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Saturday, January 18, 2014

'The words in the wall' by A.Purdy

If you are one of the two or three people who have missed the buzz about this scrap of paper, I will connect you via the following links to the story, better told by the A-frame architect/ project manager Duncan Patterson, and Globe and Mail culture columnist Kate Taylor, this weekend.

Duncan's guest post on Inside the House, the blog of House of Anansi Press, tells the A-frame tale of the "terrible poet who become the great poet who become Canada's greatest poet", brilliantly. The article includes links which will bring anyone (should there be one) unfamiliar with Al Purdy and his poetry, up to scholar-speed in no time. Duncan includes a reminder about the Monarch Tavern event Monday night, which you can check out here.

Kate Taylor's account of the poem fragment (characteristic of thousands of similar jot-notes Al must have made over the decades, in search of the poem in everything) in the Saturday Globe and Mail tells the story of this scrap found in the east bedroom wall, during recent A-frame renovations. It's not a poem - it's an idea, an image. I speculate it was written on Al's knee, as Eurithe calmly negotiated miles of bumpy prairie highway, on one of their to-and-fro Canada trips.

Lots of people have been having lots of fun trying to decipher Al's familiar scrawl. Eurithe and I spent time over it when she had it emailed to me over the winter. Having spent years working with bright kids with severe learning disabilities, I long ago learned to tactfully decode peculiar spelling and handwriting. (Because the last thing a reluctant writer needs is a critic). And Eurithe...well, she'd be used to it, wouldn't she?

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