Sunday, January 08, 2006

How to Make a Post

To post stories, memories or words of appreciation of Irving Layton and his poetry, please do the following:

Please go the bottom of this post and click on the COMMENTS link. This will open up a comments window - please post your memory here. It will ask you to either log in or choose to post an ANONYMOUS comment (if you wish, you can post your name and city in the actual message itself.)

Select comments will be republished under the main section for others to view.

Thank you


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I first came across Irving Layton in an anthology of Canadian poetry when I was first discovering my own voice as a writer and an artist. Since then I have read several of his books including his biography and his life and work have helped me become the artist that I am today (I'm not sure if that is a compliment).

I found a signed copy of "Red Carpet for the Sun" at a yard sale a few years ago and started reading it on the greyhound on the way to my older brothers wedding and I forgot the book on the bus. I'm not upset. I hope the person who found it learned to love Layton like so many have.

7:56 AM  
Anonymous said...

Mr. L.
as in what/ Mr. Lucky?
That is the name I ascribed to you at the end of the college year at York when I was clever enough to get into your poetry workshop.
In retrospect I suppose I found those years particulary inspiring as I met the love of my life.
She attended classes with me and even came over to your house with me to enjoy wine and verse with you and Aviva.
As much as I loved her, she dumped me, and that was thirty odd years ago.
My point is thatI never forgot her or those Layton moments
and had to call her tonite to share them.

Irving, you read my poetry aloud and made it sing a song I never could master. My feeble truths became masterful in your voice.

Thanks, Mr. L for the good course and the comments on my manuscript which I have never forgotten...

'You are a keen observer of the human scene

Keep writing, and may the muses love you'

Fuck me, Irving. Which of the Muses will you dance with first??
Okay, all of them.See you later old gator.....

Love from an old friend and happy trails to glory

Roger Green (York 1972)

3:59 PM  
Blogger mallowry said...

My parents were post War immigrants to Montreal (1951) and I was raised and schooled there till the age of 12 in what was then the other Jewish ghetto, (not the traditional one) , that of the Snowden district.

The uniqueness of Jewish life in Montreal was not only a consequence of the rich matrix of culture and activism and commerce created by its sons and daughters but also the result of a comingling of cultures, especially with the Anglo-Celtic and French Canadian mainstreams. Jewish immigrants of the 20th century arrived in Montreal to find a city filled with French Canadian joie de vivre combined with a deep stirring Catholic religiosity and spirituality, though sometimes from that same place came occasionally a cold stare at them of hatred and even street violence.

Back in Eastern Europe, the Russian Czar wanted two things of their Jews: to starve and to vanish, but in that Quebec port city, the Scottish and English Montrealers set them up in their classrooms and gave them a basic education and, above all, a love of the English language, and for that we are deeply indebted. They too may have put up barriers to us but we learned to climb over them. Meanwhile our fathers and grandfathers earned a living from selling goods from door to door.

My father, like Irving Layton, plied the trade of peddler in the working class areas of Montreal where sometimes a child could be heard yelling..." Hey mom , your Jew is coming!!" The perilous metal staircases of working class houses grew from the ground high into the air like metallic cocoons, but in Montreal's harsh winters they were more like icicles, and that is what they had to climb with their valises full of goods, day after day.

I would like, as well, to dedicate this poem I dedicated to the memory of my father, Julien Mader, to the memory of Irving Layton.


And as I danced and sang beneath
The willow tree, kicking up the dust
With small child's feet in the
Hot noon-time of chocolate
And candied playlands
And wide-eyed school yards
My father broke his back beneath
The same scorching sun
Climbing up and down impossible staircases
Selling his weary
Goods from door to door.

And on the day of rest
I rode his tired back
A midget cowboy
Rejoicing in the desert dreamland
Of our ordinary abode.

I was the spark that cleansed your blood
The wash of wine that flushed the dross.
"My son, my son, do not leave me."
But I did.
I left you like all good sons
One day must.

And at the moment of your last child
Abandoning your hard-earned house
It must have torn into you
Like no other memory
Like some other kind of cruelty.

And as I sang and danced
Beneath the willow tree
He broke his back beneath
The same scorching sun
Climbing impossible staircases
Clutching an impossible star.

Nota: that horrible Stephen Marche literary obit. is now the only feature left on Irving Layton.

1:58 AM  

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