Stanley Plumly Analysis

Other literary forms

(Poets and Poetry in America)

Stanley Plumly (PLUHM-lee) has contributed hundreds of critical essays and book reviews to American Poetry Review, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Paris Review, and many other publications. One of his best-known essays, “Chapter and Verse,” appeared in two parts in the January and May, 1978, issues of American Poetry Review. He has written two books of nonfiction—Argument and Song: Sources and Silences in Poetry (2003) and Posthumous Keats: A Personal Biography (2008).


(Poets and Poetry in America)

In “Chapter and Verse,” Stanley Plumly explains his belief that the direction of contemporary American poetry is away from a strict reliance on imagery and toward a stronger emphasis on rhetoric, on the centrality of the poem’s voice and the speaker’s attitude. His own poems stand as strong examples of this aesthetic. For his first book, In the Outer Dark, Plumly received the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award. In 1973-1974, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship. He received National Endowment for the Arts grants in 1977 and 1983; a National Book Critics Circle Award nomination and William Carlos William Award, both for Out-of-the-Body Travel; a nomination for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize in 1998; and an Ingram-Merrill Foundation fellowship. He won an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2002), the Ohioana Helen and Laura Krout Memorial Poetry Award (2004), a Los Angeles Times Book Prize (2007) and a Paterson Poetry Prize (2008) for Old Heart, and a Corrington Award from Centenary College (2009-2010). In 2009, he was named Maryland’s poet laureate.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Plumly, Stanley. “Stanley Plumly.” Interview by Wayne Dodd. Ohio Review 25 (1980): 33-57. An excellent, probing, and wide-ranging interview in which the poet discusses the characteristics of American poetry, the nature of lyric poetry, the synesthetic qualities of poetry, and aspects of the narrative. Plumly also discusses his views of his own writing style, his approach to storytelling, and poets who have influenced his work.

_______. “Stanley Plumly.” Interview by Willliam Heyen. In American Poets in 1976, edited by Heyen. Indianapolis, Ind.: Bobbs-Merrill, 1976. Plumly discusses his poems “The Iron Lung,” “Now That My Father Lies Down Beside Me,” and “Horse in the Cage,” as well as those found in Out-of-the-Body-Travel. The poet comments on the inspiration and real-life events that precipitated his works, the practical and aesthetic issues related to the poems, and the writers who have influenced his distinct poetic voice.

_______. “Stanley Plumly: An Interview.” Interview by David Biespiel and Rose Solari. American Poetry Review 24, no. 3 (May/June, 1995): 43. Plumly discusses the creative act, his poems, and the influence of other artists such as John Keats on his work. On his own work, Plumly believes that his early poems were not as demonstrative and open in feeling and content as later works....

(The entire section is 460 words.)