Saturday, January 07, 2006

How to Post a Comment

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

Funeral Notice, The Gazette, Jan 8 06

Funeral Sunday for poet Layton

The Gazette; PC
Published: Friday, January 06, 2006

The funeral for poet Irving Layton will be held at 10 a.m. Sunday at Paperman and Sons, 3888 Jean Talon St. W. Layton, who had been at the Maimonides Geratic Centre for the past five years, died Wednesday at the age of 93. The Gazette has established an online book of condolences that readers may sign at.

Danish Memory (and Layton poem in Danish), blog entry, Jan 5 06

http://zonet.blogspot.com/
By Martin, Denmark @ 11:28
January 5, 2006

Irving Layton døde i går. Det siger sikkert ikke så mange særlig meget her, men han var en fin digter, som var nomineret til N-prisen et par gange og måske ikke er så velkendt, som han kunne være i dag fordi "He was a profoundly sexist man, and relentlessly so" (se memorial-bloggen). Jeg oversatte for mange år siden et digt til Den Blå Port (tror jeg), men de ville ikke have det. Det kunne godt bruge en alvorlig revision, men jeg har vist ikke længere originalen, så jeg lader det stå som det er. Kongen er selvfølgelig Knud den Store.


Hvad end andet er poesien frihed

Hvad end andet er poesien frihed.
Glem retorikken, de løgnagtige kneb
Alle digtere før eller siden samler op. Fra floden
Rejser sig som grå kastratsangeres tynde stemmer - disen;
Popler og fyrretræer gror lige, men ege er knudrede;
Gamlinge må tale om døden, drenge smadre vinduer,
Kvinder hvile trofast hos deres mænd til sidst.

Og jeg, der gav min Kate et blåt øje,
Skabte til dets hastigt skiftende farver
En ubegribelig melodisk skala;
Balancerer nu på mine stylter af træ og danser
Og synger derved til de øverste vinduer.
Se hvor elegant jeg bukker i hoften.
Gør plads til disse stylter! Plads eller jeg falder!

Og en krone, siger jeg, til mit narrehoved.
Og dog er jeg ikke mere tåbe end Kong Knud,
Vor stammes hersker, der mønstrede og hånede;
Som halvt bedraget troede; og, som digter, savnede
De første hvide dønninger til at røre hans fødder;
Og derefter fordømte sit hof og den tåbelige proces
Med en mest forbløffende og ukongelig spøg.

Det var disen. Den ligger indeni som en skæbne.
En virkelig Jonas, den ligger rådnende som en lunge.
Og jeg kender mig selv i faldet og er en klovn,
Der bærer en krans af dis som krone;
Dis med lugt af døde æbler,
Dis svævende over sorte tusmørkevande,
Dis fra kirkegårdes broderlige grave.

Den skal få mig til at tigge om føde og til sidst
kaste mig knust og lammet, ved jeg, på vejen;
Som en stor tudse jeg så, hel men død,
Som Tiden havde ætset sort; Åh presset
Mod den fugtige jord bad den om indtræden.
Og jeg skal være den stivnede tudse, for syg af disen
Og omtumlet mærker jeg duften af dødelighed.

Og Tiden flammer op som en petroleumsovn
Og det den brænder, er minutterne jeg lever.
På visse middage har jeg set bilerne
Fjernt herfra bringe mig deres bakspejlssole;
Alt min hånd kunne nå var blå skærme,
Solene udslukte, chauffører med mørke briller
Og jeg måtte tro jeg havde rørt en ligvogn.

Så hvad end andet er poesien frihed. Lad
Langt borte de utålmodige kadencer afsløre
Polstringen på mine åndeløse stylter. Sving dig
O helt, i kødelige lunde, hud og glycerin,
og syng om lyst, solens ledsagende skygge
Som en vampyrvinge, stilheden i de døde fødder -
Din stav bringer genopstandelse, O arrige Konge.

Jewish Facts statement, Jan 4 06

http://jewish.factsinfo.com/news/?p=764

Poet Irving Layton dies

CBC Nova Scotia, Canada - 1 hour ago Alzheimer's disease. Born in the small Romanian town of Tirgul Neamt in 1912 to Jewish parents, Layton emigrated to Canada in 1913.

We Know How to Treat 'Em Well, blog entry, Jan 5 06

http://deeol.blogspot.com/2006/01/random-blather-about-poetry.html
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Random blather about poetry

Irving Layton died yesterday. I have mixed feelings about the man. He was a great poet who wrote some really good poems... and some really bad ones. I disagreed with many of his views, but there's no denying that he made his readers think.

He was one of our most celebrated writers and teachers, was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, and, naturally, by the end of his life was largely out of print. Yeah, we know how to treat 'em well in this country.

Two Favorite Layton Poems, blog entry, Jan 5 06

http://www.livejournal.com/users/mink_stole/100427.html
By Mink Stole
January 5, 2006
Irving Layton is dead....here's my favorite poem of his:

"Cuisine Canadienne"

Unlike the blood sausage
made from Jesu's blood,
the cornstarch pudding of Ottawa
is odourless and tasteless

In my favourite fantasty
Blok and Mayakovsky are standing
with me under the carillon
swilling vodka and shouting obscenities
at the civil servants rushing
to the bank
to redeem their humanity for the weekend

Back in Montreal the next day
I'm better able to handle
the disasters I invent in my skull
and never get to see.


also I love:

"Droppings from Heaven"

Everyone was saying
this was the coldest winter in 75 years;
penniless and freezing
I escorted my girl to the fire escape

Since she used no diaphragm
I pulled out in time
and we listened to the droppings
that fell on the frozen ground

Both of us wondering
whether the warm love-juice struck it
as hard assaulting pellets
or miniature stilettos

COMMENTS:

loseranthems
2006-01-05 03:27 pm

So that's why people are talking about Irving Layton on CBC Radio 3 and reading his poetry. He is currently talking to Peter Gzowski saying that "Poets are the physicians of the soul."

