Purdy's "At the Quinte Hotel" with Gord Downie

For all you Al Purdy fans out there, here’s a Bravo!Fact short of his “At the Quinte Hotel” poem, starring Tragically Hip‘s singer/songwriter/poet Gord Downie. It showed at the Sundance Film Festival (I think in 2009).

It’s an interesting rendition, rather humorous, as Al was known to be, and it’s obvious Downie’s enjoying his acting debut. I find reading the poem to myself more powerful, somehow better, but this is a fun bit of Canadiana for you (in so many ways, from the filming, to the star, to the film festival, to the poem, to the poet, etc.), and it’s pretty cool to hear Purdy’s voice again. What excites me most is that the short was done in the first place.

Off to read the Al Purdy A-Frame Anthology now! It’s well worth the purchase. Not only is it an excellent and well-laid out collection of photos, poems, anecdotes, and essays but also the sale of it contributes to saving the Purdy A-frame in Ameliasburgh—the most famous writer’s house in the country, where, Jean Baird writes, “hundreds of writers and their housemates found their way…to visit the Purdys and talk about poetry and history while downing beer or wild grape wine”—with the goal of making it a retreat for future generations of Canadian writers. A feel-good book in more ways than one!

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