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Seeking Submissions for Al Purdy Tribute Anthology

Posted: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 at 5:10pm

To mark the centenary of the birth of famed Canadian poet Al Purdy, Harbour Publishing is calling for submissions for a 2018 anthology of poems written in tribute to the author, to be edited by BC poet Tom Wayman, with Emma Skagen.

Purdy, who died in 2000, wrote more than three dozen collections of poems, two memoirs, a novel, and a number of anthologies and collections of his correspondence. He twice was awarded the Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry, and was an Officer of the Order of Canada and a Member of the Order of Ontario. His volume Rooms for Rent in the Outer Planets: Selected Poems 1963–1996 was a Canada Reads 2006 selection.

Purdy is “the closest thing to a national poet English Canada has produced,” according to Toronto poet, anthologist and critic Dennis Lee. A statue of the poet was erected in Queen’s Park in Toronto in 2008. “Every word of Purdy’s collected poems sings with greatness,” critic Robert Wiersema wrote in the Canadian publishing trade journal Quill & Quire.

Harbour Publishing issued several of Purdy’s books between 1993 and 2014, including Beyond Remembering: The Collected Poems of Al Purdy in 2000. Harbour Publishing head Howard White echoes Dennis Lee in calling Purdy “Canada’s poet.” “Anybody can read him, and have a ball doing it,” White said. “I can’t think of a poet that would do all Canadians more good to sit down and read at this point in our history. It might save us yet.” 

Previously published and new poems written in Purdy’s honour are both eligible for consideration. Up to three poems per poet may be submitted; the deadline for submissions is Purdy’s 99th birthday, Dec. 30, 2017. In addition to their poems, poets should include: 

  • a short bio (maximum 50 words);
  • a brief statement about what Purdy and/or or his poems have meant to the writer (maximum 200 words); and
  • the name of the original publisher of any previously printed Purdy tribute poems.

Submissions should be sent to or Attn: Purdy Tribute Anthology, P.O. Box 219, Madeira Park, BC V0N 2H0. See Harbour Publishing's Submission Guidelines for more information.