Canadian poet, Irving Layton, died yesterday in Montreal after a battle with Alzheimer's . (Note to self: Never do battle with Alzheimer's, it always wins. Pick on a something my own size like a canker sore.) Whether you thought of Layton as a prince of words or a dirty old man is moot since all Canadian poets are dirty old men, even the women. Especially the women. Yes, even Maggie Atwood. Do you think anyone could possess a wit that sharp and not be a dirty old man?
Of all Canada's Pantheon of Poets (who, by the way, gather at a Tim Horton's every spring in Sudbury for their annual general meetings. I hear George Bowering is fond of the Dutchie) Layton was the best at being a dirty old man, IMHO. Yeah, I know, Lenny does a pretty good job at it too but he's a freaking Buddhist now.
Layton embodied the anti-Puritan zeal and throb of dirty-old-manliness on and off the page. He lived singing of thighs, breasts and shoulders. He died with his 'loins wrinkled like the forehead of a sage.'
So, on this day I will remember Irving Layton as one of Canada's greatest dirty old men. They certainly don't make them like they used to.