Layton, Irving

Layton, Irving, 1912–2006, Canadian poet, b. Romania as Israel Lazarovitch. His family emigrated to Montreal when he was an infant. He attended Macdonald College (B.Sc., 1939) and McGill Univ. (M.A., 1946). An extremely prolific poet, proud of his bohemian reputation and firmly convinced of his own genius, he published his first volume of poetry, Here and Now, in 1945. Some 50 more books followed, including A Red Carpet for the Sun (1959), Balls for a One-Armed Juggler (1963), For My Brother Jesus (1976), and A Wild Peculiar Joy: Selected Poems, 1945–89 (1989). Ranging from the personal to the political, his poetry is idiosyncratic, antiromantic, earthy, and frequently satirical. Layton, who taught at Montreal's Sir George Williams (now Concordia) Univ. and Toronto's York Univ. and was poet-in-residence at several colleges, also wrote short stories and essays.

See biography by F. Mansbridge (1995); D. Layton (his son), Motion Sickness: A Memoir (2000); studies by M. L. Rowe (1972), S. Mayne (1978), and H. Beissel and J. Bennett, ed. (1993).

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