The Last Canadian Poet

In Memory of Al Purdy

Catherine says that this poem “says all I want to say” about Al Purdy. Listen to her read “The Last Canadian Poet” here.

~ Catherine Owen

Catherine Owen’s titles include: Somatic – The Life and Work of Egon Schiele (Exile Editions 1998), nominated for the Gerald Lampert Award, The Wrecks of Eden (Wolsak and Wynn, 2002), shortlisted for the BC Book Prize, Shall: ghazals (Wolsak and Wynn, 2006) and Cusp/detritus (Anvil Press, 2006), nominated for the ReLit Award. Seeing Lessons (2007) was recently shortlisted for the CBC Literary Awards. Her poems have been translated into Italian (Caneide with Joe Rosenblatt, 2005) and Korean. She plays bass/sings in the blackmetal band, INHUMAN. She’s been writing about living in Edmonton since June 2006.


This poem has been posted as part of a tribute to Al Purdy, the man widely regarded as Canada’s first true national poet. The League of Canadian Poets has declared April 21 to be National Al Purdy Day. The “Purdy A-Frame Trust” has been started to raise funds to preserve Purdy’s famous home in Ameliasburg, Ontario. For more information or to make a contribution to the Trust contact: Jean Baird, 4403 West 11th Ave., Vancouver, BC, V6R 2M2. Phone: 604 224 4898 or email:


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