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Paul Allen: Press

Books

  • Sydney Lea  "I am throwing no phony bouquets when I say that, on reading this, I often felt, as someone once said, like putting my quill back in my goose. Allen manages to be funny, deeply reverent, judicious, and moving all in the same breaths. He is one of the best poets going."
  • Andrew Hudgins  “Ground Forces is about brokenness -- brokenness and, with richly explored theological implications, everything in the broken world, the fallen world. The voice of these poems is wildly funny, often profane (and sometimes that profanity is ironic and sometimes it's pure rage) but always exact, smart, self-aware, and driven to a song like nothing else I know in contemporary poetry."
  • Josh Ritter  (about CD of songs and poems):  “Your CD is AMAZING. It has totally made me rethink the potential for recorded music.  I’m going to play it for everyone I know.”
  • Thomas Lynch "'Long awaited,' doesn't nearly cover the lapse that is redressed with the publication of Paul Allen's Ground Forces. Allen is an American original, whose darker visions are redeemed by the lights assembled here. Here then -- or hear then -- a mighty dose of what Dr. Williams called "the ground sense necessary." And we are all the better for his gifts."
  • Carol Ann Davis, author of Psalm, editor of Crazyhorse "In writing Ground Forces Paul Allen enters with terrific energy into the tradition of the mystic poets: In a poetry by turns ecstatic, searching, and raw, Allen examines the religious experience found in the everyday trials of living. Perhaps it's an osprey on a high-power line fringed with light, or the boy hitchhiker with a bad tooth that most shy away from, or the alcoholic undertaker who pieces together the suicide's skull. What we learn from Allen is how each of these "least of these" enhances and tests our own humanity. It's brave work he's done for us here."
  • Thomas Lynch, The Detroit Free Press (about my first collection, American Crawl)  “These are not poems you can read and forget.  They imprint and impact their readers with the quiet delivery of such sane and sobering images that we cannot shake them.  They observe that most of our wounds are self-inflicted, and some of the wounded do not survive. Nearer to the ferocious facts of this life, these poems steadfastly avoid the temptation to instruct the reader on what to feel, or what to think, or when to feel or think it.  Reading Allen, one is blessedly on one’s own.  What the poet gives us, in his good-ole-boy plain chant (behind which lurks a wry and incisive witness) is the moment, the details of the case, the glimpse, however fleeting, of the Truth of the Matter.”
  • William Bowers, The Week: The Best of U. S. and International News “These stories and dramatic monologues in verse are preachy, fussy, and unforgettable accounts of estrangement, suicide, and salvation, told by characters who stay up late, drive hearses, hitchhike, seek rehab, and—tragicomically—almost drown.”
various - Selected Blurbs on Allen's poetry