Triumphant Impeccability (and Layton poem), blog entry, Jan 5 06

http://vantheman.blogspot.com/2006/01/aching-and-triumphant-impeccability-of.html
by Dr. J, Canada
January 5, 2006 @ 5:53:56 AM
The Aching And Triumphant Impeccability Of His Life

Sad news: Canadian poet Irving Layton passed away yesterday in Montreal. In recent years, Layton had been suffering from Alzheimer's, a fate beyond cruelty for a man who was once one of this country's finest poetic minds. He also taught for many years at the institution I rather shamefacedly describe as my employer, and in a department that now only rarely dares to mention, let alone teach, him in undergraduate courses. Some of his poems are as good as any poet's of the twentieth-century, with "The Cold Green Element" and "The Birth of Tragedy" seeming to me especially powerful. It seems appropriate, though, to commemorate Layton's passing with "Grand Finale," a poem sadly too ironic by half. Here it is:

Grand Finale

I've seen the grey-haired lyrists come down from the hills;
they think because they howl with eloquence and conviction
the townspeople will forgive their disgraceful sores
and not care how scandalous and odd they look;
how vain their contrite blurtings over booze and women
or the senescent itch for the one true faith.

Not for me sorrowful and inglorious age
not for me resignation and breastbeating
or reverbing of guilts till one's limbs begin to tremble
and a man's brought to his knees whimpering and ashamed;
not for me if there's a flicker of life still left
and I can laugh at the gods and shake my fist.

Rather than howl and yowl like an ailing cat
on wet or freezing nights or mumble thin pieties
over a crucifix like some poor forsaken codger
in a rented room, I'll let the darkness come only when I
an angry and unforgiving old man yank the cloth of heaven
and the moon and all the stars come crashing down.

--- 1978

It's also worth glancing at this (rather old) article from The Toronto Star about Layton and his most famous mentee, Leonard Cohen.

Completely Unapologetic, blog entry, Jan 4 06

http://www.livejournal.com/users/vonandmoggy/36345.html
By Moggy
January 4, 2006
Good night, Mr. Layton.

I have a tremendous amount of work to do tonight...but I came home to the news that an old favourite poet of mine, Irving Layton, died this morning.

http://www.irvinglayton.com/
http://www.reference.com/browse/wiki/Irving_Layton

I knew early on that I wanted to be a writer...that I wanted to spend my time with books, bookstores, reading and writers. I knew the first time I finished the Lord of the Rings trilogy, at 10 years old, that I wanted to play with words for the rest of my life. And as I got older, I stumbled on writers and poets who had as much of an influence on me as Tolkien...people who made me sit down for hours on end, reading what they'd written with awe. I filled books with poetry and scribblings, wanting desperately to be like these people who made their living by writing...I soaked in sci-fi, fantasy, mysteries, classics, literature, hard-boiled detective stories...and poetry by people like Layton.

And now Layton is gone. I hope his writing's read and enjoyed for years to come...I hope shy little teenagers continue to find and read it...and I hope it helps set them on a path to books and writing, too. I hope he's never forgotten.

Layton was a character. He was intelligent and eccentric. He absolutely loved women, sex, and drinking...he was a dirty old man even as a young man...he was opinionated and outspoken. He was brash. He was completely unapologetic. Maybe I wouldn't have liked him in person...I'm not sure I could've taken him in a debate. But damn I liked his writing...and I guess that's all that matters now.

National Post article, Jan 5 06

Republished Montreal Gazette article.

Constellation of Influence, blog entry, Jan 4 06

http://www.livejournal.com/users/tepintzin/328648.html
Diario de Tepintzin
Canadian poet Irving Layton dies
http://www.cbc.ca/story/arts/national/2006/01/04/Layton-Obit.html

I confess, I don't know his oeuvre very well, but the constellation of Canadians he influenced is stellar indeed. Both Leonard Cohen and Moses Znaimer, wow!

Inspiring Poetry (and Layton poems), blog entry, Jan 7 06

http://hurleyanne.blogspot.com/
By Lorianne, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
January 7, 2006 @ 11:01 PM
Farewell, Irving

Poet Irving Layton Dies

Irving Layton was my favourite poet in high school. I think it must have been his passion... and the sex... that was fascinating to me. It was inspiring. Here are a couple of his shorter poems that I really liked:

Misunderstanding

I placed
my hand
upon
her thigh.

By the way
she moved
away
I could see
her devotion
to literature
was not
perfect.

On My Way To School

On my way to school
I used to pass
A Baptist church
And fields of grass.

"Jesus Saves"
Above the gate
Would comfort me
If I were late.

The church is gone,
The street is paved,
The Home Bank thrives
Where Jesus Saved.

Here you can find the Irving Layton website.
Here's the entry about him in Wikipedia.

Hero of My Youth (and Layton quote), blog entry, Jan 7 06

http://pearseha.blogspot.com/2006/01/balls-for-uncoordinated-juggler.htmlBy 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.

Heart Bursting with Pride, Winnipeg Free Press, Jan 7 06

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/subscriber/entertainment/story/3250710p-3764245c.html
MORLEY WALKER
Jan 7 2006

Layton excelled as poet, failed miserably as dad
DAVID Layton once caught his famous father, the poet Irving Layton, peeing in the bathroom sink.

He was a child of 10 at the time. David, not Irving, of course. Irving was putatively an adult.

David recalls the incident in the first pages of his 1999 memoir, Motion Sickness. In its details of parental absorption and marital infidelities, it could have provided a template for the current hit movie The Squid and the Whale.

It was instructive flipping through this memoir in the wake of Layton's death this week and his being lionized, rightly, by obituary writers for his contribution to Canadian letters.

"The toilet was no more than two feet away," David writes. "But there he was, balanced on his toes, peeing into the enamel washbowl."

Caught red-handed, as it were, Layton quickly stuffed his offending member in his trousers and turned on the faucet to rinse out the sink. His wife Aviva (wife No. 3 of 5, according to the obits) was furious when David tattled on him.

"I can't pull that boy away from your tit," Layton fired back at Aviva.

"Don't blame your son," she retorted.

"I'm not. I'm blaming you."

"At least he uses the toilet."

We mere mortals take solace in the knowledge that the first rank of creative people are often abysmal parents. It makes us feel better about our own mediocrity.

"I could have been a famous author/musician/actor/scientist/(insert preferred career option here)," we tell ourselves. "But I chose to be good at what really matters in life."

We may be fooling ourselves regarding our motives. Most people make a rational choice to be decent family men or women because there is nothing else that truly interests them.

Or, let's face it, because they realize they lack the goods to make it to the top of whatever racket they are in.
Layton, an absentee father, a philandering husband, a domestic incompetent, knew he had another gift.

