A memorial dedicated to legendary Newfoundland and Labrador writer Al Pittman has been unveiled in the city he deeply loved.


The memorial to Al Pittman includes a bronze plaque that includes six of his poems. (CBC)

The bronze-based plaque to Pittman, a poet and playwright who died in 2001 at 61, is affixed to a 2.5-metre-tall rock.

Visual artist Gerry Squires, who spearheaded the memorial and a longtime friend to Pittman, said the memorial pays tribute to Pittman's legacy.

"I did Al the way I wanted to do him," he said. "I designed the whole thing, I chose the poetry, poetry that meant something to me personally."

Pittman published six collections of verse, and also wrote two plays, works for children and songs. He came to prominence with others — including artist David Blackwood, Christopher Pratt, Mary Pratt and Squires himself — during a creative period in the 1970s that writer Sandra Gwyn called "the Newfoundland Renaissance."

"It's really amazing," said Marilee Pittman, the writer's ex-wife, as family gathered for the tribute. "As my daughter said in her talk, it's going to be here for a thousand years."


Gerry Squires, one of the best-known visual artists in Newfoundland and Labrador, created the Al Pittman memorial. (CBC)

The monument stands on the lawn of the Western Star newspaper, where Pittman had worked, and is in view of the Glynmill Inn, one of his favourite places to write and meet people.

"It's just an absolutely perfect place for this to be, and it was the hub of his life and also the hub of his artistic life," Pittman said.

Squires said he hopes the memorial will lead new generations to discover Pittman's work.

"But something like this, people will come and they may not know who Al Pittman is but they will go up and they'll read that and they'll look him up, or Google them, as they say these days," Squires said.

Meanwhile, an event called A Time for Al Pittman was held Thursday night, including a reading of the six Pittman poems that Squires chose to put on the plaque.