Layton Biography

Irving Layton (Israel Lazarovitch) was born March 12, 1912 in Tirgu Neamt, Romania.

Layton came to Montreal with his family before he was one. He attained a BSc in agriculture at Macdonald College in 1939. Following a stint in the Canadian Army, he did graduate work in political science at McGill.

A poet, short-story writer, and essayist, Layton is perhaps the most well-known of the Montreal poets, a group of young poets who engaged in a battle against romanticism in poetry in the 1940's. Layton has published many poetry collections, including A Red Carpet for the Sun (1959) which won the Governor General's Award. Layton has been poet-in-residence at various Canadian universities and was professor of English at York University 1969-78. Layton was nominated for the Nobel Prize in 1981.

For more biographical information, see Layton's Waiting for the Messiah: a Memoir.