Either that, or his gift controlled him. He lived up to our stereotype of the unruly Romantic poet. He could no more concentrate on the mundanities of daily life than an insurance agent could invent an arresting literary metaphor.

For all his personal faults, Layton developed a new way to use poetic language, free from the refinements of 19th-century British tradition. His work is blunt, coarse, confrontational, full of blood and life.

Here, almost at random, is a stanza mocking Christianity from his 1976 collection For My Brother Jesus:

Yes, my friends, though flattered and moved

and though my heart is bursting with pride

I cannot embrace the Faith as you do

having had an older brother Braham

whom I remember well for his evil halitosis

and a shlang you could measure

pine trees or bales of cloth;

given such memories and our strong

family ties, how could one Jew

believe in the divinity of another?

Maybe that's why he was peeing in the sink. To measure his shlang. Research.

In the 2003 documentary My Architect, Nathaniel Kahn tried to reconcile the two sides of his troubled father, the great American architect Louis I. Kahn. Aiyana Elliott tried to do the same with her boob of a dad, the folksinger Ramblin' Jack Elliott, in a documentary a few years earlier. Sometimes the kids just want to get even, as Joan Crawford's daughter Christina did in the classic memoir-turned-movie Mommie Dearest.

There's a lesson to be learned from this. For the child, it's simple: Choose your parents well. For the parent, it's harder. If you are going to be a rotten caregiver, at least be very good at something else, so you don't come across as a total loser in your child's revenge memoir, like the Jeff Daniels character in The Squid and the Whale.

David Layton returns to his urination motif in the final pages of Motion Sickness. Now a married adult, he takes Irving on a summer outing. The old man, frail and senile, decides to relieve himself against a wall in plain view of passersby.

"My father," David writes, "was a man who pissed where he wanted to."

From a son, the perfect epitaph for Irving Layton.

morley.walker@freepress.mb.ca

Conflicted Feelings (and Layton poem), blog entry, Jan 5 06

http://www.livejournal.com/users/compasspoints/
by Sarah, Toronto, Ontario
January 5 2006

10:35 am - layton

irving layton died today. he was 93 and had been in an old age home for a long time. (i found the address while googling for his bio. even though i'd known for awhile that he was in a home, it was still shocking to see the info so plainly accessible. to wonder how many people sent him mail he couldn't read.)

as much as i think a lot of his work is just a written hard-on, and as a person, he cultivated a real mysogynist image, he really ripped open poetry for me as a teenager. the library had a pretty grim modern poetry selection - mostly stuff from the 70's, and i quickly exhausted it. there was leonard cohen, margaret atwood and layton. (i was desperate to avoid anything "old" and rhyming)

i remember i wanted, not so secretly, to be brave and raunchy and in love or hate with everything, like he was - that was why all my teenage poems found desperate ways to include fuck or shit. he was an asshole sometimes, but he made me want to be a man. as conflicted as my feelings are about him, the news of his death gives me pause.

Against This Death

I have seen respectable
death
served up like bread and wine
in stores and offices,
in club and hostel,
and from the streetcorner
church
that faces
two-ways;
I have seen death
served up
like ice.

Against this death,
slow, certain:
the body,
this burly sun,
the exhalations
of your breath,
your cheeks
rose and lovely,
and the secret
life
of the imagination
scheming freedom
from labour
and stone.

- Irving Layton

Sharp Reflection (and Layton poem), stephenheipel.com, Jan 5 06

http://www.stevenheipel.com/2006/01/dead-poet.html
by Steven Heipel, Toronto, Ontario
January 5. 2006

Dead Poet

Irving Layton died, as you'll know if you've seen the papers.

A friend on another blog said he doesn't like Layton's work, which is a bit, ah, all encompassing considering the man's temporal span and canon. Layton's "collected" and "uncollected" works (that, I learned in an article today, involved a fight with an editor as to what should be included in a collected works and what should not and Layton's response of going to a second publisher so it was ALL published in the end )equals some 600 pages of poetry.

His scope is huge, his sense of epic strong, yet I've always loved this poem in its simplicity of form, ferocity of tone, and sharp reflection of Layton's famous sense of (rightfully earned) self importance:
___________________

To a Young Girl Sunbathing

By Irving Layton

The bare-breasted young girl
doesn’t even try to hide
her disappointment
when I lie down beside her
to get my share of the Greek sun

Is it my fault
she can't perceive wild genius
under the greying locks of hair
or that my bronzed loins
are more supple than her own?

posted by Heipel at 5:08 PM

COMMENTS:

joon said...

woops..i don't know about him so well..woops...
9:09 PM
----------

Mark said...

was he gay? because that last line makes him sound gay. and certainly wo uld explain why Bert doesn't like him.
9:23 PM
----------

Heipel said...

Layton was not gay. Ah, no. He was bedding 20-something female students (and marrying them if I'm not mistaken) at a very ripe age. And I think the last line is not about gay but more to do with what age does to flesh, especially THAT flesh, creating an irony of the male loins which should be(idealized) hard and toned, not the femmine soft and round (supple)...
11:09 AM

Goodnight Dr. Layton, blog entry, Jan 5 06

http://michaelappleby.blogspot.com/2006/01/good-night-dr-layton.html
by Michael Appleby, Edmonton, Alberta
January 5, 2005

Good Night Dr. Layton

An Act of Kindness, blog entry, Jan 06

http://toddswift.blogspot.com/2006/01/canadas-greatest-poet-dies.html
by Todd Swift, London, UK
Canada's Greatest Poet Dies

Irving Layton - Canada's greatest modern poet - and the most lyrically agonistic and antagonistic - has died, at 93, in Montreal, in the dead of winter. If Bloom is right - and he surely is - then Layton is the strong poet so many of the younger poets of my generation wrestled with, along with Klein and Cohen.

As Leonard Cohen has said: "I taught him how to dress - he taught me how to live forever."

One personal anecdote, which illuminates how generous and grandiose and dramatic Layton could be:

15 years ago, when I was 24, I mailed him a small selection of poems I'd written with a note asking if he thought I had what it took to be a poet - well, a few weeks pass, when one Sunday afternoon the phone rings at a friend's home (eccentric Boston poet Eric Sigler) - how he ever tracked me down, I don't know! - so, Eric hands me the phone, with a droll smile, saying "It's Irving Layton, for you" (shades of "Paging Mr. Superman") - and Layton, exuberant and helpful and lovely, tells me he has read my sheaf of poems, and assures me I have talent, should keep going, and wishes me well in my career as a poet. I've never forgotten that act of kindness, and it has marked my own work to encourage other poets, and inspired me to keep writing.

