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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Alden Nowlan Poems
The Masks of Love
I come in from a walk With you And they ask me If it is raining.
The Bull Moose
Down from the purple mist of trees on the mountain, lurching through forests of white spruce and cedar, stumbling through tamarack swamps, came the bull moose
A Mysterious Naked Man
A mysterious naked man has been reported on Cranston Avenue. The police are performing the usual ceremonies with coloured lights and sirens. Almost everyone is outdoors and strangers are conversing
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
I used to broadcast at night alone in a radio station but I was never good at it
A Poem About Miracles
Why don't the records go blank the instant the singer dies? Oh, I know there are explanations but they don't convince me
The Anatomy of Angels
Angels inhabit love songs. But they’re sprites not seraphim. The angel that up-ended Jacob had sturdy calves, moist hairy armpits,
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The Masks of Love
I come in from a walk
And they ask me
If it is raining.
I didn’t notice
But I’ll have to give them
The right answer
Or they’ll think I’m crazy.