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The New American Poetry 1945–1960

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Title: The New American Poetry 1945–1960  
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Subject: David Meltzer, Informationist poetry, Akhmatova's Orphans, Auden Group, Ecopoetry
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The New American Poetry 1945–1960

The New American Poetry 1945–1960
Author Donald Allen (editor)
Country United States
Language English
Genre poetry anthology
Publisher NY: Grove Press
Publication date
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. Finally published in 1960 with a brief Preface by Allen, position statements by some of the contributors, biographical notes and Index. Other considerations were taken into account in the organization of this anthology, as the following quotation illustrates:

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.[3] 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).[4]

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.[5]

Poets in The New American Poetry 1945–1960

Helen AdamJohn AshberyPaul BlackburnRobin BlaserEbbe BorregaardBruce BoydRay BremserBrother AntoninusJames BroughtonPaul CarrollGregory CorsoRobert CreeleyEdward DornKirby DoyleRobert DuerdenRobert DuncanLarry EignerLawrence FerlinghettiEdward FieldAllen GinsbergMadeline GleasonBarbara GuestLeRoi JonesJack KerouacKenneth KochPhilip LamantiaDenise LevertovRon Loewinsohn – Edward Marshall – Michael McClureDavid MeltzerFrank O'HaraCharles OlsonJoel OppenheimerPeter OrlovskyStuart PerkoffJames SchuylerGary SnyderGilbert SorrentinoJack SpicerLew WelchPhilip WhalenJohn WienersJonathan Williams


  1. ^ perhaps of tangential consideration, the rubric "New American Poetry" also refers to poets of the Beat Generation.
  2. ^ Description from a bookseller
  3. ^ Today, The New American Poetry is recognized both as a cultural artifact and signpost for future generations. In other words, a poetry originating with Objectivists", Duncan, Creeley, Allen Ginsberg, Levertov, and others (specifically post-World War II), in turn extending toward the Language poets among others
  4. ^
  5. ^ 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

See also

  • Charters, Ann (ed.). The Portable Beat Reader. Penguin Books. New York. 1992. ISBN 0-670-83885-3 (hc); ISBN 0-14-015102-8 (pbk)

External links

  • 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
  • The New American PoetryRon Silliman discusses Donald Allen’s 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."
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