Friday, January 06, 2006

His Genius as a Poet (and Layton poem), blog entry, Jan 5 06
posted by Mama Squirrel @ 8:08 AM
January 5, 2006

Irving Layton dies

And that's the irony of posting this...that the majority of people won't know that Irving Layton was one of Canada's greatest poets. And I'm talking about the Canadians, who should know. If Layton had been eighteen years old, made one hip-hop CD or played one game of pro hockey, it would have been all over the news; but he was 93 years old and he was a poet. So his passing doesn't get much coverage on talk radio. (Click on the title for the CTV article.)

Or maybe I'm wrong, maybe it's just too early.

From "The Swimmer"

The afternoon foreclosing, see
The swimmer plungest from his raft,
Opening the spray corollas by his act of war --
The snake heads strike
Quickly and are silent.

Emerging see how for a moment
A brown weed with marvellous bulbs,
He lies imminent upon the water
While light and sound come with a sharp passion
From the gonad sea around the Poles
And break in bright cockle-shells about his ear....

[Additional comment for my homeschooling-parent friends: Just because I don't agree with Layton's lifestyle or enjoy some of his metaphors doesn't mean that I can't appreciate his genius as a poet. I was introduced to The Swimmer and The Cold Green Element years ago in a poetry class, and they still surprise me. That said, Layton isn't always a poet you want to turn students loose on without previewing.]


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