What does it take to carve
out a career as a poet? Why on earth would anyone attempt it? Al Purdy Was Here is the portrait of an artist driven to become a great Canadian poet at a time when the category barely existed. Al Purdy is a charismatic tower of contradictions: a “sensitive man” who whips out a poem in a bar fight; a factory worker who finds grace in an Arctic flower; a mentor to young writers who remained a stranger to his sons. Purdy has been called the last, best and most Canadian poet. “Voice of the Land” is engraved on his tombstone. But before finding fame as the country’s unofficial poet laureate, he endured years of poverty and failure.
The film features performances by artists including Leonard Cohen, Bruce Cockburn, Gord Downie, Gordon Pinsent, Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Sarah Harmer, Tanya Tagaq and Joseph Boyden.
Director and Producer, Brian D. Johnson screens his 2015 documentary, Al Purdy Was Here that looks at the legacy of Canada’s unofficial poet laureate. In 1957 Al Purdy and his wife build an A-frame cabin on Roblin Lake in Ontario’s Prince Edward County. There he finds his literary voice, and surprising success. The A-frame soon becomes a mecca for the early pioneers of Canadian literature. The film’s narrative moves between Purdy’s story and the compelling characters bound up in his legacy.
Saturday, June 3, 2017
Time: 2:00 – 3:45 PM
Location: Wingham Town Hall Theatre, 274 Josephine Street, Wingham, ON
#BrianDJohnson. #AlPurdyWasHere #AliceMunroFestival