Interviewer vs. Interviewer

Interviewer vs. Interviewer
( Click on picture to view) Elizabeth Lund--Host of Poetic Lines interviews Host of Poet to Poet-- Doug Holder

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Poet Allen West -Oct 17, 2017 5PM

Allen West's sense of loss informs the elegies in Allen West’s new poetry collection, Keeping Night at Bay, is countered by the tenderness they express, the beauty of their lines, and the resilience with which the poet continues to sing.  These are deeply personal poems and at the same time deeply universal in their humanity, allusiveness, and the exquisite way they intertwine with the poet’s Chinese translations accompanied by Gundi Chan’s original calligraphy.  Seldom do we encounter work that is as unabashedly emotional as the poems in Keeping Night at Bay, while also displaying such rare intelligence.  


Allen West was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1930, and came to the U.S. with his family after the 1941 invasion of Greece by Germany. Educated at Phillips Academy and Princeton University, he served three years in the U.S. Army, then earned a PhD in chemistry from Cornell University in 1960.  He taught at Williams College and Lawrence University until 1994, when he and his wife Emily moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts. While there he was a tutor at Cambridge Rindge & Latin High School and a volunteer at Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic. His wife died in 1999, his son in 2014. He has two daughters and three grandchildren. Since 2007 he has lived in Lexington, Massachusetts.  He began writing poetry in 1983, was a runner-up for the 1992 Grolier Poetry Prize, and won the 2000 chapbook competition of the White Eagle Coffee Store Press, which published The Time of Ripe Figs in 2002.  His full-length poetry collection, Beirut Again, was published in 2010 by Off the Grid Press