When I first took on the responsibility of being poetry editor for Insomniac Press in 2001, I ambitiously set out to bring such a book into existence. After asking around, I learned that Ross Leckie was already preparing Nowlan’s collected poems for Goose Lane Editions. Shortly thereafter, Leckie contacted me to ask if I had bought the rights to the project out from under his nose. I hadn’t, of course, but it seems that someone had. The Goose Lane project had to be scuttled because the rights were unavailable, but neither of us knew who was withholding the rights. The book and the mystery both ended there. No one came forward to claim responsibility, and while I have waited for this essential book to appear, nothing has come of it.
Despite the lack of a proper collected poems, Nowlan’s international reputation as a poet of the first rank continues to grow. That someone out there is purposefully preventing his collected poems from being published is nothing short of an abject transgression against literature. So, where is the Collected Poems of Alden Nowlan? Who is responsible for keeping this book from coming into existence? And what good reason could there possibly be for suppressing Nowlan’s rightful literary legacy? I, and many others, would like to know. More importantly, we want the book.