Celebrating William Stafford

Poet William Stafford at the Los Prietos Civilian Public Service camp for conscientious objectors.  (One of many photos at the Lewis and Clark College Stafford archives online:  http://www.lclark.edu/william_stafford/multimedia/)
Poet William Stafford at the Los Prietos Civilian Public Service camp for conscientious objectors. (One of many photos at the Lewis and Clark College Stafford archives online: http://www.lclark.edu/william_stafford/multimedia/)

Every January, writers and readers celebrate William Stafford by gathering to read his poems to each other. Next month’s celebrations will have the added dimension of also marking what would have been Stafford’s 100th birthday.

I count Stafford among my earliest and most persistent influences. Here’s a KUOW segment from a few years ago that includes archival audio of Stafford reading “A Ritual to Read to Each Other.”

On Jan. 23, I’ll be part of a gathering of poets at Elliott Bay Books, reading from William Stafford’s work. The event is curated by poet and Elliott Bay bookseller David Wheeler, and includes our state Poet Laureate Kathleen Flenniken, Rebecca Hoogs and Gary Lemons. This is a free event, and it starts at 7p.  Do come – it’s bound to be a joyful and moving evening, celebrating a voice that still resonates.

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