(1825–48). Born in York, England, he was brought to New Brunswick as a child and grew up in Fredericton. He briefly attended King's College (now the University of New Brunswick), but left to take up the study of law. In 1843 he began to publish verse in The New Brunswick Reporter, a Fredericton newspaper published by James Hogg, a sometime poet. Allan took his poetry seriously enough to plan a volume of verse and solicit subscriptions to underwrite the cost of publication, but he died suddenly in Fredericton. It was posthumously published under the title The poetical remains of Peter John Allan (London, 1853). Allan was influenced by the aesthetic principles of the Romantic movement, particularly with reference to perceiving ideal truths within the sensuality of nature. Not surprisingly, he was fascinated by the potential of human imagination and the range of perception it offered to human awareness. These aesthetic interests brought an intellectual toughness to his verse that prevented the overflow of emotion and controlled the sentimentality and banal moralizing that are so noticeable in the poetry of other local poets. In his nature poetry especially, a distinctive quality of tone and mood emerges from the interplay of intellectual perception and emotional sensitivity that looks forward to the early poetry of Charles G.D. Roberts and Bliss Carman.
From The Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature in Oxford Reference.