Allen, Donald M(erriam) 1912-2004

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ALLEN, Donald M(erriam) 1912-2004


See index for CA sketch: Born March 26, 1912, in Muscatine, IA; died of pneumonia, August 29, 2004, in San Francisco, CA. Editor and author. Allen was best known as a former poetry editor at Grove Press and compiler of the cutting-edge anthology The New American Poetry, 1945-1960 (1960). Educated at the University of Iowa, where he earned a master's degree in 1935, he was attending graduate school at the University of Wisconsin when he was called to duty. Serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star and was promoted to lieutenant commander. Allen then returned to school at the University of California at Berkeley, where he studied until 1949. Hired by Grove Press the next year, he was the publishing company's New York editor for the next ten years, coediting the Evergreen Review (noted for publishing Allen Ginsberg's "Howl") from 1957 to 1960, and then becoming West Coast editor from 1960 until 1970. Allen then moved to San Francisco, where he became president of Grey Fox Press in 1971; it was in San Francisco that he also founded the Four Seasons Foundation in 1964. Both presses promoted the works of new poets, and Four Seasons also released books on religion, philosophy, and gay and lesbian literature. Allen, however, remains best known for his still-in-print 1960 anthology, which caused a furor among the literary establishment for including the works of cutting edge writers ranging from Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac to Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Robert Creeley. Collaborating with Warren Tallman, Allen released an updated version of the collection in 1973 entitled The Poetics of the New American Poetry. He also edited numerous books by such authors as Charles Olson, Frank O'Hara, Jack Kerouac, Edward Dorn, Jack Spicer, Allen Ginsberg, and Howard Griffin, and he translated several plays by Eugene Ionesco.



Los Angeles Times, September 7, 2004, p. B11.

New York Times, September 9, 2004, p. A33.

Washington Post, September 6, 2004, p. B7.

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Allen, Donald M(erriam) 1912-2004

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