The two-toned Olds swinging sideways out of the drive, the bone-white gravel kicked up in a shot, my mother in the deathseat half out the door, the door half shut--she's being pushed or wants to jump, I don't remember. The Olds is two kinds of green, hand-painted, and blows black smoke like a coal-oil fire. I'm
Stanley Plumly was born in Barnesville, Ohio, in 1939. Plumly graduated from Wilmington College in 1962, and received his MA from Ohio University in 1968, where he also did course work toward a PhD.
Plumly's father, who died at the age of fifty-six of a heart attack brought on by his chronic alcoholism, dominates the poet's work: "I can hardly think of a poem I've written that at some point in its history did not implicate, or figure, my father" (Iowa Review, Fall 1973). His mother also figures prominently as the silent, helpless witness of her husband's self-destruction.
Plumly's books of poetry include Orphan Hours: Poems (W. W. Norton, 2013); Old Heart (W. W. Norton, 2007), nominated for the National Book Award, and winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Paterson Poetry Prize; The Marriage in the Trees (Ecco Press, 1997); Boy on the Step (1989); Summer Celestial (1983); Out-of-the-Body Travel (1977), which won the William Carlos Williams Award and was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Giraffe (1973); and In the Outer Dark (1970), which won the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award. He is also the author of the nonfiction books The Immortal Evening: A Legendary Dinner with Keats, Wordsworth, and Lamb (W. W. Norton, 2016), winner of the Truman Capote Award; Posthumous Keats: A Personal Biography (W. W. Norton, 2008); and Argument & Song: Sources & Silences in Poetry (Other Press, 2003).
He edited the Ohio Review from 1970 to 1975 and the Iowa Review from 1976 to 1978. He has taught at numerous institutions including Louisiana State University, Ohio University, Princeton, Columbia, and the Universities of Iowa, Michigan, and Houston, as well as at the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in 1978 and 1979.
His honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Ingram-Merrill Foundation Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts grant.
He is a professor of English at the University of Maryland, College Park. Currently, he is Maryland's poet laureate.