Irving Layton Finding Aid

MSS 3 Box 1   

I. Published Monographs                                                    

1. Here and Now.   Montreal, First statement, 1945. (New
writers series, no. 1)

2. Love the conqueror worm. Toronto, Contact Press,

3. In the midst of my fever. Divers Press, 1954.

4. The long pea-shooter.   Montreal, Laocoon Press, 1954.

5. The cold green element. Montreal, Contact Press,

6. The blue propeller. Montreal, Contact Press,

7. The improved binoculars. 2d. ed. Highland, North
Caroline, Jonathan Williams, 1956. (Jargon 18).

8. The improved binoculars. 1st. ed. Highlands, North
Caroline, Jonathan Williams, 1956.

9. Music on a kazoo. Montreal, Contact Press,

10. The bull calf and other poems. Montreal, Contact Press.

11. A laughter in the mind. Highlands, North Carolina,
Jonathan Williams, 1958. 2 copies.

12. A laughter in the mind. 2d. ed. with twenty
additional poems. Highlands, North Carolina, Jonathan Williams, 1959.

13. A red carpet for the sun. Toronto, McClelland and
Stewart, 1959.

14. The Swinging flash. Toronto McClelland and
Stewart, 1961.

15. Balls for a one-armed
Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, 1963.

MSS 3 Box 2

II. Anthologies

1. Cerberus; poems by Louis Dudek,
Irving Layton and Raymond Souster. Toronto, Contact Press, 1952.

2. Cerberus; mounted galley proofs.

3. Canadian Poems, 1850-1952; edited by
Louis Dudek and Irving Layton. 1st. ed. Toronto, Contact Press, 1952.

4. Canadian poems, 1850-1952; edited by
Louis Dudek and Irving Layton. 2nd ed, rev. Toronto, Contact Press, 1953.

5. Love where the nights are long: an anthology
of Canadian love poems
; selection, Irving Layton.   Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, 1962.

6. Love
where the nights are long

special delux

MSS 3 Box 2

III. Tape

i. Irving Layton's lecture "Prince Hamlet
and the Beatniks" It was delivered at the David B. Steinman Festival, St.
Lawrence University.   February 18,
1962.   Parts 1 and 2.

ii. Irving Layton Poetry.  2 reels of poetry reading.



1. The Swimmer

2. Harrowspecks

3. On My Way to School

4. Newsboy

5. To A Very Old Woman

6. Terrene

7. To the Girls of My Graduating Class

8. Philosophy "34"

9. The Madonna of the Magnificat

10. Seven O'clock Lecture

11. Composition in Late Spring

12. A Birth of Tragedy

13. How Poems Get Written

14. Misunderstanding

15. Latria

16. How to Look at an Abstract

17. The Cold Green Element

18. The Improved Binoculars

19. For Louise, Age 17

20. Song for Naomi

21. The Bull Calf



1. The Bull Calf

2. The Fertile Muck

3. The Way of the World

4. Sacrament by the Water

5. On Being Bitten by a Dog

6. Bargain

7. Climbing

8. Cat Dying in Autumn

9. Untitled poem - A poem about his mother's death
Family 10. Portrait Dans le Jardin

11. Why I Don't Make Love to the First Lady Success

12. Moral with a Story

13. LoveAmong the Cannibals

MSS 3 Box 3

IV. Published Material
by Irving Layton

1. Photoprints of early items
ca 1935-1938

(a) Letter to editor of FaiIt-Ye Times
signed Anthony Ayre.
November 22, 1935.

(b) Articles from Failt-Ye
on Current History, October 18, 1935-
January 24, 1936.

(c) The farmer thinks: the new
deal for agriculture, n.d.   Series of

articles published in Macdonald
College Supplement
of McGill dl Daily.

(d) Silhouette of a man.   Article. Undated.

(e) Poems:

 i. Ah rats!

 ii. Medley for our times

iii. Day of Wrath Vigil

iv. Thaumaturge.  
Dated Montreal, November, 18, 1937. Masquerade,   signed Irving Lazaroviten. February 21,
1936. Meum sit propositum:   Lyrics -
Meditations of a Liberal.

v. A Jewish Rabbi.

vi. Poetic socialism.,

(1)   Portrait of a pseudo -

(2)On the proposed air pact
outlawing a bombing of cities.

