The crafte so long to lerne By Al Purdy; Ryerson Poetry Chapbook Series published by Ronald P. Frye and Co, Book Publishers, Toronto Canada. Poems by Twentieth Century Canadian poets, Cover art by Brendan Flanagan.
ALFRED WELLINGTON PURDY was born in Wooler, Ontario. He went to Albert College in Belleville, Ontario, and later to Trenton Collegiate Institute in Trenton, Ontario. He dropped out of school at 17 and rode the rails west to Vancouver. After serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II Purdy worked in various jobs until the 1960s, when he was finally able to support himself as a writer, editor and poet.
In 1957, Purdy and his wife Eurithe moved to Roblin Lake in Ameliasburgh, Ontario (south of Trenton in Prince Edward County), where they built an A-frame cottage. This became his preferred location for writing. In his later years, he divided his time between North Saanich, British Columbia, and his cottage at Roblin Lake.
In addition to his poems and novel, Purdy’s work includes two volumes of memoirs, the most recent of which was Reaching for the Beaufort Sea. He also wrote four books of correspondence, including Margaret Laurence – Al Purdy: A Friendship in Letters and radio and television plays for the CBC. He was writer-in-residence at several Canadian universities, and edited a number of anthologies of poetry. He wrote the introduction to the last book of poetry by his friend Milton Acorn, The Whiskey Jack
Purdy’s long-time friend, American author, Charles Bukowski. Bukowski once said: “I don’t know of any good living poets. But there’s this tough son of a bitch up in Canada that walks the line.”
Al Purdy died in North Saanich, B.C., on April 21, 2000.
Cover artwork by Brendan Flannagan