Poet: Irving Layton Observed

This feature documentary is a portrait of the life and work of Canadian poet Irving Layton. Here, the artist who long masked himself in controversy, unexpectedly agrees to be unmasked in front of the camera. The 1981 Nobel nominee not only reads and explicates his own writings, but also speaks incisively about Canadian literature itself, defining it metaphorically as a "double hook" that combines "beauty and terror."

For more background info on this film, visit the NFB.ca blog.


Donald Winkler
William Brind
executive producer
Barrie Howells
Barry Perles
Claude Hazanavicius
Jean-Guy Normandin
Torben Schioler
sound editing
Abbey Jack Neidik
Alain Clavier


  • scandia@ns.sympatico.ca

    “He is, of course, provocative and the documentary shows his flamboyant personality. One might not agree with everything he says (Choke cherries do not die- they are the seeds of the next generation) The strength of the documentary comes mainly from his recitals and the comments he makes on his own poetry. Poetry is a mirror of the creators soul and a window to his (or her) personality.” — scandia@ns.sympatico.ca, 16 Mar 2012

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