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Alden Nowlan Biography

(1933–83), The Rose and the Puritan, Various Persons Named Kevin O'Brien

life seen include poetry

Canadian poet, born in Windsor, Nova Scotia. One of Maritime Canada's most important poets, Nowlan found the distinctive voice of his early work in The Rose and the Puritan (1958), a collection of short, formally traditional lyrics, mainly focusing on an episode in the life of a New Brunswick small-town resident and culminating in some kind of ‘moral’ revelation. Much of this early poetry is concerned with family relationships and the deleterious effects of puritanism. It is influenced by Edwin Arlington Robinson, Edgar Lee Masters, Charles Olson, and William Carlos Williams. Identity as well as formal structure is seen as less stable in the later Nowlan, and in the prose memoir Various Persons Named Kevin O'Brien (1973), a fictionalized account of his own life, people, places, and past memories are all seen to exist in a state of flux. His volumes of poetry include The Things Which Are (1962), Bread, Wine and Salt (1967), The Mysterious Naked Man (1969), Playing the Jesus Game (1970), Between Tears and Laughter (1971), I'm A Stranger Here Myself (1974), and Smoked Glass (1977). Nowlan's plays, written in collaboration with Walter Learning, include Frankenstein (1976) and a Sherlock Holmes story, The Incredible Murder of Cardinal Tosca (1978).

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