About Allen Grossman

Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities, Emeritus

Allen Grossman was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1932; he received his BA and MA from Harvard University and his PhD from Brandeis University. Professor Grossman taught at Brandeis until 1991, when he became the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University, where he taught in the Department of English for 16 years.

An award-winning poet, scholar, and teacher, Allen Grossman is the author of 15 books of poetry and prose, including The Ether Dome (poetry) and The Long Schoolroom (prose). Among many other prizes, in 1989, he was awarded a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship Prize and, in 1993, was elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Professor Grossman’s enduring accomplishments as a teacher are written into the minds and hearts of the hundreds of students who have engaged with him in “thinking of a poetic kind/about common concerns.”

As he writes in How to Do Things with Tears (2001):

If there are no common concerns
no experience the same for you and me
there can be no thinking of a poetic kindmaybe
no thinking at all.
Indeed, if it were possible to FIND by this means—
i.e., thinking of a poetic kind
COMMON CONCERNS
THAT WOULD AFTER ALL BE ENOUGH.  (xii)

Professor Allen Grossman died in 2014. He was 82.