Contemporary American poet
Allen Grossman was born in 1932 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was educated at Harvard where he was editor of the Harvard Advocate and won the Garrison Prize for Poetry and the Prize of the Academy of American Poets. His awards and honors have included a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Witter Bynner Prize for Poetry given by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and a MacArthur Fellowship. In 1997, Grossman won a literature award to honor writers of exceptional accomplishment from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. For many years he was a professor of English at Brandeis University. He was also the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities at the Johns Hopkins University.
“In her newest book Viper Rum Mary Karr confronts the storm that is coming––dark like the body, death itself––with the poet's knowledge of the soul which is (as she understands it) the poet's grand manufacture, a 'fiery mist'-light reflected from a far source, and yet more inward to us than 'the broad rivers of the heart.' Like Philip Larkin and Seamus Heaney she intends poetry of the plain style and the truth of the unmistakably situated self, but is taught also, by desire (as they are not), to expect that among the deliquescent ruins of the final body there will be found, as she says, 'illumined, my soul at last uncaged from ribs, rising.'
— Allen Grossman on Viper Rum