al poets and writers are inviting the public to join them for a night of poetry in honor of William Stafford, Oregon's Poet Laureate from 1914 to 1993.
   A Stafford Reading program will be introduced at 4 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 26, at the Jefferson County Library Annex.
   The program will begin with a showing of a video profile of William Stafford with his friend, poet Robert Bly. A group of local writers, including Jarold Ramsey, Steve Hillis, Pete Carlson, Irene and Mary Conroy, Dr. Bud Beamer, Marilee Gerke, and others will read poems by Stafford, as well as poem of their own.
   Members of the audience will then be invited to read a poem of their choice and the program will conclude with refreshments and the opportunity to purchase books by Stafford.
   Stafford was one of America's most distinguished and revered poets, won the National Book Award and many other honors, and was the Poet Laureate of the United States in 1970-71.
   He taught for many years at Lewis and Clark College, and lived in Lake Oswego and Sisters.
   A tireless traveler, he gave thousands of poetry readings all over America and the world, literally from Madras, India, to Madras, Ore.
   Following his death, an organization called The Friends of William Stafford was formed by his admirers to honor his poetry and promote the reading and writing of poetry in general.
   The Friends sponsor readings across Oregon and in other states, and the first Stafford Reading program in Madras was planned to debut in January, the month of his birth.
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