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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Bringing the 'ordinary' into vivid detail


“You don't need many words if you already know what you're talking about.” – William Stafford
 
Stafford, who was born in Kansas on this date in 1914, had a quiet daily ritual of writing, much of it focused on the ordinary, but powerfully presented through his words.   His gentle quotidian style has been compared to that of Robert Frost.

A close friend and collaborator with Minnesota poet Robert Bly, Stafford’s writing career started late in life (he was 46 when he first published).  His writing, though, started privately much earlier and for over 50 years he kept a daily journal until his death in 1993.  Ultimately his journals totaled over 20,000 pages, some published in the 2003 book Every War Has Two Losers.  Stafford’s complete journal collection is maintained by Lewis & Clark College.

A frequent contributor to magazines and journals, Stafford composed some 22,000 poems with over 3,000 appearing in his 57 published books of poetry.  
 U.S. Poet Laureate James Dickey called Stafford           
one of those poets "who pour out rivers of ink, all on good poems."

Stafford said he would love to be able to constantly look at life through a child’s eyes, knowing that the world would always look amazing that way.   “Kids,” he said.  “They dance before they learn there is anything that isn't music.”


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