Friday Favorites — Alden Nowlan Reprise


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Alden Nowlan

Alden Nowlan

Alden Nowlan, poet, dramatist, novelist (born 25 January 1933 in Stanley, NS; died 27 June 1983 in Fredericton, NB). Winner of the Governor General’s Award for English Poetry in 1967 and recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 1978, Alden Nowlan is regarded as one of the most original voices of his generation. (The Canadian Encyclopedia)

This is the third time at bat for Alden Nowlan. That’s probably because of all the poets I’ve featured on Friday Favorites, he’s my favorite. I thought it might be interesting today to take a look at two poems about Nowlan’s father. The first written by (imaginatively) an unborn Alden, the second when Nowlan was older but still young. It was just interesting to me to get a little bit of a picture of this stalwart yet apparently tender man. Tell me what you think.

* * * * * 

It’s Good To Be Here

I’m in trouble, she said
to him. That was the first
time in history that anyone
had ever spoken of me.

It was 1932 when she
was just fourteen years old
and men like him
worked all day for
one stinking dollar.

There’s quinine, she said.
That’s bullshit, he told her.

Then she cried and then
for a long time neither of them
said anything at all and then
their voices kept rising until
they were screaming at each other
and then there was a another long silence and then
they began to talk very quietly and at last he said
well, I guess we’ll just have to make the best of it.

While I lay curled up,
my heart beating,
in the darkness inside her.

~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~


Old mare whose eyes
are like cracked marbles,
drools blood in her mash,
shivers in her jute blanket.

My father hates weakness worse than hail;
in the morning
without haste
he will shoot her in the ear, once,
shovel her under in the north pasture.

leaving the stables
he stands his lantern on an overturned water pail,
cursing her for a bad bargain,
and spreads his coat
carefully over her sick shoulders.


8 thoughts on “Friday Favorites — Alden Nowlan Reprise”

  1. While Greg Cook did a great job writing about Nowlan, it would be nice if some would remove his picture from the top of this page and replace it with and actual picture of Alden Nowlan since this is a page of his poetry.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very nice!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Two amazing poems – great share 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Great poems; thank you for posting these!

    Liked by 1 person

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