The T.S. Review humbly offers a cut and pasted The Globe & Mail article.

I should add, the lack of notice - so far - in the British press is disgraceful, if somewhat par for the course.

Dance with Desire (and Layton poem), blog entry, Jan 5 06

http://deadjoemerrick.net/blog/?p=61
by Joe Merrick
Irving Layton, 1912-2006
January 5, 2006

They dance best who dance with desire,
Who lifting feet of fire from fire
Weave before they lie down
a red carpet for the sun.

~from ‘For Mao Tse-Tung: A Meditation on Flies and Kings’.

Dominated our Literature, blog entry, Jan 5 06

http://inthenewstoday11.blogspot.com/2006/01/irving-layton.html
by Newshunter
January 5, 2006

Irving Layton

I was drinking a diet coke when I came across these comments. In the fall of 1974 , Layton fell for Harriet Bernstein, the big beautiful brunette who stole his heart and most of his attention during the year he headed up our creative-writing course . (more) During the years he dominated our literature and single-wordedly elevated it to world-class standards , bluster by bluster , Irving Layton , a galvanising force unto himself and an utterly captivating catalyst for others , proved he possessed the poetic mind of a man-in-a-million .

Thanks for your interest in Irving Layton and I wish all of you . . .

Think about it!

Blue and Lovely, My Love (and Layton poem), blog entry, Jan 4 06

http://amandaearl.blogspot.com/2006/01/irving-layton-1912-2006.html
by Amanda Earl @ 2:10 PM
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Irving Layton 1912-2006

Irving Layton died today, two months short of his 94th birthday. Sad news. I thought the man would live forever.

Blue and Lovely, My Love

Blue and lovey, my Love,
are the butterflies on your shoulders.
I heard you sing for them
when you were false to everything
including the snapshot of my grandmother
I gave you under the evening star.
They shoveled me into the cold earth
but I heard your singing:
I was ash but I still heard you.
It is no longer you or your voice
that torments me;
It's the blue butterflies looking for me
between the tall grasses
that grow from stilled desire and disdain
as if they were my hands reaching for your face.

Love Poems, Irving Layton, Mosaic Press, 2002

"I'm knocked out by the richness, the resonance, the generosity, the hard intelligence, the clarity, the passion, and above all else, the great, great aching tenderness..." Leonard Cohen

Butterfly on Rock (and Layton poem), blog entry, Jan 4 06

http://www.livejournal.com/users/yourpony/123185.html
RIP Irving Layton
by Ally, Brooklyn, NY
January 4, 2006

Irving Layton died today in Montreal at the age of 93. His poetry has moved me as much as any poetry ever has. There was nothing like studying his work in Montreal in the fall of 2001.

Rest in Peace.

"Butterfly on Rock", 1963.

The large yellow wings, black-fringed,
were motionless

They say the soul of a dead person
will settle like that on the still face

But I thought: The rock has borne this;
this butterfly is the rock’s grace,
its most obstinate and secret desire
to be a thing alive made manifest

Forgot were the two shattered porcupines
I had seen die in the bleak forest.
Pain is unreal; death an illusion:
There is no death in all the land,
I heard my voice cry;
And brought my hand down on the butterfly
And felt the rock move beneath my hand.

Deeply Affected (including Layton poems), blog entry, Jan 4 06

http://www.livejournal.com/users/xquerenciax/254679.html
R.I.P. IRVING LAYTON
by Querencia
January 4, 2006
Inspiring, Groundbreaking Poet Dead At 93

Those who know me know how deeply I was affected by Layton's work, so much so that I named my band after his poem "The Improved Binoculars" and put the same poem to music. He had been suffering a long time, and I'm glad that he's out of his misery, but it's hard to accept that a poet who has shaped both my understanding of the written word and of our city for the past seven years is finally gone. He lived well and was a true inspiration to many, and I'm sad to see him go.

COMMENTS:

yourpony
2006-01-04 10:57 pm
wow. This hurts more than I might have thought.
----------

xquerenciax
2006-01-04 11:08 pm
I talked with Trehearne about him back in the summer sometime and from what I heard he'd been in terrible shape for some time. Trehearne said that for his sake he hoped he'd die sooner rather than later and that the confusion and misery would be over, that he was practically dead already except that he had to deal with a series of interruptions from people who were essentially strangers who felt they had the right to barge into his room at Maimonides. I don't think I'd ever heard Trehearne swear out of the context of classroom quoting before, and I was a little shocked to hear how frank he wise in explaining his disgust with those who refused to let Layton die in peace and dignity, but I sure understood where he was coming from.

At any rate, I think tonight will be about A Red Carpet For The Sun.
----------

yourpony
2006-01-04 11:14 pm
Somewhere I still have the coursepack Trehearne had to photocopy for us, for so much was shamefully out of print, at least then. Given the choices at home, I'll most likely rummage around for that old course pack and probably The Improved Binoculars, and a cup of tea..
----------

The Improved Binoculars
Irving Layton

Below me the city was in flames:
the firemen were the first to save
themselves. I saw steeples fall on their knees.

I saw an agent kick the charred bodies
from an orphanage to one side, marking
the site for a future speculation.

Lovers stopped short of the final spasm
and went off angrily in opposite directions,
their elbows held by giant escorts of fire.

Then the dignitaries rode across the bridges
under an auricle of light which delighted them,
nothing for later punishment those that went before.

And the rest of the populace, their mouths
distorted by an unusual gladness, bawled thanks
to this comely and ravaging ally, asking

Only for more light with which to see
their neighbour's destruction.

All this I saw through my improved binoculars.

---

I've always pictured this poem as the view of Montreal from the mountain. In honour of that, I climbed the mountain with Philippe tonight. Just got in from the long walk a moment ago. The light up there was perfect-- clouds of falling snow, wet enough that it stuck to and coated the trees completely. We tried scampering and sliding down the side a ways, but turned back when it only got steeper and icier, fording our way through knee-deep snow. I love this city so much.

