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John Allman Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Allman, John, 1935-
Title: John Allman Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1964-2017
Quantity: 2.75 linear ft.
Abstract: America poet; correspondence, submission files, drafts, audio and videorecordings
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

John Allman (1935- ) is an award-winning American poet.

Born in New York City, Allman holds a B.A. from Hunter College and an M.A. from Syracuse University in creative writing. He taught at Cazenovia College in Central New York State and, for 26 years, at Rockland Community College of the State University of New York. He is retired and lives in Katonah, NY, with his wife, Eileen Allman, also a writer.

His awards include the Helen Bulls Prize from Poetry Northwest (1976) and a Pushcart Poetry Prize (1983); in 1984 and 1990, he was awarded National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships in Poetry. Journals that have published John Allman's poems include The Yale Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Kestrel, The Antioch Review, The Paris Review, and Atlantic Monthly, as well as online journals Full Circle and Blackbird.

He is the author of six books of poetry: Walking Four Ways in the Wind (1979); Clio's Children (1985), Scenarios for a Mixed Landscape (1986), Curve Away from Stillness (1989), Inhabited World: New & Selected Poems 1970-1995 (1995), and Loew's Triboro (2004). He is also the author of a collection of fiction, Descending Fire & Other Stories (1994).

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The John Allman Papers contains correspondence files, memorabilia printed material, records pertaining to his work, writings, and a small amount of miscellany.

Correspondence-subject files contains a mix of incoming and outgoing correspondence with friends, colleagues, editors, and publishers. Notable correspondents include poets Philip Booth and Jay Meek. The most extensive correspondence is with Anna Munster, a physician in Pearl River, New York. Munster and Allman were evidently good friends; the letters, which include both incoming and outgoing, are affectionate, detailed, and often include enclosures of brief poems or pieces of writing by Munster or Allman. In some cases, Allman had written notes about the person on the front of the folder in which the items were donated; these have been preserved and are foldered with the relevant correspondence.

Memorabilia consists of clippings about Allman from various publications, photographs of Allman, and two portraits of him, one by his wife.

The bulk of Printed material consists of reviews of Allman's published collections of poetry. Also in this series are advertisements or announcements of appearances (e.g. lectures, workshops, panel discussions, etc.), a copy of his entry in Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series, Vol. 15, and a few clippings by or about other poets.

Records contains logs of poetry and short stories along with lists and correspondence relating to submissions of Allman's work to a wide range of publications, including The New Yorker and Atlantic Monthly.

Writings contains both prose and poetry works, as well as a few speeches and miscellaneous items. Types of material include typescripts with and without annotations, galleys, proofs, and so on. In some cases, Allman had written notes on the front of the folder in which the items were donated; these have been preserved and are foldered with the relevant items.

Miscellany consists of audio recordings and videorecordings. Included here are several audio recordings of Allman reading his poetry, and a video recording of a recital at Juilliard for which the performer set some of Allman's poems to music.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Alphabetical by topic or title. Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by name and within that chronologically.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Subject Headings


Allman, John, 1935-
Booth, Philip E., 1925-2007.
Laughlin, James, 1914-1997.
Mairowitz, David Zane, 1943-
Meek, Jay.
Munster, Anna J.
Slate, Ron.

Corporate Bodies

New Directions Publishing Corp.


American poetry.
Poets -- Correspondence.
Poets, American.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Galley proofs.
Manuscripts for publication.
Sound recordings.



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

John Allman Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of John Allman, 2006-2013.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: MRR
Date: 20 Jul 2006
Revision history: 17 Oct 2006 - added Laughlin info per KM (MRR); 11 Jan 2007 - processed collection thus far (MRR); 5 Feb 2014 - additions (MRC); 21 Jul 2021 - "Deep Breath" manuscript added (RMH); 27 Sep 2022 - expanded description of recordings)

