Although he was born and raised on Long Island, Gilbert Allen has lived on Paris Mountain in upstate South Carolina since 1977 with his wife, the longtime teacher and environmental activist Barbara Allen. Over the years, they’ve enjoyed gardening on three acres of land and serving as guardian bipeds for a succession of cats—most recently Marcella, a recovering feral who is both black and comely.
Gil is the author of seven books of poems and the short story collection The Final Days of Great American Shopping. His long poem “The Assistant” received the Robert Penn Warren Prize from The Southern Review, and his short story “Trash” received Special Mention for a Pushcart Prize. His work has appeared in The American Scholar, Appalachian Journal, The Cortland Review, First Things, The Georgia Review, Image, Measure, Sewanee Theological Review, Shenandoah, Tampa Review, and many other journals and anthologies. The Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, and Poetry Daily have all featured his poems, and his stories have received the Porter Fleming Award and The South Carolina Fiction Project Prize, as well as a South Carolina Literary Arts Fellowship.
Gil earned the BA, MFA, and PhD degrees from Cornell University, where he was a Ford Foundation Fellow. He is the Bennette E. Geer Professor of Literature Emeritus at Furman University and a member of the South Carolina Academy of Authors, the state’s literary hall of fame. From 1991 until his early retirement from teaching in 2015, he edited the Ninety-Six Press, which focuses on publishing outstanding work by contemporary South Carolina poets.