The Collected Letters of Al Purdy
“Dear John: I was down in your neck or coccyx of the woods last week and put my arms around an ex-pro boxer’s wife in a drunken euphoria and nearly got my profile altered to 7500 A.D. . . . Dear Louis: I was just talking to Peter Brown and he says you hate me . . . What a waste of time. . . . Dear Buc: I always used to tell Birney if he died before me I was gonna grind him up and marinate him for an aphrodisiac. I like the guy, but never could figure out his apparent attraction to women . . .”
—from various letters
Book DescriptionIn this fascinating and funny collection of correspondence, Canada’s greatest poet lets it all hang out in spirited private exchanges with Pierre Trudeau, Carol Shields, Earle Birney, Anna Porter, Charles Bukowski, Margaret Laurence, Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Gwendolyn MacEwan, Jack McClelland, Northrup Frye, William Golding, Darryl Sittler, Alistair MacLeod, Susan Musgrave, Irving Layton, Lynn Crosbie, George Bowering, Anthony Burgess, Joseph Brodsky and many other notables. Yours, Al is an uncensored, intimate glimpse into the life of Canada’s most celebrated poet. Al Purdy’s personal letters present the Can-lit scene as an ongoing conversation between members of a tight, supportive community spanning generations of talented writers. From generous encouragement to brash, unsparing insults—it’s all here, with responses from many recipients of his letters. Encompassing more than fifty years, the letters show Purdy at his best—and his worst.