Saturday, January 07, 2006

Hero of My Youth (and Layton quote), blog entry, Jan 7 06 Holly, Waterloo, Ontario
January 7, 2006 @ 2:00 PM

Canada Loses a Legend.
This week brought the passing of a Canadian patron-saint of poetry.

I should have posted about this before, but one of the heroes from my youth, Irving Layton (1912-2005), the great Romanian-born Canadian poet, died on January 4th. Visceral, euphonic and deliciously subversive, Layton’s poetry allowed me to transcend the small farms of my hometown and see all of Canada and beyond. In a small school where Jews were either comics or Christ killers, Layton allowed me to have a small amount of fellowship with his Jewishness, and allowed my classmates to ask questions. I even went to Mt. Allison University because Layton mentioned it in a poem once, and he made the name sound so beautiful and collegiate. He wrote like I felt, as sappy as that sounds, and I’ll always love him for that.

My favourite Layton quote:
"If poetry is like an orgasm, an academic can be likened to someone who studies the passion-stains on the bed-sheets."

- Irving Layton

The further I go in academics, the more truth I see in those words.


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