JP Allen, MD | poet
Residency dates: April 15th – May 16th, 2019
Reception: Thursday, May 16th
JP Allen is a poet and translator. At PlatteForum, he will be working toward finishing a manuscript for a first book of poems, tentatively titled “Dictionary of Doubts.” These poems weave together a family history across the US, Mexico and Spain with an interest in recontextualizing common words and phrases from a variety of vocabularies including those of the sciences and the world of video gaming.
His work seeks to scramble the kinds of language that come out of oppression, boredom or self-assurance, in order to create something more unsettled, humane and joyful. He is both a formalist and an anti-formalist, a “page poet” and a “stage poet”—labels which, happily, are increasingly meaningless in contemporary poetry.
Translation is also important to his process, both as a reader and a writer: reading work from writers outside of the English-speaking world is an important way to gain new perspectives on the eternal challenge of making language come alive; and doing translation can be an exercise in rigorous humility–in meeting a fellow human being’s voice halfway, coming to a difficult, imperfect, but closer understanding.
About the Artist
JP grew up in Danville, Kentucky, and is currently based in Durham, North Carolina. His writing appears or is forthcoming in The Normal School, Prairie Schooner, Tinderbox, Cellpoems and elsewhere. He holds an MFA from Johns Hopkins and has received scholarships from the Vermont Studio Center and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. He has taught literature and creative writing at JHU, as well as through the nonprofit Writers in Baltimore Schools.