De Mortuis To L.B.

Voltaire Jezebel
Old Halifax Cemetery

(f) College Life - Personalities - Biographical
sketch of Layton -Lazarrovitch sic. October 25, 1935.

2.First Statement, Montreal, edited by
Layton and Louis Dudek.   vol. 1,
no. 13, no. 15, no. 17, no. 19 (included "Say it again, Brother"),
no. 20 (includes 2 poems Gonorrhea Racetrack and Upper Water Street

(3 copies); vol. 2, no. 1
(August, 1943) (includes poem Forecast and review of J. E. Ward's This
),vol■ 2, no. 2 (September 1943)
includes poem 1943), vol. 2, no. 5 (Mr. 1944) (includes poem DeBullion
and review of Archibald Lampmann's At the Long Sault), vol.
2, no. 12 (April/May, 1945) (review of Poems by A.M. Klein); pages 9-24
unidentified issue (includes article Lets Win the Peace.

3.McGill Daily September 26, 1962
includes two poems of I. Layton
"Drunk on McGill Campus" and "Breakdown".

4.Canadian Forum, Toronto (indexed in Canadian
.   October, 1955,
October, 1956, March 1957, February 1958, September 1960, February 1961
March 1961, October 1961, May 1962, June 1962.

5. Northern Review,

vol. 1, no. 4 (December,
January, 1947) (includes short story A Death in the Family).

vol. 2, no. 2 (July/August,
1962) (includes One and Two) vol. 2, no. 6 (August/September, 1947)
includes two poems: Karl Marx and Eagle).

vol. 2, no. 5
(February/March, 1947) (includes two poems: The Yard and A Poor Poet
is Grateful for a Sudden Thaw)

6. Commentary(American
Jewish Community). New York. vol. 10, no. 1 (July, 1950) (includes Gothic
a poem), vol. 12, no. 1 (July, 1951) (includes Haruspex: a

7. CIV/N no. 7(1957?) Montreal. (includes
article Shaw, Pound and Poetry).

8. Black Mountain Review (Black Mountain
College). North Carolina, vol. 1, no. 2 (Summer, 1954) includes Motet, a

9. Bulletin of Montreal Teachers Federation of
Jewish Schools.
vol. 1, no. 1 (October, 1955) (includes The
Role of the Teacher,
an article).


10. Origin.

XVII (Fall/Winter, 1955/56)
(includes his short story Mrs. Polinov).

XVIII (Winter/Spring, 1956)
Ashland, Mass, Issue edited by Irving Layton. (includes his poems The Way of
the World
, Halos at LacMarie Louise, Thoughts in the Water
and Abel Cain.

11. Panic:  
A Selection of Contemporary Canadian Poems
; editied by Irving Layton
Housatonic, Mass. no. 2 (1958). (includes Olives for Jay Macpherson and Poetic

12. Exchange. Montreal

vol. 1, no. 1 (November,
1961) (includes The Gods Speak Out, a poem), vol. 1, no. 2 (December,
1961) (includes Questions, a poem)".

13. Tamarack Review. Toronto.

18 (Winter, 1961) (includes
the short story A Game of Chess and three poems Magda, Today I
am A Man
and For Professor F. M. Heichelheim). 22 (Winter, 1962)
(includes three poems Silence, The Cage and No Shish Kebab).

14. Montreal Star. Oct 25, 1961.  More in Anger than in Sorrow, genius answers

MSS 3 Box 3

V. Material
about Irving Layton published by others.

1. Queen's Quarterly. Vol. 62, no. 4 (Winter,
1956) includes "The Fertile Muck" a poem and a review of Layton's
recent poetry by A. J. M. Smith. Vol. 63, no. 2 (Summer, 1956) includes
"Layton now and Then" by Louis Dudek.

2. University of Toronto Quarterly Vol. 26, no. 3 (April
1957) includes Poetry reviews for 1956 by Northrop Frye.

Vol. 31, no. 4 (July 1962)
Poetry review for 1961 by Milton Wilson.

3. Alphabet no. 3 (December 1961)
includes Geoffrey Ran's review of Layton's Swinging Flesh.

4. Teangadoir. Series 2, vol. 5
(November 1961) mimeographed. Includes "Five-Drake" an interview with
Irving Layton on Jewish writers in Canadian Literature.

