Monday, November 24, 2014


Allan was a smiley guy so this photo doesn't capture his constant sense of whimsey, but it does reflect his constant dedication to printing, not just books but broadsides as well, which he's doing in this photograph in the midst of a party at Coffee House Press, the publishing venture he founded and ran for decades.

Allan moved to Iowa City in 1970, the year after I left it, but when I returned for a visit I met him and we became instant friends, as folks often did with Allan. He was a witty, curious, ex-New Yorker who went on to become a pillar in the small press community in its burgeoning years and on into the present. He first published poetry, including mine, in his early small press magazine TOOTHPASTE out of which he created Toothpaste Press.

But when he moved to Minneapolis-St. Paul, he started a new small press publishing venture, COFFEE HOUSE, that challenged the major New York publishers in quality of the authors and consistent breakthroughs in style. Many of the books he edited and published garnered rave reviews in The New York Times and other major media.

When he published my 1997 poetry collection, CANT BE WRONG, I was interviewed for it on NPR's "Book Worm" show with Michael Silverblatt. The prestige of Allan's good taste is what drew that kind of attention to his authors and their books.

Here's the way his hometown newspaper (Minneapolis not New York) reported his passing. I think he'd be very pleased. My condolences to his wife, Cinda, and his daughters and extended family and friends. His energy and input into the world of writing and publishing will be sorely missed.

1 comment:

tpw said...

Allan was a really decent man, without an iota of malice in him. We had some back and forth earlier this year on a book he was writing on the history of printing. It looked great from what I read of it & I hope he got it finished or close to finished. He gave me an early boost in my publishing life & I'll always feel a debt to him.