The New American Poetry, 1945-1960 (edited by Donald M. Allen.

The New American Poetry, 1945–1960  
Author(s) Donald Allen (editor)
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) poetry anthology
Publisher Grove Press, New York
Publication date May 29, 1960

The New American Poetry,1945-1960 was a poetry anthology edited by Donald Allen, and published in 1960.


The book aimed to pick out the "3rd 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 2 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 version, the Hall-Pack-Simpson volume. A tribute to Allen's prescience is that nearly every name in this gathering is now a familiar figure.[1]

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).[2]


At the time of its publication, The New American Poetry increased recognition for such poets as Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley, Denise Levertov, Paul Blackburn, and Charles Olson, now precedent figures in what was then an emerging countertradition.[3] 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.[4]

Poets representedEdit

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

Design (first edition)Edit

Published May 29, 1960 for $1.95

White paper wrapper: THE ʃ NEW ʃ AMERICAN ʃ POETRY ʃ [in blue] 1945–1960. ʃ [in grey] EDITED BY ʃ DONALD M. ALLEN ʃ [list of authors overprinted on red design] ʃ [vertically in blue along fore edge] EVERGREEN ORIGINAL E-237 $1.95 (U.K. 14/6.) [ornament]. Spine printed vertically: THE NEW AMERICAN POETRY [in blue] 1945–1960 [printed over, in grey] EDITED BY DONALD M. ALLEN ʃ [ornament in blue] ʃ E-237 ʃ [in red] GROVE ʃ PRESS. Back cover printed in blue, black, and red. 5 5/16 X 8.

[I]–[XXIV], [1]–[457] as follows: [I] fly title: [II] blank; [III] title as above; [IV] statement of copyright, etc; V–VIII acknowledgements and permissions; [IX] dedications; [X] blank; XI–XIV preface; XV–XXIII contents; [XXIV] blank; [1]–454 text; [455–457] blank.[5]

See alsoEdit



  1. 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 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
  4. Michael Gnarowski, 'Poetry in English, 1960-1980's,' " "Poetry in English," The Canadian Encyclopedia. Edmonton: Hurtig, 1988, 4, 1696.Print.
  5. this description of the first edition is extracted in part from A Bibliography of Ed Dorn which was compiled by David Streeter (NYC: The Phoenix Bookshop, 1973)

External linksEdit

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