Stephen Dunn is the author of seventeen poetry collections, including What Goes On: New and Selected Poems 1995–2009 and, most recently, Here and Now. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his collection Different Hours. He has also been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and has received an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. A Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Richard Stockton College, he lives in Frostburg, Maryland, with his wife, the writer Barbara Hurd. (Author photo by Kenny Braitman)
In his seventeenth collection of poetry, Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Dunn confronts the lines we fight against and the ones we draw for ourselves. Lines of Defense poignantly captures the absurdities of modern life, expectations derailed, the lived life juxtaposed to the imagined life, and the defenses we don to make do. The poems are wry and elegiac, precisely observed and wide-reaching. As with the best of Dunn’s work, they take stock of the quotidian aspects of life, of the essential comedy of getting through the day: finding a lost cat; not being invited to a party; taking a granddaughter to a carnival. The lines of defense are the lines of the verse itself, as poetry forms a stronghold against mortality.
“Stephen Dunn’s fresh batch of poems teaches us that ‘to tell’ is just as good as ‘to show’ if you have something worth telling. These are smart, forceful, meticulously spoken poems that tell us some vital truths about how to conduct our lives.”
“Stephen Dunn’s newest poems—retrospective, elegiac, comic, quotidian, tactful, and transcendent—true the self’s comprehensions of its own stories as a sawyer’s jig, file, and hammer true a saw, yet without ever sacrificing tenderness for sharpness (or the reverse).”
W. W. Norton