One of the great publisher-editors of American literature in the 20th century, Donald M. Allen (1912-2004) is best known as the editor of The New American Poetry: 1945-1960 (Grove Press 1960), a seminal anthology that introduced a revolutionary new generation of postwar poetry that was to change the course of American literature. In 1960, Allen moved permanently from New York to San Francisco, where he established Grey Fox and the Four Seasons Foundation, two significant literary presses where he continued to publish work from Beat, San Francisco Renaissance, Black Mountain, and New York School writers, as well as younger new voices. Among the authors were Richard Brautigan, Robert Creeley, Edward Dorn, Robert Duncan, Jack Kerouac, Joanne Kyger, Philip Lamantia, Frank O'Hara, Charles Olson, John Rechy, Aaron Shurin, Gary Snyder, Jack Spicer, Lew Welch, and Philip Whalen.
Grey Fox Press and Four Seasons Foundation were among the many emerging presses that City Lights distributed in the late 1960s, and when Don Allen began thinking about retirement, City Lights offered to acquire the backlists. Today, we're proud to be publishing the significant works from these presses in our City Lights/Grey Fox series. We recently published an expanded edition of Lew Welch's Ring of Bone: Collected Poems, with a new foreword by Gary Snyder and a statement of poetics gleaned from Welch's writing. In January 2013 we're publishing an updated edition of Michael Rumaker's classic memoir, Robert Duncan in San Francisco, featuring newly discovered, never-before-published correspondence between Rumaker and Duncan, and an interview with the author. Looking down the road, we've scheduled a new edition of Frank O'Hara's Poems Retrieved, and there will be more to come in this ongoing tribute to the enduring legacy of Don Allen's contribution to American letters.