Alfred W. Purdy ’32

Born in Wooler, Ontario in 1918, Alfred (Al) is best known (along with Milton Acorn, Alden Nowlan and Patrick Lane) as a “working class” or “poet of the people” writer. A restless traveler, he is well known internationally, not only as a poet but also as a TV and radio play writer (CBC), anthologist, editor, travel writer and book reviewer.  In addition to his thirty-three books of poetry, Al published a novel, an autobiography and nine collections of essays and correspondence.  He won the Governor-General’s Literary Award for poetry in 1965 with The Cariboo Horses and again in 1986 with Collected Poems 1956-1986.  The People’s Poet Award was given to Alfred in 1987 for Collected Poems.  His work was recognized by his appointment as officer to the Order of Canada in 1982 and the Order of Ontario in 1987.  Al passed away on April 21, 2000 at the age of 81.