by carl wilson

Robert Zend's Toronto

A City of Two Kinds

There are two kinds of cities:

where you can live
but you can't make a living;

where you can make a living
but you can't live;

Toronto is almost both of them.

- Robert Zend; July 16, 1972; from Beyond Labels (Hounslow Press).

Robert Zend was a Hungarian writer who moved to Canada in, of course, 1956, and died 20 years ago this week, in 1985. He was by all accounts a remarkably free spirit and contributor to Toronto's experimental literary culture in the 1960s and 1970s (the above is not a representative example), and by direct evidence a marvelous phrasemaker. Mrs. Zoilus is reading this afternoon at a memorial service (he was a family friend). This is a piece Zend wrote in 1972 as part of a sequence in which he struggled with his feelings about his adopted city; it's remarkable how, for all of the tremendous change the place has gone through, this still feels exactly right. I think of it particularly as describing Toronto's relation to its triangulated cousins, Montreal and New York.

The Writ | Posted by zoilus on Saturday, September 24 at 3:05 PM | Linking Posts




Zoilus by Carl Wilson