Mortuary

Flesh has fallen away. Trees
And buildings are summer's skeleton;
Wind has loosened, disarrayed
The separate ribs, the evidence of bone.
Dead, deposited relics
Shored up clean against a stiffened sky,
Fixed by the mortician cold
Moving his fingers over them ceaselessly;
While the snow, decently to inter,
Drifts between the spaces, everywhere.

---

Second stanza of Street Funeral:

This frosty morning,
the coffin wood bursting
into brilliant flowers,
Is he glad
that after all the lecheries,
betrayals, subserviency,
After all the lusts,
false starts, evasions
he can begin the unobstructed change
into clean grass
Done forever
with the insult of brth,
the long adultery
with illusion?

It gives me some strange comfort to know that Irving Layton died with Musia Schwartz by his side, some 50 years after he wrote this poem to her:

For Musia's Grandchildren

I write this poem
for your grandchildren
for they will know of your loveliness
only from hearsay,
from yellowing photographs
spread out on table and sofa
for a laugh.

When arrogant
with the lovely grace you gave their flesh
they regard your dear frail body pityingly,
your time-dishonoured cheeks
pallid and sunken
and those hands
that I have kissed a thousand times
mottled by age
and stroking a grey ringlet into place,
I want them suddenly to see you as I saw you
- beautiful as the first bird at dawn.

Dearest love, tell them
that I, a crazed poet all his days
who made woman
his ceaseless study and delight,
begged but one boon
in this world of mournful beasts
that are almost human:
to live praising your marvellous eyes
mischief could make glisten
like winter pools at night
or appetite put a fine finish on.

On The Death of A. Vishinsky
by Irving Layton

Adults are children merely
with a larger vocabulary:
my fears are no different from
when I was a six-year son.

This I my wife abuses;
and others, my principal:
who lives by daily ruses
a desperate animal

Heard today how quietly
the fluent Vishinsky died:
if he could not out-talk Death
what chance have I, so tongue tied?

Words Cannot do Justice (and Layton poem), blog entry, Jan 5 06

http://spaces.msn.com/members/poet/
Irving Layton Is Dead: 1912-2006
by Pete
January 05

The great Jewish Canadian poet Irving Layton is dead. He died yesterday at the age of 93.

Leonard Cohen said yesterday from Montreal, "There was Irving Layton, and then there was the rest of us. He is our greatest poet, our greatest champion of poetry. Alzheimer's could not silence him, and neither will death."

- Globe and Mail


Layton was a great poet, at times vulgar and offensive, but still a great poet. My words cannot do Layton justice so please find below one of Layton's own poems.

========================================================

THE CARILLON

Like a sponge the poet soaks up the sewage
of evil trespass and self-delusion
running through the ruts of this dark epoch.
His head is a black cloud about to burst.
From his own self must come light and truth,
the long-awaited word to stifle discord ;
let it be plain as cut parsnip on a plate
or the wall of his house when sunlight strikes.
Utterance alone can heal the ailing spirit
and make man and poet a single self ;
bring back on the long vein of memory
the laughter and wholeness of childhood.
Never will he beg off from his pursuit
as did Isaiah though he sees too plain
how impurity and self-betrayal
make the prophet’s voice clunk like a cracked bell.
In the creative word lies redemption.
At the darkest hour somewhere the sun,
the life-giving sun, turns feculent swamps
into grasslands where gazelles run and play.
Let it burn out the eyes of his sockets.
He’ll stare it down into the terrorized cities ;
bring his human fears to it as to a bonfire
and hear his voice chime like a carillon.

(1982 – A Wild Peculiar Joy: Selected Poems 1945-1982,
Toronto, McClelland & Stewart, 1982)

COMMENTS:

Wow, that's quite the compliment coming from someone like Leonard Cohen. I'll have to look up some more of Layton's stuff.

I particularly liked this line:

"In the creative word lies redemption."

But then I do have a bias.
Published By April - January 06 5:55 AM

Controversial Poet (and Layton poem), blog entry, Jan 6 06

http://briancampbell.blogspot.com/
IRVING LAYTON RECONSIDERED
by Brian Campbell
January 6, 2006

On the day of his death, I posted the poem Against this Death below as well as in the comments box of Silliman’s blog. It seemed a fitting epitaph for the man – and to counter (as far as my influence may extend, which seems pretty minimal, but actually hard to determine what with Google & all) the pat assessments already floating around dismissing his poetry as bombastic, misogynistic, etc.

Up in these parts, especially at about the time I started seriously reading and writing poetry around 1980 or so, Irving Layton was a force to be reckoned with. He was Canada’s best known, celebrated, awarded, most controversial poet – a true media star, the quintessence of literary lion. In my childhood I had watched him arguing vociferously with the likes of Nathan Cohen, Pierre Berton & Robert Fulford on CBC’s TV's weekly Fighting Words. He became the only Canadian to be nominated for the Nobel Prize. One of the first books of poetry I ever got was his Governer General's Award-winning Red Carpet for the Sun – which remains, in memory at least, a fabulous creation. Looking back on it now, I can’t help but admit he was – and probably still is – a huge & seminal influence. Returning to the national scene, I’m quite sure he’s the last poet I’ll ever see whose death will rate front page coverage and full-page testimonials in the all major newspapers up here… not to mention major spots on the television news, etc. (Leonard Cohen’s passing, I’m quite certain, will get still greater coverage, but he is far better known as a singer-songwriter than as a poet.)

It’s also indicative of Canadian attitudes that in all that coverage, precious little of his actual poetry got aired. Quips and barbs, yes. A few nice, sentimental lines on the front page of The Montreal Gazette. And this oft-quoted thing, on an inside page, flanked by two big pictures:

MISUNDERSTANDING
by Irving Layton

I placed
my hand
upon
her thigh.

By the way
she moved
away
I could see
her devotion
to literature
was not
perfect.


Ha ha. A poetic quip that still makes me smile. But… GG Award? Nobel Prize? What a goddamned joke!

This is (it pretty well goes without saying) a prose continent. The journalists and reviewers, if & when they cover it at all, actually manage to block access to poetry. I think they’re actually ashamed of it, afraid of admitting being moved enough by it to print it, afraid it will compromise their so-called professionalism. It’s a curious phenomenon. Compare with Latin America, where national dailies like Mexico City’s Excelsior or Managua’s La Prensa print whole poems – passionate, lengthy poems, not just jokey things -- in their weekly cultural section.