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Correspondence-subject files
Box 1 Allman's notes on selected correspondence
Box 1 Allen, Richard (Dick) 1987-1988, 2009
Box 1 Associated Writing Programs Series for Contemporary Poets, Virginia Commonwealth University 1978-1979, undated
Box 1 Becker, Margot 1988, 1991-1993
Box 1 Booth, Philip 1979, 1985, 1989, 1995
Box 1 The Chowder Review 1977-1982, undated - Ron Slate
Box 1 Duemer, Joe 1990-1994 - includes essay by Allman on Wallace Stevens
Box 1 Epos circa 1972-1074 - Evelyn Thorne
Glassgold, Peter
See New Directions Press.
Box 1 Gurko, Leo 1990, 1994, 1996, 2006
Box 1 Heyen, William (Bill) 1991, 1994-1995
Box 1 Ironwood 1985-1986 - Michael Cuddihy
Box 1 Kessler, Milton 1991, 1996
Box 1 Laughlin, James 1984-1995, 1997 - editor at New Directions Press
Box 1 Lummis, Suzanne 2006 - includes some of her poems
Box 1 Mairowitz, David Zane 1987-1992, 1994-1997, 2002-2006 - fellow student at Hunter College
Box 1 Massachusetts Review 1978-1991 - Bill Page, Paul Jenkins
Box 1 Meek, Jay 1987-2002 - fellow student in graduate writing program at Syracuse University
Box 1 Munster, Anna J. 1996-1998 - enclosed with many of the letters are Munster's poems, essays, etc. (3 folders )
Box 2 Munster, Anna J. 1999-2009, undated - undated material includes a science fiction short story, some poems, and a poem by her granddaughter Miranda (2 folders )
Box 2 New Directions Press 1984-1985, 1987, 1992-1998 - Peter Glassgold, James Laughlin
See also Laughlin, James.
Box 2 Poetry Northwest undated - David Wagoner
Box 2 The Quarterly circa 1986-1998 - includes typescripts of several poems with annotations/correctionsGordon Lish
Box 2 San Diego State University circa 1988 - rights to a poem
Box 2 Serio, John 1995 - concerns Allman's collection Inhabited World; includes proofs with different fonts, final page proofs, etc.
Slate, Ron
See The Chowder Review .
Box 2 Syracuse University 2006
Box 2 Miscellaneous - mix of incoming and outgoing
Box 2 50th birthday 1985 - invitation; commemorative poem by Peter Dee
Box 2 Clippings about 1977-2005, undated
Box 2 "Photos by Saul White" 1984
Box 2 "Photos of John Allman and Dan Masterson, Writer's Voice series, West Side YMCA" 2004
Box 2 Photos, miscellaneous 1977, 1994
Box 2 Portrait of John Allman by Eileen Allman circa 1973 - color reproduction
Box 2 Sketch of John Allman Joan Silberman 1985 - original art
Printed material
Box 2 Appearances 1977-1999, undated - fliers, posters, announcements, and other items regarding appearances, lectures, workshops, panels, etc.
Box 2 Article "John Allman," from Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series, Vol. 15 1992
Box 2 Clippings, miscellaneous 1977, 1979 - articles on or by other poets
Box 2 Reviews, Clio's Children 1985 - includes letter to unidentified editor from Allman; New Directions book information sheet; two page statement by Allman on aims and methods of the book
Box 2 Reviews, Curve Away from Stillness 1989 - includes proof of New Directions ad; lengthy essay from Parnassus Poetry in Review
Box 2 Reviews, Descending Fire and Other Stories 1994-1995
Box 2 Reviews, Inhabited World 1995-1996
Box 3 Reviews, Scenarios for a Mixed Landscape 1986
Box 3 Reviews, Walking Four Ways in the Wind 1979
Box 3 Bibliography of works published 1976
Box 3 Log of poems and short stories 2006 - bound volume; title page reads, "Log of poems started and completed 1973-1990 and log of a few short stories Dec 14, 2006 JA"
Box 3 Submission lists 1966-1994 - lists of poems, when and to whom submitted, responses
Box 3 Submissions 1967-1993 - correspondence from editors and publishers relating to submissions, organized chronologically (2 folders)
See also specific publishers under Correspondence-subject files, e.g. New Directions Press.
For reviews of Allman's work, see Printed material : Reviews.
Box 3 The Blue Gazebo - typescript; two slightly different versions, donated at different times (2 folders)
Box 3 Curve Away from Stillness 1988 - afterword only, by Peter Coleman
Box 6 Deep Breath: New and Selected Poems 2004-2017
Box 3 Elegies and dreams: a chapbook - typescript with annotations
Box 3 Older Than Our Fathers - two slightly different versions, donated at different times
Box 3 Older Than Our Fathers, Mudlark No. 37 2008 - includes correspondence with editor, photos, drafts with corrections, printout of final version as posted online
Inhabited World
See Correspondence-subject files : Serio, John.
Box 3 Scenarios for a Mixed Landscape - "original draft"; typescript with corrections
Box 4 Something Rather Than Nothing 2012-2013
Box 4 Walking Four Ways in the Wind (original title: Filling the Straight) 1979-1980 - galleys, page proofs (2 folders)
Box 4 "Uncollected or unpublished" 1970-1971, 1974-1990 - marked by the donor as such when donated, but may have been published since
Box 4 Miscellaneous drafts of individual poems
Box 4 The Daughters of Lazarus (novel) 1997 - "penultimate draft" (2 folders)
Box 4 Essays, graduate school 1964-1965
Box 4 A Fine Romance: Stories - handwritten date of 2009 on title page
Box 5 A Fine Romance: Stories - handwritten "copyright 2007" on title page
Speeches, lectures
Box 5 "On Judith Johnson's Uranium Poems and Impossible Buildings and their connection to her later work" 2007 - AWP conference paper on Judith Johnson; drafts, notes
Box 1 "Poetry and memory," Foust Lecture, Kutztown University 1999
Box 5 "About poetry" undated - several copies, some with annotations
Box 5 "Notes" undated - appears to be semi-humorous personal statement/autobiographical sketch
Box 5 Clippings of some of Allman's poetry undated
Box 5 Eric Ewazen Recital / Juilliard / 2/5/94 / Scenarios for a mixed landscape 02/05/1994 - Allman's poems set to music, includes program listing items; two different dates are written on the item, 1986 and 1994 (VHS; running time 20:00) (ID#: allman_003)
Box 5 Here We Are - interview with John Allman (VHS; running time 29:30) (ID#: allman_002)
Box 5 Jack / 1985 / 1984 1984 - interview with John Allman (VHS; running time 120:00) (ID#: allman_001)
Box 5 Jack reading Principles - Allman reading his own work (Audio cassette; running time 60:00) (ID#: allman_004)
Box 5 JOHN ALLMAN 2/17/80 2/17/1980 - According to information accompanying donation, tape is of poet John Allman reading his own work (Audio cassette; running time 60:00) (ID#: allman_006)
Box 5 John Allman - According to information accompanying donation, tape is of poet John Allman reading his own work (Audio cassette) (ID#: allman_005)

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