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This article is taken from PN Review 199, Volume 37 Number 5, May - June 2011.

England in the Sixties
The New American Poetry 1945-60, edited by Donald Allen
Ian Brinton
In an interview with Peter Ryan, published in a Salt anthology of interviews with contemporary poets titled Don't Start Me Talking, Andrew Crozier talked about the importance of Donald Allen's anthology and made some significant comparisons with Robert Conquest's 1963 collection of British poets, New Lines 2, in which he read Conquest's 'prescriptive comments about the formal organisation of poems':

As against the New Lines mode I was looking more to the example of American writers whom I had been reading since my first term at Cambridge, and the Donald Allen anthology, The New American Poetry 1945-60, gave access to more recent American poets, principally Charles Olson, although I was also very much impressed by John Wieners and Edward Dorn who also published in that anthology.

The pursuit of Crozier's interest in Donald Allen's anthology was prompted by his meeting with Jeremy Prynne in the Lent Term of 1963 when Crozier was studying at Christ's College, Cambridge and his Director of Studies, John Rathmell, sent him to see Prynne 'as to an oracle on such matters' (letter from Crozier to the author, 12 September 2006).

Well, oracles need some background and we need to have a little history before us so that we can obtain a sense of perspective into how different publications fit together. While Donald Allen's anthology of New American Poetry 1945-60 was appearing in New York from Grove Press, a young Frank Knox Fellow from Harvard was having an early ...


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