william stafford


Based upon the prompt to write like William Stafford in a workshop in honor of his birth centennial.

I breathe in light
I sleep in color
I dance with design
Yet I paint not

I freeze with paintbrush in hand
Scissors slide flesh not paper
Glue melds fingers to clothing
Paint drips on my feet

I begrudge the masters of brush
Of pen that licks paper black
Of knives birthing beings from wood
Of fingers creating clay creatures

I aspire to be a master of art
Framed, famed, and auctioned
Leaving a legacy of color
As I pass through this world

Prompt: Write Like William Stafford

As part of the preparations for the Centennial Celebration of the birth of William Stafford, our prompt was:

Write like William Stafford.

You may read selected poems by William Stafford from the William Stafford Poetry preserved by the Friends of William Stafford to assist you with this prompt.

We’ve also put together a post with more information on William Stafford and his work.

Writers in the Grove Honors the William Stafford Centennial

Writers in the Grove is working with the Forest Grove Library and other writers groups and educational institutions to celebrate the William Stafford Centennial Celebrations to honor his birth.

Throughout 2013-14, we will be involved with special events and activities to not only honor the Poet Laureate of the United States and Oregon, but study and learn more about his work.

You may read selected poems by William Stafford from the William Stafford Poetry preserved by the Friends of William Stafford.

About William Stafford

William Stafford is a famous American poet and pacifist, and was the 20th Consultant in Poetry to the US Library of Congress, today known as the Poet Laureate. Born in the depression, his family migrated around the country looking for work, and when the draft came for World War II, already in university studies, he declared himself a conscientious objector and registered pacifist. At the age of 46, his first major collection of poetry was published, Traveling Through the Dark, filled with poetic stories and impressions of his interactions with nature and farm life, honoring the words he used to describe himself as one of “the quiet of the land.” It won the 1963 National Book Award for Poetry. He published over 65 volumes of poetry and prose before his death in 1993

Stafford and his wife moved to Oregon to teach at Lewis and Clark College, where he remained until his retirement in 1980. To honor the 100th anniversary of his birth, the state of Oregon held a Centennial Celebration, and Writers in the Grove joined the celebration with special projects, events, readings, prompts, and educational sessions.