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, b ...
Popular Poems
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.
Ask Me
Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life. Others
have come in their slow way into
Traveling Through The Dark
Traveling through the dark I found a deer
dead on the edge of the Wilson River road.
It is usually best to roll them into the canyon:
that road is narrow; to swerve might make more dead.
For My Young Friends Who Are Afraid
There is a country to cross you will
find in the corner of your eye, in
the quick slip of your foot--air far
down, a snap that might have caught.
Just Thinking
Got up on a cool morning. Leaned out a window.
No cloud, no wind. Air that flowers held
for awhile. Some dove somewhere.


Elizabeth Marchitti 28 November 2019
Why can't I find his Juncos poem? There was a whole art show based on his line " I love their clean little coveralls." I have most of his books but don't know which one to look in. I love William Stafford. I love juncos.
0 4 Reply
carlos 06 November 2019
Poem name: First line: " Time wants to show you a different country"
0 2 Reply
Michael Walker 28 August 2019
William Stafford ranked highest among fellow poets rather than run-of-the-mill readers. He had technical brilliance fused with imagination. Also originality.
2 2 Reply
Jimmy Frank 26 April 2019
@Sir Bob The Great Wat the heck? ? ? ?
1 3 Reply
Sir Bob The Great 26 April 2019
I say what a great man. Must go now its tea time.
2 3 Reply
Bob Rupp 16 April 2019
Life sleeps in this tired old horse - from " A few snorts from a wild one"
1 3 Reply
Mike Brady 27 January 2019
Would someone tell me the first word of the first line of Stafford’s “A Few Snorts from a Wild One”? I have a photocopy of that poem, but the first word (and only that one word) is illegible... Kind regards!
1 6 Reply
Dave Harvey 31 December 2018
I think the first poem I ever read by him was titled Alpine.: It was a monologue by a small animal that lived above timberline on an unnamed mountain.
4 4 Reply
Danny Smith 06 October 2018
Hello Pamela Rogers THE LITTLE GIRL BY THE FENCE AT SCHOOL Grass that was moving found all shades of brown, moved them along, flowed autumn away galloping southward where summer had gone. And that was the morning someone’s heart stopped and all became still. A girl said, “Forever? ” And the grass. “Yes. Forever.” While the sky — The sky — the sky — the sky.
4 5 Reply
Prosenjit N Sinha 29 January 2018
Nobert Hirschhorn is preoccupied with the apparent, incapable of appreciating the spaces of the mind which may guide us to universal truths. You cannot blame him; for urban life with it's trivialities, ultimately constricts- builds walls of concrete & glass which keeps in facts but excludes the Truth.
2 5 Reply
Pamela Rogers 17 January 2015
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.
8 8 Reply
T B 22 January 2015
The Little Girl by the Fence at School
0 0 Reply
Shelly Mccausland 24 January 2014
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.
12 13 Reply
Norbert Hirschhorn 05 April 2005
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.
37 38 Reply

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