William Stafford

William Stafford

William Stafford was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, in 1914. He received a B.A. and an M.A. from the University of Kansas at Lawrence and, in 1954, a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. During the Second World War, Stafford was a conscientious objector and worked in the civilian public service camps—an experience he recorded in the prose memoir Down My Heart (1947). He married Dorothy Hope Frantz in 1944; they had four children.

In 1948 Stafford moved to Oregon to teach at Lewis and Clark College. Though he traveled and read his work widely, he taught at Lewis and Clark until his retirement in 1980. His first major collection of poems, Traveling Through the Dark, was published when Stafford was forty-eight. It won the National Book Award in 1963. He went on to publish more than sixty-five volumes of poetry and prose. Among his many honors and awards were a Shelley Memorial Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Western States Lifetime Achievement Award in Poetry. In 1970, he was the Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (a position currently known as the Poet Laureate).

Among his best-known books are The Rescued Year (1966), Stories That Could Be True: New and Collected Poems (1977), Writing the Australian Crawl: Views on the Writer's Vocation (1978), and An Oregon Message (1987). William Stafford died at his home in Lake Oswego, Oregon, on August 28, 1993.

Photo credit: Kim Stafford


Ask Me

100 Essential Poems of William Stafford
William Stafford; Edited by Kim Stafford

,

2014

“In our time there has been no poet who revived human hearts and spirits more convincingly than William Stafford.”—Naomi Shihab Nye

Ask Me

100 Essential Poems of William Stafford
William Stafford; Edited by Kim Stafford

,

2014

“In our time there has been no poet who revived human hearts and spirits more convincingly than William Stafford.”—Naomi Shihab Nye

Another World Instead

The Early Poems of William Stafford, 1937-1947
William Stafford; Edited by Fred Marchant

,

2008

The unpublished early poems of William Stafford now added to "a body of work that represents some of the finest poetry written during the second half of [the twentieth] century."—Library Journal

The Way It Is

New and Selected Poems
William Stafford

,

1999

"This is a collection to savor and admire. The many contributors to this extraordinary endeavor have completed a task worthy of this much-loved poet."—Harvard Review

The Way It Is

New and Selected Poems
William Stafford

,

1998
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