Stanley Plumly, an American poet and director of the University of Maryland’s creative writing program, died at his home in Fredrick, Maryland on April 11 at the age of 79. He was poet laureate for the state of Maryland from 2009 to 2018.
A half-page biography on Plumly in the April 14 Washington Post attributed his death to multiple myeloma.
Stanley Plumly was born in Barnesville on May 23, 1939. He spent his early years in Winchester, Virginia where his relocated extended Barnesville family owned and operated a lumber company – Park W. Plumly Lumber. His parents then moved to Piqua where his father worked as a carpenter, welder and lumber worker.
Plumly graduated from Wilmington College in 1961, then attended Ohio University where he received a master’s degree in 1968 followed by doctoral coursework at OU. While at Athens, he helped found the Ohio Review.
He authored more than a dozen books, his first in 1970. His works drew heavily from his rural youth. He was also an authority on the life and works of English Romantic poet John Keats (1795-1821).
The dust cover of his 1989 work, Boy on the Step, featured a photo of lumber company’s float in one of the Barnesville Homecoming Celebrations in the 1930s. The photo was taken in front of the local Ford dealership at 108 N. Chestnut Street.
Plumly’s professional teaching career included stints the University of Iowa, Princeton University, Columbia University and the University of Houston before moving to the University of Maryland in 1985.
His biography on the online Wikipedia encyclopedia included the following honors: Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism (2015), John William Corrington Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature (2010), Beall Award in Biography from PEN (2009), Paterson Poetry Prize (2008), LA Times Book Prize (2008) and Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award (1972) among others.
Fellowships listed in Wikipedia included: Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, Ingram-Merrill Fellowship, John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (1973), three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship on three occasions, and 1991 poet in residence at The Frost Place.
According to the Post, Plumly "recently completed a volume of new poems. A collection of his selected poetry is also expected to be published soon".
The newspaper listed survivors as his wife, Margaret, two stepdaughters and one sister.