5. Dalhousie Review n.d.

a. Includes A. D. Hope's book
review of I. Layton's A red Carpet for the Sun.

b. Includes E. W. MandelVs book review of I.
Layton's A laughter in the Mind.

6. Tarmarack Review, Autumn 1959.

Includes E. Mandel's book
review of I. Layton's A Red Carpet for the Sun.

7. Saturday Night   October 24, 1959.

Includes a short article
discussing I. Layton's poetry.

8. Hugh Kenner on the Work of Irving Layton In
(Chicago) September 1959. This is a book review of Irving Layton's A
Laughter in the Mind

9. Newspaper clippings about
I. Layton

a. The Georgian March 4, 1958 "Layton
Lashes Western Spiritual Decline" by Tevia Abrams.

b. Congress Bulletin May 1959
"Layton-Strong Voice in Canaian Poetry"

by William C. Williams

c. Brunswickan January 22, 1960
"Irving Layton versus Dave Fairbairn" by Dave Fairbairn.

d. Monitor March 17, 1960
"Canadian not aware of tradition", Layton by Nat Bernstein,

e. McGilT Daily November 17, 1961.
"Layton Enumerates Enemies" by Boyle Schecter.  

f. Toronto Daily Star, December 23, 1961
"Irving Layton" 

g. Free Press 1962 "Eichmann should
Make Lecture Tour, Says Poet" by Pat Benham.

h. Loyola News March 16, 1962 "The
News talks to Irving Layton, the Montreal Poet" by Martin Sherwood.

 i. Saskatoon Star-Phoenix   November 8, 1965 "Layton claims
Canadians  repressed, lacking in
passion" by Paul Jackson.

MSS 3 Box 4

VI. Irving
Layton Manuscripts

1. Machiavelli.   1938 10 p. essay.

2. Notebook containing lecture notes and drafts
of poems, [ca. 1944?] ms.


p1-5 Lecture notes on Plato
& Athens.

p6-8 Drafts of poem - first line
"From the reeling autobus I see", titled Street Scene then A

p9 Lecture note on Hamlet

plO-12 Lecture notes on educational
problems in a changing world.

p13-27 Drafts of poems finally
titled Teacher, earlier titles Re-union, Schoolmaster

p28-34 Drafts of poem finally
titled Philosophy 34

p35 The literary life; hateful

p36-44 Overhead in a barbershop various drafts with
changing titles.

p45 A booklist

p46-50 Overhead in a barbershop further drafts.

p51-52 Education draft

p53 Draft of poem - first line "What the
wind said"

p54-55 Blank

p66 A timetable and further
draft of Philosophy 34


3. Undated drafts [ca. 1955]
all prose items.

a. The poet in Canada typescript with ms.
annotations. 3 1. notes for a talk.

b. Wanted a new vocabulary typescript with ms. title
& annotations 1 1.

c. An open letter to Louis Dudek, typescript
carbon 4 1.

d. A Dominion Day address  mimeographed with ms. title 3 1.


4. Music on a Kazoo [ca. 1956] typescript
draft of book for ms. annotations.

5. Commonplace book, cover
dated October 29, 1958. ms. Contents:

p1 Notes of expenses in Paris

p2-5 In praise of benefactors drafts with changing title
& diary entries of Paris visit.

p6 Blank

p7-78 The day Aviva came to Paris various drafts, incl. 2 blank pages

p79-81 Blank.

p82-85 Women of Rome various drafts 

Remainder blank.

6. Notebook kept during visit to Europe [1958]


p1-16 The day Aviva came to Paris various drafts, incl.

p2 blank pages and 1 of
financial calculations.

p17-18   In praise of benefactors drafts variously titled

p19-66 Blank

p67-77 The day Aviva came to Paris drafts.

p78-88   Piazzo San Marco drafts variously titled.

p89-108 Women of Rome various drafts, incl. 2
blank pages

p109-119 Blank except for an address in unidentified

p119-121 Diary entries of Italian trip.

p122 Blank

p123-124 Diary entry of day in Rome
Remainder blank.

