The New American Poetry 1945–1960
|Author||Donald Allen (editor)|
|Publisher||NY: Grove Press|
|May 29, 1960|
The New American Poetry 1945–1960 is a poetry anthology edited by Donald Allen, and published in 1960. It aimed to pick out the "third generation" of American modernist poets, and included quite a number of poems fresh from the little magazines of the late 1950s. In the longer term it attained a classic status, with critical approval and continuing sales. It was reprinted in 1999.
In 1958, Allen began work on The New American Poetry anthology. Following the Pound/Williams tradition, Allen hoped to present the range of experimental writing produced in the United States since the Second World War. The project took two years to complete and required extensive correspondence with poets, editors, and literary agents. The book was finally published in 1960, and, in addition to the poems, included a brief Preface by Allen, position-statements by some of the contributors, biographical notes, and an Index. Other considerations were taken into account in the organization of this anthology, as the following quotation illustrates:
Those included in this ground-breaking anthology were chosen from among about three distinct groupings: Black Mountain, New York School, and San Francisco Renaissance. In the first group--Creeley, Blackburn, Duncan, Eigner, Levertov, Olson, Oppenheimer, Dorn, Wieners and Jonathan Williams. Among the second: Ashbery, Guest, O'Hara, Schuyler, Koch. From San Francisco: Spicer, Ginsberg, Whalen, Welch, Snyder, Meltzer, Lamantia, Loewinsohn, Everson (Brother Antoninus), Broughton, McClure, etc. Also present, though perhaps slightly less affiliated: Field, Corso, Sorrentino. So divided was the literary politics of the day that not one of these voices appeared in its parallel anthology, the Hall-Pack-Simpson volume. A tribute to Allen's prescience is that nearly every poet in this gathering is now a familiar figure.
At the time of its publication, it increased the recognition for such poets as Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley, Denise Levertov, Paul Blackburn, and Charles Olson, now recognized figures in what was then an emerging countertradition. Allen originally planned to publish revised anthologies every two or three years. However, he produced only two such books over the next twenty years: New American Writing (Penguin, 1965), and The Postmoderns (Grove, 1965).
The anthology was also influential in Canada. "It affected the writing of at least one generation of Canadian poets", according to The Canadian Encyclopedia. The anthology influenced many Canadian poets to turn away from British influences and toward American models.
Poets in The New American Poetry 1945–1960
Helen Adam – John Ashbery – Paul Blackburn – Robin Blaser – Ebbe Borregaard – Bruce Boyd – Ray Bremser – Brother Antoninus – James Broughton – Paul Carroll – Gregory Corso – Robert Creeley – Edward Dorn – Kirby Doyle – Robert Duerden – Robert Duncan – Larry Eigner – Lawrence Ferlinghetti – Edward Field – Allen Ginsberg – Madeline Gleason – Barbara Guest – LeRoi Jones – Jack Kerouac – Kenneth Koch – Philip Lamantia – Denise Levertov – Ron Loewinsohn – Edward Marshall – Michael McClure – David Meltzer – Frank O'Hara – Charles Olson – Joel Oppenheimer – Peter Orlovsky – Stuart Perkoff – James Schuyler – Gary Snyder – Gilbert Sorrentino – Jack Spicer – Lew Welch – Philip Whalen – John Wieners – Jonathan Williams
- As of 2019, five of the authors featured in the anthology are still alive: Borregaard, Ferlinghetti, Field, McClure, and Snyder.
- perhaps of tangential consideration, the rubric "New American Poetry" also refers to poets of the Beat Generation.
- Description from a bookseller
- Today, The New American Poetry is recognized both as a cultural artifact and signpost for future generations. In other words, a poetry originating with Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, Louis Zukofsky and expanding through the lives and works of Olson, George Oppen & the "Objectivists", Duncan, Creeley, Allen Ginsberg, Levertov, and others (specifically post-World War II), in turn extending toward the Language poets among others
- "Register of Donald Allen Collection - MSS 3". libraries.ucsd.edu. Retrieved 2015-06-06.
- Barbour, Douglas, and D.M.R. Bentley, W. J. Keith, Michael Gnarowski,"The New Generation: After 1960", article in The Canadian Encyclopedia, retrieved February 8, 2009
- Charters, Ann (ed.). The Portable Beat Reader. Penguin Books. New York. 1992. ISBN 0-670-83885-3 (hc); ISBN 0-14-015102-8 (pbk)
- Great Anthology: The New American Poetry: 1945–1960 article at "The Academy of American Poets" website
- Whose New American Poetry? article by Marjorie Perloff
- Tribute to Donald M. Allen at Empty Mirror Books website
- Ron Silliman discusses Donald Allen’s The New American Poetry from Silliman's Blog: June 11, 2007. Writes Silliman: "unquestionably the most influential single anthology of the last century. It’s a great book, an epoch-making one in many ways."