Dick Allen
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Dick Allen, who on July 1, 2010 succeeded John Hollander as Connecticut State Poet Laureate, is one of America’s leading poets and an acclaimed performer of his poetry.  He is the author of seven books of poetry, Present Vanishing: Poems (Sarabande Books, October, 2008; winner of Connecticut Book Award in Poetry, 2009), The Day Before: New Poems (Sarabande Books, April, 2003; Finalist, PEN New England/Winship Prize; Finalist, Connecticut Poetry Book Award; Los Angeles Times Poetry Book Prize Nominee; Sheila Motion Poetry Book Award), Ode to the Cold War: Poems New and Selected (Sarabande, 1997. Runner-up: Poetry Society of America William Carlos Williams Award for best poetry volume of the year), Flight and Pursuit (L.S.U., 1987), Overnight in the Guest House of the Mystic (L.S.U., 1984—a National Book Critics Circle Award Nominee), Regions With No Proper Names (St. Martin's) and Anon and Various Time Machine Poems (Delacorte / Dell and Delta).    

He has received a 2005 Pushcart Prize, a National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Writing Fellowship and an Ingram Merrill Poetry Writing Fellowship, the Robert Frost Poetry Fellowship, The San Jose Poetry Foundation Award, Poetry's Union League Arts and Civic Prize for Poetry, the Poetry Society of America's Mary Caroline Davis Award, among other honors.  Over 900 of his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in such magazines as The Nation, The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The Hudson Review, The New Republic, Poetry, The Sewanee Review, The New Criterion, The Gettysburg Review, The American Scholar, Ploughshares, Boulevard, The Ontario Review, Image: A Journal of Arts and Religion, The Yale Review, Chicago Review, The Paris Review, TheWestern Humanities Review, The North American Review, Pivot, The Massachusetts Review, The Georgia Review, Washington Square, Inkwell, The American Poetry Review, Agni, Triquarterly, and in many other periodicals.  He is anthologized in such as 180 More, ed. Billy Collins, Pushcart Prize: 2005, Contemporary Poetry, ed. Ryan VanCleave, and The Poetry Anthology, 1912-2002, ed. Joseph Parisi and Stephen Young, The Penguin Book of the Sonnet, Photographers, Writers, and the American Scene, The Best American Poetry: 1991, 1994, 1999, 2006, 2008, 2010, The Best Spiritual Writing: 1998 and 2007, The Modern Age, The Norton Introduction to Poetry, Contemporary Poetry in America, Penguin (UK)’s Scanning the Century.  

Allen is a regular book reviewer for The American Book Review.  He is a member of The Poets' Prize Committee that annually selects the nation's best book of poetry, as chosen by fellow poets. Currently, he has finished a work of over 30 years, a 207-sonnet sequence, The Space Sonnets, and is completing a book-length epic journey poem, The Neykhor, as well as The Chinese Menu Poems and the Persona 300-poems, The Zen Master Poems.  

He has given over 350 poetry readings, including tours on The Connecticut Poetry Circuit and The Ohio Poetry Circuit and a reading in the famous Hill-Stead Museum Sunken Garden Series that drew over 3,000 listeners.  He has been heavily involved in the "Expansive Poetry" (The New Formalism & The New Narrative) movement, editing the controversial and sold-out special issue of Crosscurrents (Winter, 1989) on"Expansive Poetry: The New Narrative and The New Formalism."  He is also the Editor/Co-Editor of noted three college anthology/textbooks for Harcourt BraceJovanovich on science fiction and detective fiction.        

Dick Allen was born in Troy, New York, on August 8, 1939, grew up in the village of Round Lake, New York, and was educated at Syracuse University and Brown University. He lives in Trumbull, Connecticut with his wife, Lori Negridge Allen (writing name: L.N. Allen), a poet and fiction writer.  The Allens have two children: Rev. Richard Allen (b. 1963). a United Methodist minister and writer, and Tanya Angell Allen (b. 1971), Webmaster of Choriamb: Poems and Reviews and writer.  Until Spring,  2001, Dick Allen was the Director of Creative Writing and Charles A. Dana Endowed Chair Professor of English at the University o f Bridgeport, where he taught for 33 years.      

In 2001, he quit teaching in order to “travel, listen to baroque and bluegrass, study Buddhism, and write poetry nearly full time.”  His former university awarded him the position of Charles A. Dana Professor Emeritus of English.  He and his wife drive approximately 10,000 miles around America on long trips they take once or twice a year, but most often live a relatively reclusive life beside Thrushwood Lake, in Trumbull.     

Allen is variously known as a mystical poet, a poet concerned with recording the history of the century’s last fifty years and the beginning years of the 21st Century, a poet of contemporary science, a Zen Buddhist-oriented poet, and a poet whose eclectic style ranges from formal to free verse. In recent years, he has often written in a new narrative-lyric hybrid form of his invention that he calls “Randomism.”      

He is known as one of the major poets of the “Transitional Generation,” that generation born just before and during World War II.  The Transition Generation has often been charged with mediating between the World War II generation and the VietnamWar generation of the late 1960s and early 1970s.  Its perspectives, major concerns, and writing styles were formed by its attempts at explaining and blending what it felt were the best elements on both sides of what has now become known as a massive divide in American culture.

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Memo from the Desk of Wallace Stevens: 

Send me a postcard from
Chile or Tunis to 
Tape on my dresser or
Sail through my office. 

Let it be frightfully
Luscious or smashing for 
Nightmares or psalm-sings and
Scribbles of pencils. 

Find me flamingos and
Cats in the jungles with 
Faces like moochers who
Thrust out their fingers. 

Mail it from beaches where
Waves look like forestry 
Ghosts in their gullies that
Waltz in the shadows. 

Florida charms me--its
Keys with their looping toward 
Cuba, their coral, their
Fishermen bronzing. 

Yet, for my needs, if you’re
Touring Morocco and 
Chance by a view of a
Harbor or ruin, 

Post it to Hartford where
I shall be waiting to 
Sweeten the world with my
Blackberry mind.  

         -Dick Allen