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CBC.ca features Al Purdy: An Uncommon Poet


March 11, 2005

CBC Archives explores the unconventional works of Canada's grand old man of poetry in a feature that encompasses almost forty years of Al Purdy’s career. “His unconventional works poeticized barroom brawls, hockey players and homemade beer,” says CBC Archives. “Al Purdy’s work forced Canadians to re-evaluate their understanding of poetry and themselves.”

The first audio feature dates back to 1967 when Al Purdy was forty-eight years old. CBC notes that at the time, Purdy—the “new darling of the CanLit scene”—was “the unlikeliest of poets: high-school dropout, rider of the rails, former farm labourer, demoted RCAF sergeant, taxicab entrepreneur and retired mattress-factory worker.” This CBC interview took place after Purdy won a Governor General’s Award for The Cariboo Horses, published in 1965.

Other Purdy readings and interviews on the CBC website include an audio recording of him reading from The Cariboo Horses (1971); the CBC TV dramatization of his famous poem “At the Quinte Hotel” (1987); a recording of a tribute to Purdy that took place at the International Festival of Authors in Toronto (1996); and an interview with Sam Solecki, editor of Yours, Al: The Collected Letters of Al Purdy, which also includes a dramatized reading of Purdy’s letters by actor Gordon Pinsent (2004).

To listen to or view these clips, please follow the link : CBC Archives