Jed Allen

Born: Boston on 14 October 1942

Passed away: Tempe on 10 April 2016

Aged: 73 years

Funeral Date: 29 May 2016

Service Details

We will celebrate the life of Jed Allen—poet, musician and teacher—on Sunday, May 29th from 5-10 pm at 2028 E Radcliffe Drive, Tempe, AZ. Family, friends and colleagues are invited to share memories, read poems, and play music in celebration of Jed’s memory and of one another.

The Story

Jed Allen (James Edward Allen, III) of Tempe, AZ passed away on April 10, 2016. He was 73. Jed was born October 14, 1942 in Boston, MA, to James Edward Allen, Jr. and Florence Pell Miller. His childhood and teen years were spent in Albany, NY, where he graduated from Milne High School in 1960. He went on to attend Goddard College in Vermont, and later earned his Masters of Fine Arts degree from Vermont College. He taught at Phoenix College, where he eventually served as Director of the Creative Writing department until his retirement in 2013. His colleagues have set up a memorial scholarship there in his name.

A brilliant poet and an accomplished musician, Jed is the author of The Fear of Algebra, and performed with a number of musical groups, including The Blues Connection, House of Blue Lights and The Blue Shadows. His love for words and music were a gift that he gave to the community around him, attending and participating in regular poetry readings, and sharing with his many friends, colleagues and family. He is survived by his twin sister, four adult children, eight grandchildren, and beloved cat.

Donations for the Jed Allen Memorial Scholarship can be mailed to Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation, 2449 W 14th Street, Tempe, Arizona, 85281.



I dreamed you sitting on a rock
in southern sun with your healer's sack
and two doves peering from your birdcage chest.
Strange. And the pale painted sea stretching uneasily.

There is no story, counselor. Instead
this rough wooden stage, with ladders
trailing down. I can only show you stuttered
vignettes that play obsessively
over the splintered boards of my palms
by candlelight.

Teach me to love. How to hold my hands.
I need that boy voice slipping
its shy tongue into the briny ears of the world,
oldest voice, not mine, no, nothing's mine, I've
a dozen names and not one mine, one dozen clappers
crowd the bell, call, wavering Ye Ye YES --
Soledad, look at Borborygmus dance!
Light a Candle

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It was a great pleasure to be in Jed's poetry class. A friend of mine and I saw him perform a commissioned poem once about an art piece in Scottsdale. The art was good, and his poem was almost as good, and to my mind his poem was head and shoulders above all the other art-inspired poems we heard that night. He performed it well, he had an excellent deep voice. Afterwards, he was still apprehensive about it. That vulnerability was probably why he was such a good poet. I'm glad to have had him for a teacher.

Jillian St Andre


Jed and I were neighbors and close friends during the last few years of high school in Albany NY. We lost contact after leaving for college, I’m not the least bit surprised his life turned out as it did, with his focus on the arts. He was always a free spirit, who had the wisdom to never measure success or happiness by the size of a bank account. If he was the same person as an adult that he was in high school, I have no doubt he enjoyed his life, his family, and his friends. That’s what matters most. It was a pleasure to have known him. Jack Fenimore

Jack Fenimore


Been missin' the blues at Amano's and sitting in the booth so close to the group, that we were practically part of the ensemble. Jed loved it so when the audience was in sinc and appreciating his music.

Pamela Reay


I remember being brand new to PC and Jed sent out an email calling us to gather. He played "Blues at Amano's" on Baseline. Once, I went and saw him perform. It's rare that we get to see our colleagues in such soulful glow.

Dawn Klecka


Thanks for sharing this. It's a great song, isn't it?

Justin Allen