I’m having fun writing this. But it’s time to go to bed. To be continued....

P.S. Well, it's way past my bedtime. Just saw the Toronto Globe and Mail, which my partner had bought earlier in the day -- it seems to their credit they did far better than the Gazette or CBC. Two complete poems in the review section. A Canadian first, I think.

Sunshine, Fire, Tears and Curses (and Layton poem), Jan 5 06

http://jacksatu.blogspot.com/
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Mr.Irving Layton, 1912-2006
posted by Jack Saturday at 2:25 PM

I suspect he said the same to Charon, who was often depicted as a cranky, skinny old man.

MAN GOING UP AND DOWN by Irving Layton

Only he and I were in the lift.
"Do you like what you're doing?" I asked.
The lustreless stare he gave me was
One I've seen on coons crushed but intact
Lying inert on countryside roads;
But his voice burst like a tire: "I don't!"

"Then why not walk out with me - right now?"
We had reached my floor. "I'd desolate
This whole city, yes, massacre each
Man, woman, and child in it before
I'd let them put me into a cage
To run like a monkey up and down.
Come, leave behind you this accursed car.
Let it stand void for all eternity."

He now looked at me mistrustfully
As he opened the door. "Look, mister,"
He said, "You must be one of these men
I hear about with sharp ideas
For changing people's lives and the world.
I've been taught about the likes of you.
Well, no one is changing me, no sir.
I've my job and I'll stick to it, see?"
Not more proud looked young Alexander
In his tent among his Greek captains
The night he overwhelmed Darius,
Or blond Charles when he slew the Polacks,
Or Don Juan after his hundredth lay.

"You sad mutt," I said almost aloud
As he held up his head, offended.
I'd have thrown him a bone had I one.
"Civilization could not endure
A single hour without your trapped soul."
In the next instant he had changed back
Into the affable tool he was.

I strode out of the elevator.
A rush of stale air followed me out
And turning to find what had made it
I saw myself pursued by the shades
Of half-a-score indignant teachers,
Three pallid clergymen dressed in black,
And a vile woman, doubtless his wife
--Or the Medusa, if you prefer myths.

Me and Irving Layton

Instead of political or economic shit, last night I was working through an old cassette of some guy talking about poetry and reading his own excellent work and that of others—it was a talk also about duendé. I stayed in the oven of my studio later than usual to finish mining this moving tape, and then went out in the January night to air the pie I was, having dropped this wonderful stuff into the deep-dish with all the other stuff I had mined that day. I was pie in the sky! “This stuff is very good for my health,” I acknowledged—both physical and emotional. Other thoughts and references came to mind as I walked the Lansdowne golf course—a little muddy on the east side of the little fir forest.

Irving Layton was dying just then, or had just made that crossing. This morning CBC1 played a clip of Irving in 1978 declaring that poets are physicians to the world, more so than Freud or Jung.

Layton’s poetry was rich, full of sunshine, fire, tears and curses, especially toward bourgeois respectability.

I have a woman friend who grew up in the circles populated by Layton, Cohen etc. Slept with Leonard, who she says was kind, but turned down Layton—she said he was driving her somewhere, and when she turned down his offer he stopped the car and abandoned her there and then—as I recall it was not her home city. That’s gossip.

“The most serious theological question of our time is whether Jesus ever had an erection. And why should that not be discussed, if he was the perfect man, he must have had the perfect erection, right?”
--Irving Layton, 1978

They dance best who dance with desire
Who lifting feet of fire from fire
Weave before they lie down
A red carpet for the sun
- Irving Layton

Egotistic & Misogynistic, blog entry, Jan 5 06

http://fence.blogspot.com/2006/01/dead-poets-society-admits-one-irving.html
J.Kelly
January 5, 2006
Dead Poet's Society admits one Irving Layton

It is sad to be an atheist,
Sadder yet to be one with a limp phallus.

Poet Irving Layton is dead at 93. To be completely honest, which is of course what he'd want, I'm not a huge fan of him or his egotistic, misogynistic poetry. As my grandmother always says, "He was so mean to his wife." (Which one of the five she's talking about, I'm not sure.)

But he did tutor Leonard Cohen -- and for that reason alone he is worthy of our thanks. (Other students of his include Moses Znaimer and Irwin Cotler. Thanks?)

I suppose, to be fair, he's got a few good poems of his own, too. And many more about his dick. ("It amazes me that organs that piss / Can give human beings such perfect bliss.")

If you have an Irving Layton memory you can post it on this tribute blog. One hopes that he didn't outlive all his lovers.

Learning about Layton, canadian-issues.com, Jan 4 06

http://www.canadian-issues.com/
by Eric
January 04, 2006
Irving Layton Montreal Poet Passes away

It has been reported on CBC and other Canadian news sources that Montreal poet Irving Layton, one of Canada's most influential poets and writers has passed away.

He won the Governor General's Award in 1959 for his book of poetry A red carpet for the sun, which is considered to be one of the most influential books of poetry every produced by a Canadian. He was also nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1981 and was a poet in residence at several universities in Canada and professor of English for 9 years at York University.

I will openly admit that I knew nothing of him or his work (and still know next to nothing), and I imagine that many (if not most) Canadians are the same, and that is a great tragedy. Yes, I can say that without having read any of his work. It is a very sad thing that we Canadians don't celebrate our accomplishments and heros to the extent that they deserve. We are all too willing to sell ourselves short, and all too unwilling to put our fellow Canadians on a pedestal and acknowledge their acheivements with pride.

We need to be made aware (and put in the personal effort to become aware) of the accomplishments Canada and Canadians have made, and to hold them high and be proud of them. This is an individual and a community responsibility that we need to take far more seriously.

I have included below a series of links to sites about Irving Layton, a man who changed the face of Canadian writing, as I have learned today.

A One-Man Culture War (and Layton poem "Misunderstanding"), Jan 6 06

http://robmclennan.blogspot.com/
posted by rob mclennan @ 3:04 PM, Ottawa, Ontario
Friday, January 06, 2006
Irving Layton: 1912-2006

When I was still a student wandering the halls of Glengarry District High School in Alexandria, Ontario, the first single-author poetry collection by any author that I got my hands on was Irving Layton's For My Brother Jesus (1976). It was probably the only single author poetry collection in the entire library (and why that one? I remember asking). I don't know if it made me write any m6ore, or any better, but it was certainly a book that I remember. After years of battling Alzheimer's, Irving Layton died on January 4th in a Montreal care facility where he had been living since 2000.

