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March 15, 2001 Irving Layton visits Concordia




Irving Layton

Irving Layton

Photo by Andrew Dobrowolskyj



by Barbara Black

A quiet reception was held at the Faculty Club on the Loyola campus on March 1 to honour the great Canadian poet Irving Layton, and to acknowledge that another installment of his manuscripts, letters, tapes and other memorabilia has been acquired by the university.

Mr. Layton’s connection with Concordia goes back to 1950, when he started teaching English part-time at its predecessor, Sir George Williams University. He continued to teach until 1964, and taught for another term at Concordia in 1978.

The poet was given an honorary degree at spring convocation in 1976, and he served as writer-in-residence in 1989. In 1988, the English Department inaugurated the Irving Layton Award for Creative Writing, and gives it annually to an outstanding student.

As early as 1964, Sir George started acquiring material from Mr. Layton, and this continued, largely under the direction of librarian Joy Bennett, who recently left the university. Several exhibits of Layton materials have been mounted over the years to show them to students and interested members of the public.

Mr. Layton is now in frail health and lives in a Montreal nursing home, but he enjoyed his outing to Concordia, and the company of some of his old friends.