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 "At the Quinte Hotel" by Al Purdy, Rooms for Rent in the Outer Planets ©1996. Published by Harbour Publishing.