Noted Los Angeles poetry magazine publishes Layton double issue

At the invitation of Marc Dworkin, the editor of Shirim, the longest flourishing magazine of Jewish poetry in English, Professor Seymour Mayne prepared a double issue of Irving Laytonís poetry with the permission of the late poetís publisher. Given the focus of Shirim, Mayne concentrated on editing an issue devoted to the poetís work on Jewish themes and subjects. He is often compared to his mentor and friend, the poet A. M. Klein (1909-1972), but few have noted Laytonís body of work devoted to engaging Jewish concerns. His Jewish poems, so central to his body of work, definitely hold attention today when anti-Semitism, morphed into new recrudescence, assaults Jews, Judaism, and Israel with an offensive vehemence.

Irving Layton, one of Canadaís major poets, passed away in early 2006 at the age of 93. He published little in his later years and his last books included a selection of poetry published in 1991 and a new edition of his selected poems released in 2004. However, an important edition of his prose, including literary manifestos, prefaces, articles and short fiction that was edited by a devoted scholar of his life and work, was not taken up by Canadian publishers and never saw the light of print. No scholarly attention has been given in recent decades to his voluminous literary correspondence that remains preserved in many archives and fonds in Canada and elsewhere. And to date no one has tackled the key project of preparing a Complete Poems that would join other canonical editions in Canadian letters. This issue of Shirim is also aimed at rekindling interest in his major body of work.

For inquiries on subscriptions, please contact the Editor of Shirim, Marc Dworkin @ msdworkin@hotmail.com

The Guest Editor of the Layton double issue, Seymour Mayne, can be reached at mayne@uottawa.ca