For My Neighbours in Hell
“Irving Layton takes his place with ease among the best poets writing in English today anywhere.”
– George Woodcock, former editor of Canadian Literature
“When I first clapped my eyes on the poems of Irving Layton…I let out a yell of joy…”
– William Carlos Williams
Irving Layton’s verse has been variously described as dazzling, vulgar, sexist, and hyperbolic, yet Layton has always redeemed himself by the integrity with which he approaches his craft. His poetry avoids sentimentality, often centering on decidedly unpoetic, mundane images. Layton is a self-proclaimed “public exhibitionist,” and his frank, bawdy verse and antagonist persona have tended to alienate him from both intellectual circles and the general public. Much of his work is in print, a testament to his continuing popularity, and supports his declaration that the “poet has a public function as a prophet.”
Irving Layton is Canada’s greatest poet. The author of 45 books, his works have been translated into 12 languages, including Italian, Spanish, French, Polish, Korean, Greek and Dutch. Major editions of his work have recently been published in Italy and Spain. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize for literature.