Donald Wellman

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Donald Wellman, is an American poet, editor, essayist and translator.

Wellman, was born July 7, 1944 in the industrial town of Nashua NH. His childhood was spent in Nashua and on Cranberry Island in Maine. His father, Donald F. Wellman, was career soldier, his mother, Frances Louise (Bunker) Wellman, from a navy family with roots on Cranberry Island. His background was working class. He attended the University of New Hampshire and graduated with a BA in English Literature, minors in German and Theater. In 1968 he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served in Germany. He then studied at the University of Oregon, taking a Doctor of Arts in modern poetry(concentrations on Ezra Pound and Charles Olson). He joined the faculty of Daniel Webster College in Nashua NH in 1984. Wellman currently lives in Weare, N.H.


Wellman first came to the attention of the literary community in 1981 with the publication of Coherence in one fascicle of O.ARS.[1], which functioned as an outlet for experimental work by writers such as Andrei Codrescu, Robert Creeley, Dick Higgins, Richard Kostelanetz, Rochelle Owens, Ron Silliman, Gilbert Sorrentino, Rosmarie Waldrop, and Lyn Hejinian[2]. It was received as a breakthrough work in both modern fiction and poetics, receiving praise from the Olson scholar, George Butterick and Welch Everman [3].

From working class to poet with a global reach, Wellman's early influences Ezra Pound, and William Carlos Williams led to association with poets of the avant-garde of 1970s and 80's. Olson's influence on Wellman has been remarked upon by critic Mark Scroggins: "There are a number of confirmed Olsonians, poets whose work is deeply invested in Olson’s mannerism and habits of thought, such as Donald Wellman, Gerritt Lansing, and Don Byrd...among others Susan Howe..."[4] and Wellman's work The Cranberry Island Series employs Olsonian techniques to delve the histories of a particular geography and embed it with his own poetic and existential concerns. The degree to which the art of translation has altered his approach to literary creation sets him apart from other poets associated with L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Magazine, like Barrett Watten, Ron Silliman and Charles Bernstein. His approach is closer to that of writer / translators such as Jerome Rothenberg[5], Keith Waldrop and Rosmarie Waldrop. Wellman’s poetry is serial in form with linked images and resonances forming clusters of varying lengths. This technique derives from the Cantos of Ezra Pound. It has similar features to the overlay of palimpsestic materials found in the works of H. D. and Robert Duncan. His pursuit of serial structure with embedded historical and lyric fragments is distinctive. Today, Wellman is one of the more widely read American experimental poets and translators. His translation of the Spanish poet Antonio Gamoneda's Grave Stones, University of New Orleans Press, 2009, along with Gamoneda's Description of a Lie introduced the writer to English language readers. [6]. As Cole Swensen remarked, "Wellman effectively erases the distinction between text and translation..." His most recent work, Essay Poems, was published by Dos Madres, 2017.[7]


Books of poetry, chapbooks and broadsides:

Crossing Mexico: Diario Mexicano, Loveland: Dos Madres, 2019.[8]

Essay Poems, Loveland: Dos Madres, 2017..[8]

Roman Exercises, Northfield: Talisman House Editions, Fall 2015

Remando de noche: La Poesía de Donald Wellman // Night Rowing: The Poetry of Donald Wellman, [a bilingual selected poems], ed. Nicolás Estévez. Valencia: University of Valencia, 2015.[9]

The Cranberry Island Series, Loveland, OH: Dos Madres, 2013.[10]

A North Atlantic Wall, Loveland. OH: Dos Madres, 2010.[11]

Urika, Gloucester: Boat-train, 2009. Prolog Pages, Tokyo and Toronto: Ahadada, 2009.[12]

Baroque Threads, an e-book, selected poems from the manuscript, Notebook: Cuaderno de Costa Rica. Jacksonville: Mudlark, 2007.

Unpublished Pages Part 1, Notebook: Cuaderno de Costa Rica. Annex Press 2016.[13]

Unpublished Pages Part 2, Notebook: Cuaderno de Costa Rica. Annex Press 2016.[14]

Fields, Kenosha: Light and Dust, 1995.

The House in the Fields, White Plains: Room, 1992.

Translations of poetry[edit]

Néstor Perlongher, Cadavers, Phoenix: Cardboard House, 2018.

