Born in 1935, and initially raised in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City, John Allman, author of eight book-length collections of poetry, two chapbooks, and a volume of short stories, was a high-school drop-out who earned his diploma in night school while working as a lab tech for Pepsi-Cola. Eventually turning away from science for the humanities, and knocking about in many jobs, he earned degrees in English Literature and Creative Writing from Hunter College and Syracuse University (where he worked with Delmore Schwartz and Philip Booth), while becoming more and more involved in writing poetry.

At the age of 44, after some years of having his work appear in journals, Allman published his first book, Walking Four Ways in the Wind (1979), with Princeton University Press in its Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets. His most recent poetry collections are Loew’s Triboro (2004), Lowcountry (2007), both from New Directions, and Algorithms, prose poems (2012) from Quale Press. His Inhabited World: New & Selected Poems 1970-1995 (1995) was published by the Wallace Stevens Society Press. His ninth and latest book, Deep Breath: New & Selected Poems 2004—2017, will be published in 2021 by MadHat Press.

Allman’s work has appeared in most of the major American journals, from The American Poetry Review to The Yale Review. Allman has received two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Pushcart Prize in Poetry, and the Helen Bullis Prize from the original Poetry Northwest. He earned his living teaching college English and retired from that in 1997, to have more time for writing. He lives in Katonah, NY, with his wife, Eileen, a Shakespeare and Jacobean Drama scholar and writer. They spend their winters on Hilton Head Island, SC.