Stafford event draws 150 to North Plains
Fans sing Happy birthday on centennial of poet laureates birth
Late in his life, Oregon Poet Laureate William Stafford was asked what he had learned over the course of a half-century of daily writing.
The elder Stafford who died in Lake Oswego in August 1993 thought for a moment and began talking about what it had been like to be a teenager in his hometown of Hutchinson, Kan., just as the Great Depression began to take hold.
I guess dad figured he had done most of his growing by age 15, his son Kim Stafford told a crowd inside the parish hall at St. Edward Catholic Church in North Plains Friday evening, gathered to observe the centennial of Williams birth. The wine and poetry event, which also featured comments by Portland writer and University of Portland Magazine editor Brian Doyle, was one of a number of celebrations planned across the state last weekend.
Sponsored by the Friends of the North Plains Library and Friends of the Banks Public Library, the event drew about 150 people.
William Stafford, who was born on Jan. 17, 1914, was a lifelong pacifist and National Book Award winner. He was a conscientious objector during World War II and taught at Lewis & Clark College for decades.
For 50 years, he rose at 3 or 4 every morning to spend an hour of beauty observing, thinking and writing before going on his daily run and tending to the mail and other tasks, essayist and poet Kim Stafford told the group.
He read his fathers poems Fifteen and "Ask Me" and at the urging of a member of the audience led the room in the singing of Happy Birthday, dear Billy.
Add a comment