92 minutes – documentary
Festival release date: September 15, 2015 (TIFF)
Release date: December 4, 2015
Canadian distributor: Films We Like
What does it take to carve out a career as a poet? Why on earth would anyone attempt it? Al Purdy Was Here is the portrait of an artist driven to become a great Canadian poet at a time when the category barely existed. Al Purdy is a charismatic tower of contradictions: a “sensitive man” who whips out a poem in a bar fight; a factory worker who finds grace in an Arctic flower; a mentor to young writers who remained a stranger to sons. Purdy has been called the last, best and most Canadian poet. “Voice of the Land” is engraved on his tombstone. But before finding fame as the country’s unofficial poet laureate, he endured years of poverty and failure.
Northernstars reviews Al Purdy Was Here
Poster and still courtesy of Films We Like.