Alden Nowlan

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George Woodcock

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 197

The most important contemporary poet of the Maritimes, as well as the most prolific, is Alden Nowlan…. Replying to a question by the editor of Contemporary Poets of the English Language (1970), Nowlan remarked: 'I write about what it is like to be Alden Nowlan because that is the only thing I know anything about.' If one takes that as something more than mere solipsism, it is a true statement, for Nowlan is one of the microcosmic-macrocosmic poets, constantly moving within his own world, which is that of the puritanical small towns and the wild logging camps of New Brunswick. In telling his anecdotes, in recording sharp fragments and points of experience, Nowlan combines a concise form with an easy conversational manner and yet at times achieves a super-real intensity of vision which launches personal experience into universality. There is a naturalness of flow, an apparent ease of writing in Nowlan's verse which one suspects is the result of great actual care and application. (pp. 306-07)

George Woodcock, "Poetry," in Literary History of Canada: Canadian Literature in English, Vol. III, Carl F. Klinck, General Editor (© University of Toronto Press 1965, 1976), second edition, University of Toronto Press, 1976, pp. 284-317.∗

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