Home Mailing Address: Dick Allen, 74 Fern Circle, Trumbull, CT 06611
PUBLIC RELATIONS BIO. FOR DICK ALLEN
Dick Allen’s forthcoming book is Zen Master Poems, to be published by the noted Buddhist publisher, Wisdom, Inc., in Summer, 2016. Many of the Zen Master poems have appeared in both literary and Buddhist publications, including The New Criterion, The American Poetry Review, The Hudson Review, Rattle, Tricycle, and The Buddhist Poetry Review.
Allen is the author of This Shadowy Place, winner of the 2013 New Criterion Poetry Competition for collections of poems with a strong formal element. It’s Allen’s first collection in which all the poems are rhymed and metrical, rather than combined with free verse poems. This Shadowy Place was published by St. Augustine’s Press in February, 2014.
His eight published books of poetry include Present Vanishing: Poems; The Day Before: New Poems, and Ode to the Cold War: Poems New and Selected, all published by Sarabande Books. The former book received the 2009 Connecticut Book Award for Poetry. He has received a Pushcart Prize, six inclusions in The Best American Poetry volumes, several in The Best Spiritual yearly anthologies, and been a NBCC Finalist as well as a William Carlos Williams Poetry Prize Runner-Up for the Best American Poetry Book of the Year. Among other honors, he’s received poetry writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Ingram Merrill Foundation. Over 800 of his poems have appeared in such magazines as 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 Yale Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Georgia Review, The American Poetry Review, Agni, Rattle, Negative Capability, and in many other periodicals. He is anthologized in numerous national poetry anthologies.
In 2010, Allen was appointed as the State Poet Laureate of Connecticut, a position he held until June, 2015.
His poem “Solace,” written after the 2012 Newtown Massacre, has been set to music by the noted American composer and Pulitzer Prize winner William Bolcom. It premiered in Hartford, CT and New Haven, CT in early May, 2013, sung by The New Haven Chorale, the Hartz School choruses, and the Hart Wind Ensemble directed by Glen Adsit, to combined audiences of over 1,500.
Allen has been 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; a book-length epic journey poem, The Neykhor; and is completing a new book-length collection, The Chinese Menu Poems and other volumes. His Pushcart Prize nominated essay on “Zen Buddhism and Poetry,” from Rattle, was reprinted on Poetry Daily. Rattle has published seven Zen Master Poems by Allen.
Dick Allen has given over 450 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. In 2010, he gave a second reading in the Sunken Garden Series that also drew a large audience. Allen composed and read the Inaugural Poems at the 2010 and 2015 Inaugurations of Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy.
In November, 2015, he was featured reading some of his poems about America on Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion PBS national radio show.
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 three college anthology/textbooks for Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 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, music writer and Webmaster of A Closer Listen, and Tanya Angell Allen Weir (b. 1971), Webmaster of Tribrach: Poetry, Music, Art, 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 of 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 have driven approximately 10,000 miles around America on each of eleven long trips they’ve taken, but most often live a relatively reclusive life beside Thrushwood Lake, in Trumbull, Connecticut.
Allen is variously known as a mystical poet, A Zen Buddhist 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, 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 Vietnam War 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.
Allen’s readings combine inspiration and humor. His poems are accessible and reach audiences upon their first hearing of them, although they are not light verse. He is commonly regarded as one of the best poetry presenters (reading his own and others’ poetry) in America.