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A prolific writer, famous pacifist, respected teacher, and literary mentor to many, William Stafford is one of the great American poets of the 20th century. His first major collection--Traveling through the Dark--won the National Book Award. William Stafford published more than sixty-five volumes of poetry and prose and was Poetry Consultant to the Library of Congress--a position now know as the Poet Laureate. Before William Stafford's death in 1993, he gave his son Kim the greatest gift and challenge: to be his literary executor. In Early Morning, Kim creates an intimate portrait of a father and son who shared many passions: archery, photography, carpentry, and finally, writing itself. But Kim also confronts the great paradox at the center of William Stafford's life. The public man, the poet who was always communicating with warmth and feeling--even with strangers--was capable of profound, and often painful silence within the family. By piecing together a collage of his personal and family memories, and sifting through thousands of pages, of his father's daily writing and poems, Kim illuminates a fascinating and richly lived life.
Bret and Kim Stafford, the oldest children of the poet and pacifist William Stafford, were pals. Bret was the good son, the obedient public servant, Kim the itinerant wanderer. In this family of two parent teachers, with its intermittent celebration of “talking recklessly,” there was a code of silence about hard things: “Why tell what hurts?” As childhood pleasures ebbed, this reticence took its toll on Bret, unable to reveal his troubles. Against a backdrop of the 1960s — puritan in the summer of love, pacifist in the Vietnam era — Bret became a casualty of his interior war and took his life in 1988. 100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do casts spells in search of the lost brother: climbing the water tower to stand naked under the moon, cowboys and Indians with real bullets, breaking into church to play a serenade for God, struggling for love, and making bail. In this book, through a brother’s devotions, the lost saint teaches us about depression, the tender ancestry of violence, the quest for harmonious relations, and finally the trick of joy.
The unpublished early poems of William Stafford now added to "a body of work that represents some of the finest poetry written during the second half of [the twentieth] century." (Library Journal) If I could remember all at once--but I have forgotten. But some day, looking along a furrowed cliff, staring beyond the eyes' strength, I'll start the avalanche and every stone will fall separate and revealed. --from "Meditation" Twenty-eight years old and a conscientious objector during World War II, William Stafford was assigned under penalty of law to work in camps, an internal exile within his own country. In this remarkable collection of poems, nearly all of them never before published, the first decade of Stafford's writing life is for the first time made available to readers. Edited by the poet Fred Marchant, one of the first marine officers honorably discharged as a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, Another World Instead tells the story of a committed pacifist living in a time of war and a writer beginning a major life in American poetry.
Ninety poems gathered from four privately printed limited editions are now available to the general public. Stafford's poems demonstrate his profound understanding of freedom and social justice while showing us ways to establish harmony in our own lives.
The Osage Orange Tree, a never-before-published story by beloved poet William Stafford, is about young love complicated by misunderstanding and the insecurity of adolescence, set against the backdrop of poverty brought on by the Great Depression. The narrator recalls a girl he once knew. He and Evangeline, both shy, never find the courage to speak to each other in high school. Every evening, however, Evangeline meets him at the Osage orange tree on the edge of her property. He delivers a newspaper to her, and they talk—and as the year progresses a secret friendship blossoms. This magical coming-of-age tale is brought to life through linocut illustrations by Oregon artist Dennis Cunningham, with an afterword by poet Naomi Shihab Nye, a personal friend of Stafford’s. In the tradition of the work of great fiction writers like Steinbeck, O’Connor, and Welty, The Osage Orange Tree stands the test of time, not just as an ode to a place and a generation but as a testament to the resilience of a nation and the strength of the human heart.
A collection of essays first published in 1986, Having Everything Right revolves around the history, folklore, and physical beauty of the Pacific Northwest. In terms of genre the book comes closest to books like Wallace Stegner’s Wolf Willow or the essay collections of Edward Abbey and Wendell Berry, books that blend personal vision and regional evocation. Stafford's essays in this tradition range from the direct exploration of "A Walk in Early May" to the abstract meditation of "Out of This World with Chaucer and the Astronauts," to the familial and social reflections of "The Great Depression as Heroic Age." Animating them all is the sense that there is joy in knowing the world-and the belief that true knowing brings, as Stafford says, "a change of heart." Stafford writes poetic and evocative prose as he reflects on such subjects as Indian place names, bears, and local eccentrics.
The Muses Among Us is an inviting, encouraging book for writers at any stage of their development. In a series of first-person letters, essays, manifestos, and notes to the reader, Kim Stafford shows what might happen at the creative boundary he calls "what we almost know." On the boundary's far side is our story, our poem, our song. On this side are the resonant hunches, griefs, secrets, and confusions from which our writing will emerge. Guiding us from such glimmerings through to a finished piece are a wealth of experiments, assignments, and tricks of the trade that Stafford has perfected over thirty years of classes, workshops, and other gatherings of writers. Informing The Muses Among Us are Stafford's own convictions about writing--principles to which he returns again and again. We must, Stafford says, honor the fragments, utterances, and half-discovered truths voiced around us, for their speakers are the prophets to whom writers are scribes. Such filaments of wisdom, either by themselves or alloyed with others, give rise to our poems, stories, and essays. In addition, as Stafford writes, "all pleasure in writing begins with a sense of abundance--rich knowledge and boundless curiosity." By recommending ways for students to seek beyond the self for material, Stafford demystifies the process of writing and claims for it a Whitmanesque quality of participation and community.

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