Against Sunset (Hardcover)


By Stanley Plumly

W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393253948, 112pp.

Publication Date: November 8, 2016

List Price: 25.95*
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A powerful new volume from the National Book Award finalist that demonstrates how the lyric is essentially elegiac.

Whether addressing the deaths of friends and other poets or celebrating the closing of the day and the autumn of the seasons, Against Sunset reveals Stanley Plumly at his most personal and intimate. As much an homage to the rich tradition of the Romantics as it is a meditation on memory itself, these poems live at the edges of disappearances.

From “Against Sunset”

The horizon, halfway disappeared between above and below—

night falls too or does it also rise out of the death-glitter of water?

And if night is the long straight path of the full moon pouring down

on the face of the deep, what makes us wish we could walk there,

like a flat skipped stone?

About the Author

Stanley Plumly (1939—2019) authored eleven books of poetry, including the National Book Award finalist Old Heart, and four books of nonfiction. His honors include the Paterson Poetry Prize and Truman Capote Award, and he was Maryland’s Poet Laureate from 2009 to 2018.

Praise For Against Sunset: Poems

For decades now, Stanley Plumly has extended, refined, and amplified the Grand Tradition of the lyric poem in English. He crafts his poems with a jeweler’s precision, but they are also informed with an almost-leonine urgency and passion. This degree of artistry is sadly rare in contemporary poetry, and it allows him to bear, always with nobility, the losses and rueful reckonings that are forced upon us in our twilight years. These poems recall the later Stevens and the later Yeats—and to say this is high praise indeed. Against Sunset is a collection by a contemporary master.

— David Wojahn

The elm, the brickwork, the late-night bottle of wine with a friend, all that you have ever wished to store against oblivion: may these be blessed with light of the sort that emanates from every page of Stanley Plumly’s newest book. The poems are sonnet-haunted, even those that bear no trace of eight-and-six, with such deep courtesy do they honor the intelligence of form. I go to Stanley Plumly’s poems as they go to the past, to be taught how I ought to live.
— Linda Gregerson