I got to talk with Ron Allen shortly before his final health crisis. It was a great telephone conversation. It was always special to be talking with Ron. I got his updated address and was going to mail him some “packages.” He was hopeful that he’d be able to visit Detroit in September.
There are plans afoot to publish a new book of his poetry and (hopefully) stage one of his plays here.
Then, I heard that he was in the hospital, in very serious condition. Then, two days ago, he died, made the transition into that other world.
My condolences to Ron’s family and to all his friends and to those who worked with him.
I first remember Ron from the old Horizons in Poetry series in the 1980’s. Readings were often (always?) at the old Cobb’s Corner bar at Cass and Willis in Detroit. It also went be the name of H.I.P. I recall that poet John Mason was one of his collaborators on this project.
Since then, I saw Ron do numerous readings and performances. The ones at Galerie Jacques, in Ann Arbor stood out. Ron and I were both good friends with the proprietor, the late Jacques Karamanoukian.
Later, I worked with Detroit’s Zeitgeist Gallery and Performance Venue. They staged a number of Ron’s plays. He often worked with John Jakary in this regard. I also saw Ron’s plays performed at other venues in Detroit.
He was such a unique writer and spirit. He’ll be missed, yet some of us will continue to try to make his work visible and to stage his plays.
My Eyes are the Cage in my Head:
(Ron did two plays with this group, the other LAPD, not the police department, but the poverty department)
Black, Brown and Beige….Ron has work in this book. There’s also a short excerpt from an interview I did with artist Tyree Guyton (Ron had worked with Tyree on a play inspired by his art):
I’ve not seen an obituary for Ron as yet. This site still described him as being in a coma. This updated, 2015:
I will add obituaries here and/or do another post as they appear.
a 1995 article on Ron:
(Maurice Greenia, Jr.)