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Friday, July 30, 2010

Poetry Friday--William Stafford

If you don't know the work of the late William Stafford, you should! He has a way with words that extends beyond poetry--he was a teacher, a critic, an explainer of poetry, etc.

He also has a big following! I discovered a website devoted to, actually more like a "devotion" of, William Stafford. The "Resources" page has numerous links to more information about William Stafford, as well as links to videos.

Lewis and Clark College holds the William Stafford Archives and its online site has some of Stafford's poems in draft form that you can study. Check it out here.

Crossing Unmarked Snow: Further Views on the Writer's Vocation by William Stafford [811 STA] is an interesting book in that it is not strictly poetry, but covers a little of everything including this poem, "An Afternoon in the Stacks." A great one for a librarian to promote!
An Afternoon in the Stacks

Closing the book, I find I have left my head
inside. It is dark in here, but the chapters open
their beautiful spaces and give a rustling sound,
words adjusting themselves to their meaning.
Long passages open at successive pages. An echo,
continuous from the title onward, hums
behind me. From in here, the world looms,
a jungle redeemed by these linked sentences
carved out when an author traveled and a reader
kept the way open. When this book ends
I will pull it inside-out like a sock
and throw it back in the library. But the rumor
of it will haunt all that follows in my life.
A candleflame in Tibet leans when I move.
Stop by Live. Love. Explore! with Irene Latham for the Poetry Friday Round-Up.


  1. Hadn't seen this before. I just sent myself a copy - thanks! I am a big William Stafford fan.

  2. Ooh, I love that candleflame in Tibet. And libraries too. :)