All Things Purdy

The Al Purdy Show at the Vancouver Writers Festival is happening tomorrow (Sunday, October 26th, 1:30 PM)! Hurrah! I've blogged about it previously, so won't bore you with the details here, but in short, it will be hosted by Charlie Demers and will feature Ken Babstock, George Bowering, Michael Crummey, Aislinn Hunter, Daphne Marlatt, Sina Queyras, Sharon Thesen, Fred Wah, and many more reading Al Purdy's poetry. Oh, and I squeezed in there somehow, too. In conclusion: YOU WILL HAVE A GOOD TIME.

For a more thorough summary of the event, check out this post by Clara Kumagai, on the PRISM international website.

To promote the event, and to celebrate the release of We Go Far Back in Time: The Letters of Earle Birney and Al Purdy, 1947–1987, myself and We Go Far Back in Time editor Nicholas Bradley selected four excerpts from the letters to highlight on the website. The letters document Birney and Purdy's first interaction (Birney calls a past editor at his magazine an "incipient fascist), a rejection letter from Birney to Purdy (Purdy says PRISM international's poetry editor is "full of shit"), an argument over the influence of Bliss Carman (Birney says "There isn’t one damn poet, old or young, worthy at all of the name..." who was influenced by Carman) and a discussion of the political climate in the US and Canada ("The thickening atmosphere of violence, ignorance, hate, stupidity, mutual brainwashing...") which seems like it could have taken place yesterday. Here are the letters in full:

Birney/Purdy Letters Excerpt #1: “A very ordinary liberal against an incipient fascist”
Birney/Purdy Letters Excerpt #2: “An orgasm not a belly rub”
Birney/Purdy Letters Excerpt #3: “Before I get nasty I want to thank you”
Birney/Purdy Letters Excerpt #4: “Lash and goad and liberal applications of Mace.”

The letters have proven to be hit, tweeted and Facebooked around like mad, with excerpts #2 and #3 even re-posted by Australian magazine Going Down Swinging on their website. You can read their version here.

So be sure to check them out, and then come to the big show tomorrow!

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