In his new collection, Stanley Plumly confronts and celebrates mortality—in the detailed natural world, in the immediacy of the loss of friends, and in personal encounters. Archetypal, sometimes even allegorical, the poems in Old Heart amount to a sustained meditation. The American Academy of Arts and Letters declared of Plumly that "he has in the last thirty years quietlyIn his new collection, Stanley Plumly confronts and celebrates mortality—in the detailed natural world, in the immediacy of the loss of friends, and in personal encounters. Archetypal, sometimes even allegorical, the poems in Old Heart amount to a sustained meditation. The American Academy of Arts and Letters declared of Plumly that "he has in the last thirty years quietly, steadily, expanded the range of lyric poetry in English...[and] reinvigorated our poetry." His ethical rigor and literary modesty combine in Old Heart—his finest book of poetry....
|Title||:||Old Heart: Poems|
|Number of Pages||:||96 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Old Heart: Poems Reviews
Very uneven collection. There are a handful of gems, but a number of the endings feel a little phoned-in. Two standouts: MercyA murder of crows,what I saw on a spindle of dead white oak,two or three of them, at different times, hectoring the head of the sick one, the old one, the weak one apart. From school those Eskimo storiesin which leathery grandfathers and grandmothersare left behind or set afloat.They'd freeze, Mr. Steinman said, from the extremities in.Thinking about what they must have been thinking, I imagined the brain last on the ascending list--As Freezing persons, recollect the SnowI read in chilling poetry,years later. Even at twelve,the concept seemed distant, efficient,in keeping with the clarity and killing cold of vast, undifferentiated arctic spaces. In keeping with the landscape of the old. In the language of the desert Navajo,the old man didn't drown,the water came up to get him. That's how I imaged freezing,as a kind of incremental drowning,a sort of slowed, word by word submersion,then, at last, the pulling under, rings on water. The killed crow fell the sixty feet in seconds, less, though in the while it took to find it, it had moved. My mother,alive in the machine,becalmed on hard white sheets,the narrative of legs, arms,animal centers stilled, some starlight in the mind glittering offand on, couldn't tell mewhether or not to leave her. ---------Silent Heart Attack When silence is another kind of violence. Like all the breath you've ever breathedsuddenly swallowed. But since it happenedover days, each night a little worse,it lacked the drama of my father's death.He went down, like a building, on his knees. I sat in the dark inside the feelingI was turning into stone, or, if I turnedaround, to salt, salt crystal diamondingthe blackouts. Silence is what you hear, the mouth a moon of o's, black filling upthe body with its blood. I listened.Each night, all night, my father louder.
This is an uneven book of poems. At his best, Plumly writes in a lyrical voice with an eye attuned to nature. He can write in a variety of meters and can use off-rhymes on occasion to pull his lines together. However, at least in this collection, he has an odd habit of wearing his allusions on his sleeve. So he has lines that begin with "Eliot says..." or "Keats wrote..." I don't know if it's an anti-modernism--instead of burying your allusions, you broadcast them--or some other sort of stylistic choice, but too often it makes his lines sound awkward. It also feels a bit like name-dropping to show off his erudition. Plumly should be comfortable enough in his career not to need the latter, so all I can assume is that it is a stylistic feature that fails as often as it works.
It is wonderful to spend time with these poems that move among so many approaches to poetic form (both traditional and more open), but finally always come back to the workings of the human heart - whether in elegy, self-reflection, or in the presence of nature.
Stan is coming to grips with old age and names the things that come to be valued as a result.
very nice poems. replete with birds, water, rocks, trees, and a few humans.
I thought Plumly pulled too much from various aspects of bird symbolism, and I'm not much of an ornithologist myself.I thought he seemed a bit pretentious too, but maybe that was just me...
I like him. Kind of an Eliot meets Oliver.
I will read this again and again.