An international series of vital voices in world poetry, all speaking to the general
reader as well as to the poetry lover ñ major modern writers from Staying Alive and its companion anthologies.
Alden Nowlan (1933-83) is Canada's most popular modern poet, a figure comparable in the public's affections to Stevie Smith or Betjeman in Britain. This first UK edition of his work is published in response to many requests from readers of Staying Alive for a full selection of his heart-warming, plain-speaking poems.
Born in the Nova Scotia backwoods, Alden Nowlan left school at 12 and worked in a sawmill before becoming a local newspaper reporter. His early poems bear witness to the harshness and hypocrisy of lives brutalised by poverty and ignorance in a remote Canadian backwater. But as Nowlan finds love and lifelong friendship, so his work achieves authority and lasting warmth.
Nowlan's poetry was his way of 'reaching out in fear and gentleness', and he writes of violence, loneliness and despair with great compassion, restoring dignity to people as he celebrates their lives. His poems present universal portrayals of human life: teasingly ironic, wryly humorous, sympathetic, quizzical and morally astute.
"The greatest Canadian poet of the 20th century."
"Our literature has not produced another like him, none with the gift of such honesty and insight, and such a wry recognition of human frailties."
Lorna Crozier and Patrick Lane
"Nowlan reaches towards pure poetryÖ where irony, ambivalence, self-mockery and self-doubt drop away in favour of a simple yet profound affirmation, one likely to move us to tears."