The Presence of Ice: The Early Poetry of Alden Nowlan


  • Michael Brian Oliver


The typically Canadian tension between the garrison of borrowed culture and the wilderness of Canadian experience, as pointed out by D. G. Jones in Butterfly on Rock, can be seen in Alden Nowlan's early books – The Rose and the Puritan, A Darkness in the Earth, Wind in a Rocky Country, Under the Ice, The Things Which Are, and Bread, Wine, and Salt – as Nowlan breaks through the garrison and into the uncharted Maritime rural consciousness. In four of his early poems – "Warren Pryor," "The Daughter of Zion," "Cousins," and "The Wickedness of Peter Shannon" – archetypal levels of consciousness, from the social rationalism of the light to the passion and imagination of the dark, work together to create original mythical suggestions about not only the psyche and society of the Maritimes, but also the Canadian personality as a whole.




How to Cite

Oliver, M. B. (1976). The Presence of Ice: The Early Poetry of Alden Nowlan. Studies in Canadian Literature, 1(2). Retrieved from