The Ivory Thought
If one poet can be said to be the Canadian poet, that poet is Al Purdy (1918–2000). Numerous eminent scholars and writers have attested to this pre-eminent status. George Bowering described him as “the world’s most Canadian poet” (1970), while Sam Solecki titled his book-length study of Purdy The Last Canadian Poet (1999). In The Ivory Thought: Essays on Al Purdy, a group of seventeen scholars, critics, writers, and educators appraise and reappraise Purdy’s contribution to English literature. They explore Purdy’s continuing significance to contemporary writers; the life he dedicated to literature and the persona he crafted; the influences acting on his development as a poet; the ongoing scholarly projects of editing and publishing his writing; particular poems and individual books of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction; and the larger themes in his work, such as the Canadian North and the predominant importance of place. In addition, two contemporary poets pay tribute with original poems.