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Alden Nowlan (1933-1983)

Alden Nowlan was born in Windsor, Nova Scotia. Through a very spotty early formal education, Nowlan's early work schedule included stints, at fifteen, in lumbermills and on farms. He left Nova Scotia for New Brunswick to become editor of The Heartland Observer and night-news editor of the Saint John Telegraph-Journal. He began to publish poetry in the mid-1950s and his collections include The rose and the puritan (1958), A darkness in the earth (1959), Under the ice (1960), Wind in a rocky country (1961), The things which are (1962), The mysterious naked man (1969), Between tears and laughter (1971), I'm a stranger here myself (1974), Smoked glass (1977), and I might not tell everybody this (1982). His 1967 collection of poetry, Bread, wine and salt was awarded that year's Governor General's Award. He also received a Guggenheim Fellowship and an honourary Doctor of Letters from the University of New Brunswick. He was writer-in-residence at the University of New Brunswick in 1969. Nowlan's autobiographical novel, Various persons named Kevin O'Brien (1973), recounts a childhood struggle against poverty, and Miracle at Indian River (1968), is a collection of short stories that offers up views of the economically oppressed characters also found in his more anecdotal poetry. He also wrote three stage plays in collaboration with Walter Learning: Frankenstein (1973), The dollar woman (1972), and The incredible murder of Cardinal Tosca (1978). Nowlan also published A black plastic button and a yellow yoyo with drawings by Charles Pachter (1968), Playing the Jesus game: selected poems (1970), Double exposure (1978), Early poems (1983), An exchange of gifts: poems new and selected (1985) and Selected poems (1996).