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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  • Michael Walker Michael Walker(8/28/2019 8:39:00 PM)

    William Stafford ranked highest among fellow poets rather than run-of-the-mill readers.
    He had technical brilliance fused with imagination. Also originality.

    1 person liked.
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  • Jimmy Frank(4/26/2019 9:19:00 AM)

    @Sir Bob The Great
    Wat the heck? ? ? ?

    1 person liked.
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  • Sir Bob The Great(4/26/2019 9:17:00 AM)

    I say what a great man. Must go now its tea time.

    2 person liked.
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  • Bob Rupp(4/16/2019 1:28:00 PM)

    Life sleeps in this tired old horse - from " A few snorts from a wild one"

    1 person liked.
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  • Mike Brady(1/27/2019 10:37:00 AM)

    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 person liked.
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  • Dave Harvey(12/31/2018 12:34:00 PM)

    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.

    2 person liked.
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  • Danny Smith(10/6/2018 12:03:00 AM)

    Hello Pamela Rogers


    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.

    3 person liked.
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  • Prosenjit N Sinha(1/29/2018 10:02:00 PM)

    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 person liked.
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  • 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.

    8 person liked.
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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.

    12 person liked.
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Read all 12 comments »
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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