Dick Allen retired from his position as Charles A. Dana Endowed Chair Professor at the University of Bridgeport in 1999, after an accomplished and lauded career. He became Poet Laureate for the state of Connecticut on July 1, 2010, beginning a five-year term in that role.
Allen is a winner of numerous poetry awards, including the Robert Frost Prize for Poetry, the Hart Crane Poetry Prize, the Pushcart Prize, and the Connecticut Book Award in Poetry. He was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His poetry has been published in multiple volumes of Best American Poetry and has appeared in Poetry, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Hudson Review, The Sewanee Review, and The American Poetry Review, among many other well-known poetry publications.
Formerly of upstate New York near the Adirondacks and a graduate of Syracuse University and Brown University, Allen is one of the founders of the 1980s movement, Expansive Poetry, an umbrella school of poetry including New Formalism. He espouses Buddhism, which he admits permeates his poetry, some of which explores various contemporary social themes from future shock to existentialism and human consciousness. “I figure in my previous life I was probably a Chinese monk,” he mused during his interview at CPBN.
Dick Allen has been called the “best reader of poetry in America,” and gives readings fairly regularly in Connecticut. He resides by the shore of Thrushwood Lake in Trumbull with his wife Lori.