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So, tell us what you really think Irving

This excerpted from a letter by Irving Layton to Roy Daniells, poet and head of the English Department at University of British Columbia for many years.

A Head of  a university department who refuses to table his reason for rejecting an application urged and warmly supported by one of his colleagues can with justice be suspected of shady motives. If you feared or disliked me, you should have spoken out like a man, not scurried about like a cockroach on a hot griddle trying to secure defamatory letters to bolster up your position…Surely you must be aware that your refusal to show Dr. Birney your file on me inevitably puts a huge question mark on my person and career. It is designed to give the impression that the information you have managed to ferret out about me is so heinous it will not do to corrupt or startle the world with it. This, Sir, is the conduct of a coward and a sneak, of one who prefers to strike in the dark so that his wrists might not be seized and his face seen. I have no word to convey to you my abhorrence and disgust. You are a disgrace to the profession of Letters, to those same Humanities it should have been your first concern to honour by wise and gracious action. To your University you have brought an abiding shame that Time far from erasing, will perpetuate and spread wherever that Arts are valued. And you are enough of a poetaster to know what foul vault of Hell they would consign you…What a world this is when a neurotic bug like yourself can be the Head of an English department with the power to all but decide whether people like myself should be kept from doing what they like best – teaching. As I keep on muttering in my poems and prefaces, what have cripples like you got to do with literature?

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