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All Al All the Time


Posted: April 7, 2006

Dying doesn't seem to have slowed Al Purdy down one bit. We have often referred to him as Canada's favourite poet but now we have proof: a recent survey of Canadian poetry sales by BookNet Canada found Purdy's selected,

Rooms for Rent in the Outer Planets: Selected Poems 1962-1996 (Harbour) is the top selling book of poetry by a Canadian author and second only to Khalil Gibran's The Prophet (which isn't really poetry) on the international list. The only other Canadians on the list are Irving Layton in ninth place and  Robert W. Service in twelfth place.

Purdy was the subject of a public panel discussion at CBC's Studio One in Vancouver last Sunday moderated by Hal Wake and Sheryl MacKay with Harbour authors Patrick Lane, Susan Musgrave and Howard White. Over 100 attended the 1.5-hour event. The program was broadcast on CBC's North by Northwest April 15-16.

CBC Television also showed a one-hour special on Al Purdy April 13 at 8 PM with Gordon Pinsent in the starring role. (See item below).

April 17-21, Purdy was all over the CBC's national radio network as Bill Richardson hosted the Canada Reads debates to pick the book all Canadians should read this year. Ably defended by Susan Musgrave, Rooms for Rent placed second to  A Complicated Kindness (Toews).  Way to go, Al!