Called many things over the years, including misogynist, leader, crank, minor poet and great poet, Montreal poet Irving Layton was a great many things to a great many people, including one of three involved (with Louis Dudek and Raymond Souster) in the magazine and publishing house Contact Press, publishing not only their own works and writings by their contemporaries, but important early works by George Bowering, Gwendolyn MacEwen and others. As important as a public figure as a writer of verse, Layton was the author of over forty poetry collections, as well as a memoir, Waiting for the Messiah, where he claimed that he was born circumcised, making him (obviously) a reincarnation of the long-awaited Messiah. In his introduction to Layton's work in 15 Canadian Poets x3 (Toronto ON: Oxford University Press, 2001), editor Gary Geddes wrote: "Because he is so outspoken and graphic in his denunciations, Layton was for many years the best-known and most controversial figure in Canadian poetry. Like Auden, he believes that the writing of poetry is a political act […]." Geddes goes on to quote a section of the Preface Layton wrote to Laughing Rooster (1964):

"In this country the poet has always had to fight for his survival. He lives in a middle-class milieu whose values of money-getting, respectability, and success are hostile to the kind of integrity and authenticity that is at the core of his endeavour. His need to probe himself makes him an easy victim for those who have more practical things to do--to hold down a job, amass a fortune, or to get married and raise children. His concern is to change the world; at any rate, to bear witness that another besides the heartless, stupid, and soul destroying one men have created is possible."

An important part of Canadian modernism, his bravado and prolific production made Layton the first poet that many people in Canada first heard and read, especially when he started teaching high school in Montreal, or university at York University in Toronto, counting CHUM mogul Moses Znaimer as one of many former students influenced by him. He had a selected poems published by American publisher New Directions in 1945, and corresponded regularly with a number of poets, including Robert Creeley, and former student Leonard Cohen helped support him during his last few years, and called him master. Nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature a number of times, Layton was perhaps but one of a couple of Canadian writers that have nearly taken the prize (Canada only got the award once, if you count Montreal born Saul Bellow, who left with his family for the United States when he was still a baby).

I saw him read only once, when he came to Ottawa to launch a new edition of his selected love poems, Dance with Desire (The Porcupines' Quill, Inc.) back in March, 1993 at Magnum Books, as part of a reading series organized by The Porcupines' Quill senior editor, John Metcalf. It was standing room only, with a number of latecomers forced to stand outside in the cold, as Layton held court from the podium. The best part, of course, that the event was (accidentally, I'm sure) held on International Women's Day, something I found enormously funny at the time (and still do). My favourite Irving Layton poem has to be "Misunderstanding," simply because of the sheer simplicity of the feelings (lust, arrogance, etcetera) presented within.

Misunderstanding

I placed
my hand
upon
her thigh.

By the way
she moved
away
I could see
her devotion
to literature
was not perfect.

There are a few of his collections still available, including Dance with Desire and a new edition of The Improved Binoculars (1956) that was reissued by The Porcupine's Quill a few years back, as well as Wild Gooseberries: Selected Letters (1989), edited by Francis Mansbridge.

Ottawa poet Colin Morton sent this note out about Layton on the League of Canadian Poets list-serve yesterday (I've actually heard him tell this Newlove story a few times, each one slightly varied from the previous…):

Irving Layton was one of the first poets I read, in the old Poets of MidCentury anthology, when I caught the poetry bug in grade 12, certainly one whose example encouraged me, in the arrogance and inexperience of youth, to go ahead and write:

"Whatever else poetry is freedom.
Forget the rhetoric, the trick of lying
All poets pick up sooner or later."

On rereading, it's disappointing how often his poems and their rhetoric have failed to age well. About a decade ago I saw John Newlove at a reading, and the bee up John's nose that day was the nerve of Layton's biographer to say that Layton wrote only six great poems in his lifetime.

"ONLY six great poems!" John griped. "How many does it take?"

Jokingly, I replied, "Well, John, you've written five. Do you have another one in you?" He didn't, but I'd now grant him eight or ten, and wish I could tell him so.

Layton okay, six. But add that to the distinction of having waged, and even won, his one-man culture war against Canadian stuffiness and decorum. There's something to celebrate.

by Colin

St Louis Post Dispatch article, Jan 5 06

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/O/OBIT_LAYTON?SITE=MOSTP&SECTION=HOME
Republished Associated Press article, Jan 5.

Poetic Diction, blog entry, Jan 06

http://pangrammaticon.blogspot.com/2006/01/poetic-diction-1912-2006.html#comments
posted by Thomas Basbøll at 5:58 PM, Copenhagen, Denmark

Poetic Diction (1912-2006)

"Scurrilous" was what the lady critic
called the poet Irving Layton.

And "scurrilous" were Friedrich Nietzsche's
final leaps and dances.

1 (of a person or language) grossly or
indecently abusive 2 given to or ...

No, I think that Nietzsche's dance
was something of a scamper

(bustle, haste, 3 a flurry of rain or snow)
that he took short, quick steps.

And that it was the poet's humour that
the lady critic thought was low.

Houston Chronicle article, Jan 5 06

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/world/3568545.html
Republished Associated Press article, Jan 5.

Maudlin, Clunky Verse, blog entry, Jan 5 06

http://ng.berzerker.net/?p=7
January 5, 2006

Irving Layton dies, ‘world’ mourns

Can we please stop pretending every Canadian who picks up a pencil is a genius?

Irving Layton, boring Canadian poet, has died at 93. Sympathies to Mr. Layton’s friends and family, but if you didn’t know Layton the man, then you probably shouldn’t be grieving for Layton the poet. He wrote maudlin, clunky verse that was sometimes snobbish, occasionally weepy, and always outdated. It’s almost as if he had never read a poem published after 1890, or any of the moderns, and blithely went about re-inventing his own inferior modern style about 30 years too late. Yet the Star calls him a ‘trailblazer.’

Before Layton, Canadian poets tended to be regarded as tweedy romantics, celebrating nature in the Victorian tradition. Layton changed all that. His poetry owed more to his childhood experience of his acid-tongued mother and the verbal combativeness of the Jewish immigrant community in Montreal than it did to Longfellow or Wordsworth. He was also the first Canadian literary figure to use the media as a vehicle of self-promotion.

