William Stafford

(January 17, 1914 – August 28, 1993 / Kansas)

William Stafford
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William Edgar Stafford was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, on January 17, 1914, to Ruby Mayher and Earl Ingersoll Stafford. The eldest of three children, Stafford grew up with an appreciation for nature and books.

During the Depression the family moved from town to town as Earl Stafford searched for jobs. William helped to support the family also, by delivering papers, working in the sugar beet fields, raising vegetables, and as an electrician's mate. In 1933 Stafford graduated from high school in Liberal, Kansas, and attended Garden City and El Dorado junior colleges, graduating from the University of Kansas in 1937. In 1939 Stafford enrolled at the University of Wisconsin to begin ... more »

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Comments about William Stafford

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  • Rookie - 0 Points Pamela Rogers (1/17/2015 5:50:00 PM)

    Can someone tell me the name of the poem by William Stafford that someone on Oregon Art Beat recently referred to as having helped her during a time of grief? It ended with the sky, the sky, the sky. The title was something about a little girl and a fence for something? I've not located it as yet. Thanks for any help.

  • Rookie Shelly Mccausland (1/24/2014 4:59:00 PM)

    Recently watched Oregon Art Beat where they featured William Stafford. Loved, loved his poetry.....it's how I think. It's inspiring me to get back into writing myself.

  • Rookie Norbert Hirschhorn (4/5/2005 2:33:00 AM)

    William Stafford's Traveling Through the Dark: I am surprised how the poem is always misread. The doe 'had stiffened already, almost cold', i.e, several hours along since death, which makes it impossible for a fawn to be still alive. The whole premise of the poem is thus false, and the dilemma inauthentically presented. Stafford was a man who understood nature and creatures, and so I have to wonder what was he thinking in creating this bit of fiction.

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Best Poem of William Stafford

A Ritual To Read To Each Other

If you don't know the kind of person I am
and I don't know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,
but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs...

Read the full of A Ritual To Read To Each Other

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