Tag archive for "william stafford"

National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day – August 28 – William Stafford

No Comments 28 August 2012


For all your regulars out there you know that last week’s poem of the day showcased today’s DPD – William Stafford.

He was a late starter. Stafford wasn’t published until his late 40s yet still managed to win the National Award for Poetry, publish over 3000 works, and – in 1970 – became Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (a precursor to the National Poet Laureate).

When he was drafted to fight in WWII in 1941 he filed as a Conscientious Objector. As a pacifist he performed forestry and soil conservation work in California and Arkansas.

He was a man very much in tune with the natural world around him. As this NPR interview highlights, he often likened his life to following a river. Managing the natural ebb and flow of the daily shit storm. Being able to cope with lame days while taking the time to enjoy an ice cream sandwich on the 4th of July.

‘What the river says, that is what I say’ – Billy Stafford

Get your obits here!

William Stafford, Educator And Oregon Poet Laureate
LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. – William Edgar Stafford, Oregon poet laureate emeritus and longtime educator, has died. He was 79.

Mr. Stafford died Saturday afternoon of heart failure at his home, Deputy Jeff McClennan of the Clackamas County Medical Examiner’s office said yesterday.

Mr. Stafford, a professor emeritus of English at Lewis & Clark College, served as a poetry consultant to the Library of Congress in 1970. He was named Oregon poet laureate in 1975. Continue


Wednesday Poem of the Week: Traveling Through the Dark by William Stafford

No Comments 22 August 2012

Traveling Through the Dark by William Stafford

Traveling through the dark I found a deer
dead on the edge of the Wilson River road.
It is usually best to roll them into the canyon:
that road is narrow; to swerve might make more dead.

By glow of the tail-light I stumbled back of the car
and stood by the heap, a doe, a recent killing;
she had stiffened already, almost cold.
I dragged her off; she was large in the belly.

My fingers touching her side brought me the reason–
her side was warm; her fawn lay there waiting,
alive, still, never to be born.
Beside that mountain road I hesitated.

The car aimed ahead its lowered parking lights;
under the hood purred the steady engine.
I stood in the glare of the warm exhaust turning red;
around our group I could hear the wilderness listen.

I thought hard for us all–my only swerving–,
then pushed her over the edge into the river.

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