'He is the best parts of Canada': Why Greg Bryk loves Al Purdy's poetry

"He places the bigness of the human heart in an even bigger world," says Greg Bryk.
While he was studying acting in New York, Greg Bryk says Al Purdy's Naked with Summer in Your Mouth made him miss Canada. (Matt Barnes/McClelland & Stewart)

July 1, 2017 marks 150 years since Confederation in Canada. CBC Books is creating the great Canadian reading list — a list of 150 books curated by you.

Actor Greg Bryk adds Naked with Summer in Your Mouth by Al Purdy to the reading list.

"Naked with Summer in Your Mouth and the discovery of Al Purdy's poetry came to me by accident. I was young and studying acting in NYC and looking for truth or madness in the seductive howl of Charles Bukowski's work. I read a quote where Bukowski said: 'I don't know of any good living poets. But there's this tough son of a bitch up in Canada that walks the line.' I found a book of Purdy's poetry in a used book store in the East Village. Signed by the author. $5. Seemed a deal. The poetry grabbed me and shook me and made me miss Canada and the great blue skies of my childhood. And I saw in his work that truth was not a hard bluster but that it could be gentle and that love would be a good place die. Purdy writes with beauty and honesty and he seems wise in a way that is earned and not guessed at. He is the best parts of Canada. Vast and ironic and courageous. He places the bigness of the human heart in an even bigger world."

Greg Bryk is an actor known for his roles on Bitten and the mini-series The Book of Negroes. He will appear in the new CBC series Caught, based on the award-winning novel by Lisa Moore. 


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