7. The bull calf and other poems dated March 5, 1956.
Typescript draft of book with ms. annotations.

8. Poetry outlets in Canada dated Montreal, 1957.   ms. 5 1. Prose article.

9. A laughter in the mind. [1958] typescript draft
of book with slight ms. annotations.

10. Dislocation ms. draft and typescript
28 p. and 23 1. short story Published in shortened reviews form with title Osmeck
in Canadian Forum
February, 1961 and in his The swinging Flesh,

11.  Mrs. Polinov and A plausible story
the latter dated October 21,1951. typescript drafts 21   1 and 16 1. short stories Mrs. Polinov
published in Origin (Fall/ Winter 1955/56); both published in The
swinging flesh
, 1961.

12. Balls for an one-armed
typescript draft of book published1964.

13. Collection of poems and short stories.

i) Holograph poems, in draft, in pencil, on back
of dust jacket of The Complete Bible, with Apocrypha (Smith & Goodspeed).
Poems are: "An Old Poet Complains" (3 drafts); "On a Certain
Canadian Author"; "Riposte"; "Bargain"; "On
Reading Spender's Collected Poems" (2 drafts)

ii) "The Dwarf." Holograph draft and
final typescript. (4 pages).

iii) "Spikes". Holograph drafts (3), and
"Flat Lux." holograph and typescript, all these stapled together, one
draft of "Flat Lux being on back of draft of "Spikes".

iv) "Real Estate
Room".   Typescript, no emendations.

v) "Psychosoma" (two
lines) Typescript, no emendations.

vi) "The Birth of
Tragedy", typescript, title crossed out in pencil, Nietzsche written in
pencil under title and crossed out.

vii) "Early Morning in Cote
St. Luc" typescript, one emendation,.

viii) "Winter Fantasy",
typescript, one emendation.

ix) Manuscript of In the Midst of My Fever,
various emendations in pencil, including, on the reverse side of the title
poem's last page a note to Raymond Souster beginning, "Here's a long one
that I hope you can use", and praising some of Souster's poems as

x) Manuscript of The Improved Binoculars
(title page missing,) emendations in blue and red ink.   I am not sure if this was final version, or

ix) "My Brother, Irving", dated Sept.
22, 1954, short story (2 1/4 pages in blue and red ink.) Plus a few other
jottings, written in a Sir George Williams College exam book.

xii) Drafts, in pencil, of "The Cold Green
Element", numbering 10 in all, with final typescript.   Also on reverse of first page a poem called
"Turnabout", typescript with emendations. Contained in Sir George
Williams College exam book, dated July 16, 17, 1954.

MSS 3 Box 4

VII.  Material by others.

1. "The Poetry of Irving Layton" by
Patricia Porth [thesis? 1962]

2. Montreal Hebrew Academy.   Herbiz Junior High School. Students
magazine, graduation exercises, June 19, 1952 and June 24, 1955.

Mss 3 Box 4

VIII.  Correspondence, 1954 - 1961.

This file contains a few letters relating to
Layton's poetry.

Layton to Mr. J. S. Caplan
April 30, 1960.

Layton to Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy April 19,

W. C. Williams to Layton
eight letters and three postcards.

H. McLennan to Layton March 18, 1960. 

MSS 3.2 (New Layton Material)

Box 1.

Series I. Irving Layton Letters &


Drafts of poems. - 1977. - 1 cm
of textual records.
-File consists
of 9 items that show revisions from initial concepts to finished poems.
Included are the following titles: "Sunfllight", "Tropical Flowers", "The
Mockingbird", "Sand Crab", "The Journey", "Eden", "The Hex", "Yeats in St.
Lucia", "Carib King", and "65 Year Old Flower Child [?]" (first line: "Outside
my room").

Drafts of poems. - 1943-1999. -
5.5 cm of textual material. - 2 folders.
-File includes
drafts of the following poems: "The Massacre (for Pierre Elliott Trudeau), "Opiums",
"Princess Anna" and "A Shout in the Storm".

