Rooms for Rent in the Outer Planets

Al Purdy

Rooms for Rent in the Outer Planets

This selected poems covering three decades of work (from 1962 to 1992) showcases Al Purdy at his best, whether he's musing on our national game (a "combination of ballet and murder," as he puts it), describing a bar-room brawl or gruffly expressing tenderness for his wife of many years. Purdy's conversational style, down-to-earth perspective and self-deprecating humour made him one of Canada's most beloved poets.

Rooms for Rent in the Outer Planets was a contender for Canada Reads 2006, when it was defended by Susan Musgrave.


"At The Quinte Hotel

I am drinking

I am drinking yellow flowers

in underground sunlight

and you can see that I am a sensitive man

and I notice that the bartender is a sensitive man

so I tell him the beer he draws

is half fart and half horse piss

and all wonderful yellow flowers

But the bartender is not quite

so sensitive as I supposed he was

the way he looks at me now

and does not appreciate my exquisite analogy."

From Rooms for Rent in the Outer Planets: Selected Poems 1962-1996 by Al Purdy ©1996. Published by Harbour Publishing.

Al Purdy quits his day job for poetry

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