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Al Purdy (Alfred Purdy) Biography

(1918–2000), (Alfred Purdy), The Crafte So Longe To Lerne, Poems for All the Annettes

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog to Rabbit Tetralogy

Canadian poet, born in Wooler in rural Ontario. He led a nomadic early life, working at a variety of jobs and travelling extensively, but though the eclecticism of his poetry reflects the diversity of his experience of life, its central locus is ‘the country north of Belleville’, Ontario, which provided a title for one of his best-known poems. The main preoccupation of his work is the effect that the Canadian landscape has had on the formation of the country's psychic identity. While his first collection of verse appeared in 1944, Purdy did not discover his distinctive poetic voice until the 1960s, though there are hints of it in The Crafte So Longe To Lerne (1959), where the title alludes to his sense of having taken a long time to reach maturity as a poet. Then, in volumes like Poems for All the Annettes (1962) and The Cariboo Horses (1965), he began to write in the idiomatic vein that established his reputation as one of the finest Canadian poets of his generation. His other volumes of verse include North of Summer (1968), In Search of Owen Roblin (1974), and The Stone Bird (1981). Most of his best work is collected in Being Alive: Poems 1958–78 (1978). He also wrote radio and television plays.

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