Holy literary cliches. A break with Victorianism, acid-tongued mothers, self-promotion in the media. You can read about his pioneering use of socialist politics as a poetic accessory and his “anti-bourgeois attitude,” too. Did Layton “drag Canadian poetry, kicking and screaming, into the 20th ceutnry” as someone said in the Gazette’s obit, or into the 19th? Does anyone believe he would ever have been published or taken seriously outside of Canada?

Maybe Canada’s nanny state and perpetual identity crisis just don’t breed good artists. Maybe the showering of money and laurels all over the most mediocre of Canadian talents has created an atmosphere that’s actually hostile to fresh, innovative art.

COMMENTS:

1. A little shortsighted, no? Maybe you should turn down the Coldplay on your I-Pod, and go read some poetry before you make silly statements such as this.

Comment by Jack Ruttan — January 6, 2006

Torontoist.com article, Jan 5 06

http://www.torontoist.com/archives/news/

RIP Irving Layton

Irving Layton, one of Canada's greatest poets, and mentor to the likes of Leonard Cohen and Al Purdy, passed away yesterday at the age of 93.

There is a blog to share various Layton memories on.

Photo from Irving Layton.com.
Posted by Alison

580 CFRA Radio, Ottawa, Jan 5 06

http://www.cfra.com/headlines/index.asp?cat=2&nid=35344
Irving Layton Dead At 93
Cindy Clyne
Thursday, January 05, 2006 3:19 AM

Poet Irving Layton is dead.

The nobel prize-nominated Layton died on Wednesday in Montreal at the age of 93.

Layton was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease in 1994. He published more than forty books and was named to the Order of Canada in 1976.

Coming-of-Age Poem, blog entry, Jan 4 06

http://www.johnwmacdonald.com/blog/blog.html
by John W. MacDonald @ Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A Very Short Coming-of-Age Poem For Two Voices

rob mclennan just got word that Irving Layton died today. From his email:

I just got an email from Ottawa poet Seymour Mayne that Montreal poet Irving Layton passed away today, two months shy of his 94th birthday. Information on Layton can be found at:

http://www.library.utoronto.ca/canpoetry/layton/
http://www.irvinglayton.com/
http://www.ucalgary.ca/UofC/faculties/HUM/ENGL/canada/poet/i_layton.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irving_Layton
http://www.cbc.ca/lifeandtimes/layton.html
http://www.umanitoba.ca/cm/vol2/no26/layton.html

rob

also you can read the tribute weblog that Tara has set up here: irvinglayton.blogspot.com
_______________
So, in commemoration on my weblog here on johnwmacdonald.com, I have written two poems that Layton would probably approve of... or not.

A Very Short Coming-of-Age Poem For Two Voices

I'm lonely.
You're stupid.

I'm horny.
Yeah, me too.

I love you.
You stink bad.

See you then?
Go to hell.

Young Layton in my bathroom
[Ahh... read "car pet" for the son.]

Posing as did Rodin's Thinker
I thought it was Jesus at first read

But then they looked more like Lenin
Only with longer hair

At second sight it's a young Layton in my bathroom
His bust mystically etched on 121 mottled floor tiles

In varying angular positions of incongruous clarity
Framed as an accidental mosaic

You have to witness these poetic portraits for yourself
Sitting with fist against chin

____________________
An Irving Layton inspired poem can be found here as well:

Stephen's http://phrenology1011.blogspot.com/2006/01/for-i-l-1912-2006.html

FOR I. L (1912-2006)
Bone and Skin

Tailbone cloves
the heel
of a hand

Where skin
cheats fingers
and bone

And soft wails
where teeth
meet tail

And bone
cheats skin
cloying bone

From wail
and heel
skin and hand

posted by Stephen Rowntree at 11:23 PM

Rest, Irving, blog entry, Jan 5 06

http://wildpeculiarjoy.blogspot.com/2006/01/rest-irving.html
posted by Jo, Jan 5 2006 @ 9:01 PM, Delaware, USA
Rest, Irving.

I knew there had to be some other reason I was upset today. I went to the CBC website to catch up on my daily Canadiana and came across this:

http://www.cbc.ca/story/arts/national/2006/01/04/Layton-Obit.html

The man, the poet, from whom I derived this blog's title, died today. I'm sure he was a lecherous old man given his poetry, but I loved him anyway.

An excerpt from 'Look, The Lambs Are All Around Us'

"Your figure, love,
curves itself
into a man's memory;
or to put it the way
a junior prof
at Mount Allison might,
Helen with her thick
absconding limbs
about the waist
of Paris
did no better."

And to finish with a line from Irving Layton's 'Compositions in Late Spring'

"Death is a name for beauty not in use."

Rest, Irving.

One of the West’s Most Famous Poets, blog entry, Jan 5 06

http://shootingpoets.blogspot.com/
by Nick, Canada
January 5, 2006
Poet Irving Layton Dies in Montreal at Age 93

(1912-2006)

“When I first clapped eyes on the poems of Irving Layton I let out a yell of joy… for the way he greeted the world he was celebrating, head up, eyes propped wide.… He inhabits the medium [of poetry] and is at home in it, passionately.… With his vigor and abilities, who shall not say that Canada will not have produced one of the west’s most famous poets?”

William Carlos Williams

“...And, at last, both famous and good

I'm a Doge, a dog

At the end of a terrace

Where poems like angels like flakes of powder

Quaver above my prickling skin."

Composition in Late Spring, Selected Poems 1945-89 A Wild Peculiar Joy, M&S: 1989

New Mexico Tribute (and Layton poem), blog entry, Jan 5 06

http://arroyochamisa.blogspot.com/2006/01/irving-layton-1912-2006.html
posted by AlexG, Santa Fe, New Mexico
January 5, 2006
Irving Layton (1912-2006)

"Commuters pressed against me
as if my good looks were contagious,
and I had a sudden vision
of mashed potatoes."

Irving Layton

Boston.com article, Jan 5 06

http://www.boston.com/news/world/canada/articles/2006/01/05/top_canadian_poet_irving_layton_dies_at_93/
Republished Associated Press article, Jan 5.

Daily Camera, Boulder, CO, Jan 6 06

http://www.dailycamera.com/bdc/obituaries/article/0,1713,BDC_2437_4367943,00.html
Republished Associated Press article, Jan 5.