Also included: The
Drunken Boat
, Rimbaud, 1952. (End papers contain draft of Layton poem).
-The Poet's
Way of Knowledge
, Lewis, C. Day, Cambridge
University Press, 1957 (End papers contain draft of poem and essay by Irving
Place and Thing
, Karl Shapiro, Reynal & Hitchcock, 1942. (Signed,
"Irving Layton" End papers contain two drafts of poem about Petawawa. Also, on
p.5, draft of 'Epitaph for a Poet' dated Jan. 25, 1943.
-Draft of Chapter 7 of
Layton autobiography Waiting for Messiah
-Articles about Irving Layton
-Telegram from Canadian Broadcasting
Corporation, September 4, 1957, inviting Irving Layton to participate in
"Fighting Words" TV program

Correspondence (Max Layton
& Irving Layton; Max Layton and Musia Schwartz). -  1991-2001. - 2.5cm of textual records.
-File includes correspondence
between Max Layton and Musia Schwartz are printouts of email.

Correspondence: Irving Layton to
Boschka Layton. - 1951-1980. - 5 mm of textual records.
-File contains 28
letters, 1 postcard, 1 telegram, 1 draft poem (1951), separation judgment,
Quebec Superior Court.

Correspondence: Irving Layton to Max Layton. - 1963-1968. - 5 mm of
textual records.
-File includes 16 letters, 5 postcards, 1 "contract" (with Marion
Wagschal), 1 photograph (Irving Layton in Ydra,

Drafts of poems and foreword. -
1977. - 1.2 cm of textual records.
- File contains 27
items, poems and two drafts of a Foreword. The poems often show revisions over
various editions. Titles include:  "Grand
Finale", "Medusa", "The Harvest", "To Victims of the Holocaust", "Night Music",
"For Rabbi Schachter", "Two Women", "Late Invitation to the Dance",
"Sunstroke", 'Argument for Theism", "England 1977", "The Cross", "The [Prize
?]", "The True Fiction", "Safety Measures", "Fascination", "Before the
Millennium Comes", "Provender", "Unpopular Argument for Theism", "For Artemis",
"Madman on Mithymna Beach", "Trapped Faun", "News from Nowhere", "Overheard in
a Lavabo", "Fascination", "Two Women I've Known", "The Malediction", "Natural
Selection", "For 751-0329", "Figs", "Hangover", "The Question".

Correspondence: Boschka Layton
to Max Layton. - December, 1964 to January, 1972. - 1.5 cm of textual and
photographic material.
-26 letters; 3
postcards; 1 poster; 1 envelope of photographs (12 in total); 1 letter from
Boschka Layton to Irving Layton.

Poetry Notebook. - 1951-[1953?]. - 1.5 cm of textual records.
-Notebook (18 cm
x 23 cm) contains drafts of poems, those with titles include: "Summer Evening",
"Summer Idyll", "America 1953", "Where the light fell upon it", "News From
Home", "Lies", "Contrast", "Two Poets in Transit" ; music and lyrics with
guitar tablature, included is Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne" (the lyrics do not
appear to be in Layton's hand and call into question the dates on the notebook);
a tally of some kind associated with various poets on back inside cover.

Correspondence: Irving Layton
to Max Layton. 1977-2000. - 1.5 cm of textual material.
-12 letters
(includes emails and documents re placing Irving Layton in retirement home); 7
postcards; 1 letter from Irving Layton to Allan Walker (The Canadian); newspaper
articles about Irving Layton; Irving Layton's notarized grant of power of
attorney; Irving Layton's signed financial arrangement re Anna Pottier.

10.  Correspondence re limited
edition Love Poems. - 1977-1978. - 1
cm of textual records and etchings.

-Draft of foreword from Love
; 3 letters from Irving Layton to Max Layton; drafts of poems and
foreword; proof Graham Coughtry's etching plates destroyed; letters; memos from
Jack McClelland.

11.  Correspondence: Max Layton to Irving Layton. - July, 1961 to August,
1977. - 2.5 cm of textual records.
-61 letters; 3 postcards. Correspondence regarding Max's travels,
various work, relationships and living conditions, the well-being (financial
and physical) of his mother, attempts to obtain money for her,

12.  Adams Thesis - May, 1971 - 1.5 cm of textual records.
-File includes
thesis entitled "The Poetic Theories of Irving Layton: A Study in Polarities",
by Richard Adams. Submitted to the Department of English, the University of New
Brunswick; 5 page letter to Layton from Adams discussing the thesis.  

Layton Library (catalogued in the University of Saskatchewan Web Catalogue).