A Wild Peculiar Joy is Irving Layton’s poetic testament. Hailed as the great lyric poet, Irving Layton has come to be known as one of Canada’s most powerful, groundbreaking voices, an important and influential writer whose distinguished career spanned almost forty-five years. By turns passionate and grave, joyous and apocalyptic, his beautifully crafted poems are illuminated by a strong social and political conscience, and an intensely humanistic view of the world. This is poetry that is timeless and universal. Drawn from his entire body of work, and now reissued in this handsomely redesigned volume, this edition includes a new introduction by Sam Solecki, and selected short excerpts from Irving Layton’s writings on the craft of poetry. A Wild Peculiar Joy once again makes available to readers the poetry of Irving Layton and stands as the author’s definitive selected.
About the Author
Irving Layton (Israel Lazarovitch) was born March 12, 1912 in Tirgu Neamt, Romania. Layton came to Montreal with his family before he was one. He attained a BSc in agriculture at Macdonald College in 1939. Following a stint in the Canadian Army, he did graduate work in political science at McGill. A poet, short-story writer, and essayist, Layton is perhaps the most well-known of the Montreal poets, a group of young poets who engaged in a battle against romanticism in poetry in the 1940's. Layton has published many poetry collections, including " A Red Carpet for the Sun" (1959) which won the Governor General's Award. Layton was poet-in-residence at various Canadian universities and a professor of English at York University 1969-78. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in 1981.
Irving Layton died in 2006.
“If you are wondering what happened to us all, you might consult the poems of Irving Layton.”
“When I first clapped eyes on the poems of Irving Layton I let out a yell of joy… for the way he greeted the world he was celebrating, head up, eyes propped wide.… He inhabits the medium [of poetry] and is at home in it, passionately.… With his vigor and abilities, who shall not say that Canada will not have produced one of the west’s most famous poets?”
–William Carlos Williams
“I applaud him for being a poet as close to genius as any alive.…”
“Layton has never stopped demonstrating one important truth: poetry is power.… When he hits his stride, one gets the feeling of living a larger life, of breathing purer air and making strong, important gestures.… He is one of the few contemporary poets powerful enough to fuse commonplaces with grand stances and ideas, and make us believe the alchemy.”
–John Bemrose, Globe and Mail
“A poetic mind of genuine dignity and power.…”
“He rages like an old prophet, and like an old prophet he strikes fire out of rock and calls together in those sparks visions of past, present, and future that we may know ourselves anew, as if for the first time.”