In a documentary playing at this month’s Toronto International Film Festival, Margaret Atwood calls poet Al Purdy a drinker who would argue with you and insult you, then stomp off and piddle on your car tire.
Purdy was enamoured of his own masculinity, considered himself a lover and a fighter, and was known for his poetry about hard work and boozing. He was also, many believe, one of the country’s best and most accessible poets – an astonishing stylist filled with insight into the human condition.
The film, by Brian D. Johnson, is titled Al Purdy Was Here. The poet died in 2000, but is certainly not forgotten. If his sensibility appeals, consider Purdy’s Rooms For Rent In The Outer Planets: Selected Poems, 1962-1996 (published in 1996, it’s filed in Adult Non-fiction at 819.15).
— September 17, 2015