Stephen Dunn, Poet Who Celebrated the Ordinary, Dies at 82

He read “Losing Steps,” the poem he wrote after his collegiate career ended, during a 2000 reunion of the 23-1 Hofstra squad. The poem closes like way:

You’re in a country known for its cheetahs and sunsets, and you’re walking to a playground where kids are playing full-court. You’re reminding yourself how valuable the experience is as you carry a battered basketball under your arm.

When he finished his career as a Billies player, Mr. Dunn went into advertising full-time. While in Spain at the age of 26, he attempted to write a novel, but ended up throwing it away. Upon his return to the United States, he enrolled in Syracuse University’s creative writing department, where he stood out among his younger peers as a 29-year-old.

It was stated in his post on the Pulitzer site that “all the 22 year old writers at Syracuse were more advanced in their reading than I was. “I had the advantage of being a complete novice when it came to the discussion of poems and poetry. My astonishment was that of a novice.

His master’s degree from the university in 1970 was the beginning of a serious poetry career for him. It was after winning the Pulitzer that he decided to stay at Stockton and teach for the next 30 years.

The Press of Atlantic City quotes him as saying in 2011: “I felt blessed to live and teach at a school that was in the process of developing, lucky not to be living either in Paris or Manhattan.”

He went on to say that “Stockton and South Jersey proved to be really excellent for me and my work”

They wed in 1964; they divorced a decade later in 2001. He moved to Frostburg, Maryland, in 2002 after marrying the author Barbara Hurd. Additionally, he leaves behind a stepdaughter (Tara Perry), a stepson (Adam Wilson), two grandkids (Tara Perry and Andrea Dunn), and four stepgrandchildren (Tara Perry and Adam Wilson).

In 1999, Mr. Dunn reached the age of 60, just as the new millennium was beginning to dawn. ‘Sixty’ was included in his Pulitzer-winning book as a tribute to the event. It all comes to an end like this:

My beloved, the millennium is going to let us down..

I’m going to make a point of detailing the events in detail to be sure they happened as I recall them.