People / Donald Allen

Editor, translator, publisher. Donald Allen was born in Iowa in 1912. He was one a highly influential translator, editor, and publisher of contemporary American literature. Following World War II, Allen became an editor at Grove Press, where he stayed for sixteen years. He is best known for his ground-breaking project, The New American Poetry 1945-1960 (1960), a collection of avant-garde American poetry that contained works by authors such as Wallace Stevens and Ezra Pound, as well as from more recent poets, like those from the Black Mountain School, the New York School, the San Francisco Renaissance, and the Beats. The anthology was one of the first counter-cultural collections of American verse, and many of its contributors were derided in the mainstream press of the period. Allen’s volume provided an early glimpse of writers who have since become part of the poetic canon—due in large part to the recognition received as a result of their inclusion in the anthology—and continues to exist as a significant cultural record of the time. He passed away in 2004.