Al Purdy is surely one of the great names in Canadian literature.

Like most Canadian poets, Purdy never made his living as a poet, but as all the other things a poet does--radio play writer, anthologist, editor, travel writer and book reviewer--and also as something of a parody of himself.

I admit that I never found his stage poet all that engaging, never could get through the abrasiveness, or the gruffness.

His son, Brian (to my mind a finer poet--though maybe just a poet of my generation), did point out the Cariboo Horses as a poem to read. He was right.

With his passing, the generation of poets that came to prominence in the 1960's is passing on--this includes Gwendoline McEwan, Milton Acorn, and others who were active at the Bohemian Embassy Coffeehouse in Toronto.