Alden Nowlan

Rookie (25 January 1933 - 27 June 1983 / Stanley, Nova Scotia)

Alden Nowlan
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Alden Nowlan poems, quotations and biography on Alden Nowlan poet page. Read all poems of Alden Nowlan and infos about Alden Nowlan.

Alden Nowlan was born into rural poverty in Stanley, Nova Scotia, adjacent to Mosherville, and close to the small town of Windsor, Nova Scotia, along a stretch of dirt road that he would later refer to as Desolation Creek. His father, Gordon Freeman Nowlan, worked sporadically as a manual labourer.

His mother, Grace Reese, was only 15 years of age when Nowlan was born, and she soon left the family, leaving Alden and her younger daughter Harriet, to the care of their paternal grandmother. The family discouraged education as a waste of time, and Nowlan left school after only four grades. At the age of 14, he went to work in the village sawmill. At the age of 16, Nowlan discovered ... more »

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  • David Merrifield (3/4/2019 9:52:00 PM)

    This is a very fine Canadian poet. Alas he's a man!

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  • David Merrifield (3/4/2019 8:13:00 PM)

    One of the finest poets! Read him slowly. Languish in the words. Be struck by them.

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  • Angela (11/8/2018 9:01:00 AM)

    Alden Nowlan is one of those rare poets one finds only if searching for the unusual, the stark, the capital T Truth. His gift of poetic breadth moves from journalistic to surreal and whatever he aims at, he hits his mark.

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  • John Richter (8/10/2015 8:32:00 AM)

    An absolutely wonderful and talented poet. I'm so sad that 55 years of my life have passed before I took notice of him. Sometimes we don't know what we don't know. Alden is certainly the poster child of that.

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Best Poem of Alden Nowlan

A Certain Kind Of Holy Men

Not every wino is a Holy Man.
Oh, but some of them are.
I love those who've learned
to sit comfortably
for long periods with their hams
pressed against their calves,
outdoors,
with a wall for a back-rest,
contentedly saying nothing.
These move about only when
necessary,
on foot, and almost always
in pairs.
I think of them as oblates.
Christ's blood is in their veins
or they thirst for it.
They have looked into the eyes
of God,
unprotected by smoked glass.

Read the full of A Certain Kind Of Holy Men