ON Poet as Humorous Curmudegeon

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(softcover, McClelland & Stewart, 1965; inscription to a bookseller)

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(dj, McClelland & Stewart, 1967; paintings: A. Y. Jackson–the famous Group of 7 artist (featured earlier in this blog); cover design:  Frank Newfeld (featured later in this blog)

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(left: dj, Harbour Publishing, 2000; photo: Frank O’Connor, design: Martin Nichols, Lionheart Graphics; right: rare cassette, McClelland & Stewart, 1990; photo: Julia Ashberry, Belleville Intelligencer; design: Richard Miller)

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(rare CD, Cyclops Press, 1998, read by Purdy; design: Clint Hutzulak at Rayola Design)

Al(fred Wellington) Purdy (1918-200) was born in Wooler, ON and was a major 20th century free-verse poet with 39 books of poems to his name. He was a high school dropout who rode the rails to Vancouver, later joining the RCAF in World War II. Purdy moved to Ameliasburg, ON in 1957, building his famous (preserved) A-frame cottage there. He split the rest of his life between there and North Saanich, BC.

Purdy was a friend of American Beat author Charles Bukowski and a writer-in-residence at sevral universities. He won the Governor-General’s Award for The Cariboo Horses in 1965 and for his Collected Poems in 1986. A memorial statue in honour of him created by Edwin and Veronica Dam de Nogales can be viewed in Toronto.

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