Blaise Cendrars. The Prose of the Transsiberian and Little Joan of France. Journal of Poetics Research. Fall 2017.[15]

Roberto Echavarren, The Virgin Mountain, New Orleans; Diálogos, 2017.[16]

Roberto Echavarren. The Espresso between Sleep and Wakefulness. Trans. with the author. Phoenix: Cardboard House: 2016.[17]

Yvan Goll. Neila's Evening Song: Last Poems of Yvan Goll [Neila's Abendgesang: Letzte Gedichte], Spuyten Duyvil, Fall 2015.[18]

Antonio Gamoneda. Description of the Lie: a translation of Descripción de la mentira. Talisman House Editions: Greenfield MA, 2014.[19]

Emilio Prados. Enclosed Garden: A Translation of Jardín cerrado. Diálogos: New Orleans, 2013.[20]

Antonio Gamoneda. Gravestones [A translation of Lápidas], New Orleans: University of New Orleans Press, 2009.[21]

So For Then Also The Dragon, [Beowulf, Lines 2324–2710]. Milwaukee: Membrane, 1991.

Essays and Scholarship[edit]

Editing O.ARS: 1981-1993. Among the Neighbors, 8. The Poetry Collection of the University Libraries, University at Buffalo 2019.

Expressivity in Modern Poetry. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press 2019.

Albiach / Celan: Reading Across Language. Annex 2017.[22][23]


  • Review of Donald Wellman’s Crossing Mexico: Diario Mexicano, Dos Madres Press, reviewed by Gregory J. Wolos.
  • Donald Wellman, Expressivity in Modern Poetry - Review, Jose Luis Moctezuma, Modernism Modernity, 27:3, September 2020. 627.
  • Roman Exercises - Review, Murat Nemet-Nejat, Journal of Poetics Research, 3 (2015).[24]
  • The Cranberry Island Series - Patrick James Dunagan, New Pages, Dec. 12, 2013[25]
  • Jon Curley Reviews The Cranberry Island Series - Galatea Ressurected 26a[26]
  • Review by Eric Hoffman[27]
  • “Antonio Gamoneda and the ontology of disappearance: A review of 'Description of the Lie' and 'Gravestones'” Jose Luis Moctezuma.[28]
  • Antonio Gamoneda: Lapidas, translated by Donald Wellman by Fernando Perez - Exquisite Corpse Jan. 11, 2010[29]
  • Review of Prolog Pages. Ahadada Books, 2009. Pam Rosenblatt.


  1. "Donald Wellman - poet, editor, translator". Donald Wellman.
  2. "Lyn Hejinian". Poetry Foundation. 20 February 2018.
  3. American Book Review, 4:2, 1982
  4. Mark Scroggins, “From the Late Modernism of the “Objectivists” to the Proto-postmodernism of “Projective Verse,” The Cambridge Companion to American Poetry Since 1945, ed. Jennifer Ashton (Cambridge University Press, Feb. 8, 2013.
  5. "Jerome Rothenberg: Translation, transcreation, & othering, an homage to Octavio Paz & Haroldo de Campos - Jacket2".
  6. "LucinaS". SoundCloud.
  7. "Tag: Donald Wellman - Dos Madres Press". Dos Madres Press.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Roman Exercises".
  9. "PUV Remando de noche".
  10. "The Cranberry Island Series by Donald Wellman - Dos Madres Press". Dos Madres Press.
  11. "A North Atlantic Wall by Donald Wellman - Dos Madres Press". Dos Madres Press.
  12. Wellman, Donald (15 January 2009). "Prolog Pages:". Ahadada Books – via Amazon.
  13. "Unpublished Notebook by DONALD WELLMAN - ANNEX PRESS". annex press.
  14. "Unpublished Notebook 2 by DONALD WELLMAN for Annex Press". annex press.
  15. "Cendrars: La Prose du Transsibérien (trans. D. Wellman)". 15 June 2017.
  17. "the espresso between sleep and wakefulness roberto echavarren —".
  18. "Neila, Evening Song: Last Poems of Yvan Goll".
  19. "Gamoneda, Description of the Lie". Talisman House, Publishers.
  21. Press, UNO. "Gravestones".
  22. "Albiach Celan Reading Across Languages".
  23. "".
  24. "JPR03, September 2015 – Journal of Poetics Research".
  25. "The Cranberry Island Series".
  26. Eileen (12 July 2016). "GALATEA RESURRECTS #26 (A Poetry Engagement): THE CRANBERRY ISLAND SERIES by DONALD WELLMAN".
  27. "Book Reviews - The Cranberry Island Series - Donald Wellman".
  28. "Antonio Gamoneda and the ontology of disappearance - Jacket2".
  29. "Exquisite Corpse - Journal of Letters and Life".

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