Fornalutx by Irving Layton
Selected Poems, 1928-1990

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Brian Trehearne provides an lyric introduction that explores the "voices" and "vision" of Layton's poetry, particularly the present collection. "Fornalutx, ' the poem from which this volume takes its title, sets out the clash of joyful expectation and frustrated desire that lies at the heart of this late retrospective collection of the poems of Irving Layton ... The poem's bitter descent, with its rich epic overtones, may be taken as an emblem of Irving Layton's poetic vision and nature. In it is contained his instinc-tual readiness for joy and its persistent confounding by the sour earth on which he finds himself. Here is his willingness to damn; here too are his favoured symbols, twisted by a vile human nature into sources of suffering and confusion. Here is that striking casualness of tone that disguises the meticulous rhythmic expression of his poems. And here, too, is the self-irony that has generated his most successful and compelling poetry." from the Introduction

About Irving Layton

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Irving Layton was born in Romania in 1912; a year later he and his parents arrived in Montreal. Educated in the same city, he received his Bachelors of Scince in agriculture from Macdonald College and an M.A. in political economy from McGill University. Throughout his career Layton has been writer-in-residence at several Canadian universities. Easily the most controversial Canadian poet, he was professor of English at Toronto's York University, a post from which he retired in 1978. Layton's verse has been variously described as dazzling, vulgar, sexist, and hyperbolic, yet Layton has always redeemed himself by the integrity with which he approaches his craft. His poetry avoids sentimentality, often centering on decidedly unpoetic, mundane images. Layton is a self-proclaimed "public exhibitionist," and his frank, bawdy verse and antagonist persona have tended to alienate him from both intellectual circles and the general public. Layton has published 40 or so volumes of poetry, some with outrageous titles such as The Gucci Bag (1983), For My Brother Jesus (1976), and Droppings from Heaven (1979). Much of his work is in print, a testament to his continuing popularity, and supports his declaration that the "poet has a public function as a prophet.
Published October 1, 1992 by Mcgill Queens Univ Pr. 208 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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'' In the poem immediately following this, we are privy to the source of his negativity: ``All the noble lines of poets / did not make Hiroshima and Belsen / not to happen, / nor will they keep back the coming holocaust.'' In the arrangement of this volume, such a revelation comes too late.

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