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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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Quotations

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  • ''At noon in the desert a panting lizard
    waited for history, its elbows tense,
    watching the curve of a particular road
    as if something might happen.''
    William Stafford (1914-1941), U.S. poet. At the Bomb Testing Site (l. 1-4). . . The Darkness Around Us Is Deep; Selected Poems. Robert Bly, ed. (1...
  • ''a doe, a recent killing;
    she had stiffened already, almost cold.
    I dragged her off she was large in the belly.''
    William Stafford (1914-1941), U.S. poet. Traveling through the Dark (l. 6-8). . . The Darkness Around Us Is Deep; Selected Poems. Robert Bly, ed. ...
  • ''around our group I could hear the wilderness listen.''
    William Stafford (1914-1941), U.S. poet. Traveling through the Dark (l. 16). . . The Darkness Around Us Is Deep; Selected Poems. Robert Bly, ed. (...
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Comments about William Stafford

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  • 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.

  • 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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