Stanley Plumly

Stanley Plumly’s most recent book of poems is Orphan Hours (W.W. Norton, 2012). His collection Old Heart won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Paterson Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award. In 2015, his book of prose The Immortal Evening won the Truman Capote Prize for Literary Criticism. Plumly is a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland. In 2010 he was elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

May/June 2019

White Rhino

By Stanley Plumly

The last of my kind, one of the last lovers of flowers and the lawns of the northern grasses, and certainly one of the few able to rub backsides with […]

May/June 2019

Middle Distance

By Stanley Plumly

Looking out at Constable’s distances, nothing I wanted to be, what I am. He grows on you, Constable, so childish at the beginning, toy farms, slow pastures, the small trees […]

Spring 2004

Elevens

By Stanley Plumly

1. The sun flatlining the horizon, the wind off the Atlantic hard enough to swallow— arctic, manic and first thing— the morning beach walk north lasting less than half an […]

July/Aug 2020

Spring Photo

By Stanley Plumly

It isn’t so much the capture of snow falling and melting all at once in the background, streaking as if on a window, like little souls passing—not so much the […]

Mar/Apr 2016

Elegy

By Stanley Plumly

Theres that age when we can’t look at the face of the dead anymore, a brother or sister, my sister, since by blood it’s your face too—no, that’s too easy: […]

Mar/Apr 2016

Against Sunset

By Stanley Plumly

The California sun an hour, maybe half-an-hour still high, depending on how fast it falls: where does it go except into the sea, to burn out blue, blue-green, then finally […]

Mar/Apr 2016

Dutch Elm

By Stanley Plumly

I miss the elms, their “crowns of airy dreams,” as Virgil calls them, their towering cathedral branching spread into a ceiling above the lonely sidewalks of Ohio where the first […]

Mar/Apr 2016

Dream

By Stanley Plumly

Theres a scene in which were standing in a room, talking, almost touching, and she’s looking almost past me through the window, into the never future: she’s telling me to […]

Summer 2014

Terminal Insomnia

By Stanley Plumly

Maybe it’s the night-shift-like long hours, maybe it’s the dark, or nothing more than mirror water in the street, the habit of the soul to think, or the wave, its […]

Summer 2014

Late Winter Dusk

By Stanley Plumly

Out of my mouth a thrush, a spotted leaf, invisible among all evening things, the sun having passed almost completely through the piping of the new snow in the trees. […]

Summer 2014

Wings

By Stanley Plumly

Emily Dickinson brings up birds in some 220 of her roughly 1,800 poems. Mostly she mentions them as contributions to the texture: as an analogue, a simile, a comparison, a […]

Summer 2014

Jack Gilbert

By Stanley Plumly

The one time I met him was at Halpern’s 30th Street & 5th Avenue apartment, nineteen seventy something, on a roof that doubled as a sort of garden space where, […]

Spring 2014

Jerusalem

By Stanley Plumly

On December 28, 1817, the painter Benjamin Robert Haydon hosts what he refers to in both his diaries and Autobiography as “the immortal dinner.” The stated reasons for the dinner […]

Winter 2014

George and John

By Stanley Plumly

The Keats Brothers: The Life of John and George by Denise Gigante. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2011. 467+pp. $35.00, hardcover.   Whatever else is required of it and whatever else […]

Summer 2012

Four Hundred Mourners

By Stanley Plumly

The sizes of the crowds in those burn-baby-burn days were at best estimates, depending on who— the police, the press, the thousands in protest— was counting. The body count, we […]

Summer 2012

Afterward

By Stanley Plumly

Sometimes, for all time, we just tire of the struggle, of what Stevens calls "the celestial ennui of apartments," from the umpteenth floor looking down through the ultimate open window. […]

Summer 2011

Umberto D.

By Stanley Plumly

Umberto Domenico Ferrari is waiting for a train not to stop, hugging to his chest his mix of mutt and spot-eyed Jack Russell, who has been faithful as well as […]

Summer 2011

Look for Me

By Stanley Plumly

If you want me again look for me anywhere but here, preferably out of the country, say, Italy, up by the glacial lakes, among the ghostly Alps and the green […]

Summer 2011

My Lawrence

By Stanley Plumly

The future, rain in every syllable and cell, comes home later and later, until it's half past morning and time to go to work all over again. David Herbert Lawrence's […]

Summer 2002

Cold Pastoral

By Stanley Plumly

Lee May's Weeds in April's Attaché starting with jimson and green dragon in isolated studies cast, Caravaggio-like, against black space or high white hint-of-blue, pictures of parts of the plant […]

Summer 2002

Bill’s Hangover

By Stanley Plumly

First thing in the morning first things: first light, first sober notes of pigeons and some traffic, first grays and pinnate shadows, first last blossoms of ice just visible on […]

Fall 1993

White Oaks Ascending

By Stanley Plumly

In the mind-weave, at a thousand, ten thousand feet, they all lean in on one another, snowy, hollow, still gothic with winter. And the few torn leaves starved neutral back […]

Fall 1993

The Art of Poetry

By Stanley Plumly

No apologies, no explanations, a few words strung together on a line, a tolerance of inches off the wave, a radio wave, invisible though audible, like a lake held in […]