Descending Fire & Other Stories

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New Directions Publishing, 1994 - Fiction - 168 pages
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The eight short stories in John Allman's Descending Fire comprise a loose chronicle in the lives of working-class and immigrant New Yorkers, from the 1950s to the present. The author describes his characters as people who, though they earn little money, are not quite poor - nor can they work without working hard. They do not know quite how to betray or abandon each other. Mostly, they try to love and do not readily shy from duty. Though Allman's narratives run from stark naturalism to the near magical and the out-and-out futuristic, his imagination holds to the everyday - as if to say to his readers: Yes, life is grim, but it is precisely the unbearable that becomes the fantastic and the ground for healing.

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DESCENDING FIRE: And Other Stories

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

In his first collection of stories, poet Allman (Curve Away from Stillness, not reviewed) drags readers into a New York City and environs peopled with some of the most depressing losers he could dig ... Read full review


The Tower
A Chronic Case
The Tip
Losers and Gainers
Descending Fire

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About the author (1994)

John Allman (1935- ) is a contemporary American poet and novelist who spent his childhood in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City. In 1943 he moved with his to Astoria, Queens, where he attended William Cullen Bryant High School until dropping out in 1952. He earned his diploma at night school while working as a laboratory technician in the product control labs of Pepsi-Cola. He then enrolled in Brooklyn College, as a pre-med student, but later transferred to Hunter College in the Bronx. After a period of time spent in California, as a technician, he settled on studying the humanities and chose to become a writer. For his MA in English literature and creative writing from Syracuse University, he studied with Donald Dike, Cecil Lang, Philip Booth and Delmore Schwartz. Allman has received The Helen Bulls Prize from Poetry Northwest, a Pushcart Poetry Prize, and two National Endowment of the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships in Poetry (1984 and 1990). His work has been widely published in such magazines as The Atlantic Monthly, The American Poetry Review, Paris Review, Poetry, Poetry Northwest, and The Massachusetts Review.

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