Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What if Alden Nowlan kept a blog?

This is just a small, slight scrapbook. Wispy knowledge of Alden Nowlan that floats in my memory like random thistledown: remembering that he looked like an English teacher I used to have (or that the teacher looked like him), that he was a famous Canadian poet with a short life, that he came from appalling poverty and emotional neglect. In other words, an artist. Then this discovery of a poem - I began to read it just tonight, and I kept thinking, by God that's a lot like a poem I "took" in school, years and years ago - and with every line I thought, "God, he must be a plagiarist or something because this is SO much like the poem I took in school," and then with those last two lines, "his axe-hewn hands upon the paper bills/aching with empty strength and throttled rage", realizing that this WAS the poem I took, and that up until this moment I had no idea that more than 40 years ago, I had read and been seized by a poem written by Alden Nowlan.

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