career with great interest and always spoke so highly of his contribution to Canadian culture.
Sincerely

Esther Davis (nee Levine)(Oakville,, ON )
estherrivadavis@hotmail.com
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January 5, 2006

It is so sad to lose such a special man. His writing will always hold a special place in my heart.

Victoria Malone (Bournemouth, England)
vickymalone@msn.com
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January 5, 2006

My first encounter with Mr. Layton was as a student at Baron Byng High School, in the 1950's when he spoke at the History and Literature club.
As the nurse in the Memory Clinic at the Jewish Generaal Hospital, we met again. His vitality and strengh,and keen mind shone through his illness. My condolences to his dear and loyal friend Musia, who cared for him through it all.
Sincerely,

Marlene Levine(Deerfield Beach, FL )
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January 5, 2006

To the late Mr.Layton, Thank you for having the courage to always write what was on your mind and in your heart. I hope the afterlife brings you solice and that you rejoice in knowing the world is not as bad as you may have once thought.
Your spirit will live on evermore.

Melissa Constant (Ste-Anne-De-Bellevue, QC )
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January 5, 2006

In the mid-1960’s, my mother Nina Bruck, was among Irving Layton’s workshop students at Sir George Williams. I recall the rush of energy called my mother, swirling through the house to her desk, in the wake of each night class with Mr. Layton. In 1966, the class published Anvil, a slim, blue anthology, as testament to what a group of apprentice writers had made at the master’s forge. My mother wrote one of the two introductions. Here is a brief excerpt:

...Irving Layton is the workshop, unassuming, witty, gentle, an image difficult to reconcile with the public one of Flashing Irreverence routinely smashing idols on its way to the corner store for a pack of cigarettes. Patient and unhurried, he sacrifices quantity for quality, and is prepared to wait; encourages his students to listen to their inner voice and what it is trying to say, to attempt to express certain conflicts and dissatisfactions in a meaningful way...Part of the poetic picture is the grinding work, the endless polishing of lines. People write because they have to; out of defeat and desire, perhaps, a few poems, occaisonally, a perfect line. The itch persists.

Julie Bruck (San Francisco, CA )
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January 5, 2006

When Irving Layton was the writer-in-residence at Concordia University, I was his personal secretary. It was a fun-filled year of laughs, energy and high drama. The one thing that always stayed in my mind was when he told me he had a cat named Puss-Puss. Although he was a man of creative words it always amazed me that his cat had the most simple of feline names. I think that was part of his humour. Rest in peace Irving.

Sylvia Benedetti(Montreal, QC )
sylviab@videotron.ca
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January 5, 2006

Although, Irving was my great uncle (his sister, Gertie, was my grandmother) I only met him once or twice. I am learning a great deal about him thorugh all the online information posted recently. I look forward to reading his books (I have many that belonged to my late mother, Irving's niece). My thoughts are sent to family and friends.

Stephanie Green (Short Hills, NJ )
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January 5, 2006

Ever since I read your poems in the sixties and dared to show you my translations of some of them in the seventies and eighties, I felt it had been one of the greatest priviledges of my life to have met you as a poet and as a man.
You inspired me and I thank the Gods for this.

Jean Antonin Billard (Roxton Falls, QC )
antonin@sympatico.ca
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January 5, 2006

PincuVing, Irving Rabbenu, my Biscuit Boy, fare-thee-well my love. You knew, and I know you knew, that since that car-wreck of a day in 1995 when you helped me to leave and start my own life, there have been maybe a grand total of 6 days where I did not think of you. This city, our streets, our home, our life together was an extraordinary adventure, and I am glad to have brought you so much happiness, not to mention 'productive joy' for so many years. Thank you for all that you taught me, all that you showed me, and for your unconditional love in which I revelled, grew, and lived so intensely. I know that you know all of this, and more. Bye, love, bye.
A.

Anna Pottier (NDG, QC )
annapottier@hotmail.com

1 Comments:

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.

8:25 PM  

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