Another World Instead: The Early Poems of William Stafford, 1937-1947


The unpublished early poems of William Stafford now added to "a body of work that represents some of the finest poetry written during the second half of [the twentieth] century." (Library Journal)

If I could remember all at once?but I have forgotten.

But some day, looking along a furrowed cliff, staring

beyond the eyes' strength, I'll start ...

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The unpublished early poems of William Stafford now added to "a body of work that represents some of the finest poetry written during the second half of [the twentieth] century." (Library Journal)

If I could remember all at once—but I have forgotten.

But some day, looking along a furrowed cliff, staring

beyond the eyes' strength, I'll start the avalanche and every stone will fall separate and revealed.

—from "Meditation"

Twenty-eight years old and a conscientious objector during World War II, William Stafford was assigned under penalty of law to work in camps, an internal exile within his own country. In this remarkable collection of poems, nearly all of them never before published, the first decade of Stafford's writing life is for the first time made available to readers. Edited by the poet Fred Marchant, one of the first marine officers honorably discharged as a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, Another World Instead tells the story of a committed pacifist living in a time of war and a writer beginning a major life in American poetry.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"William Stafford's quiet presence in the landscape of American poetry in my lifetime has been a kind of continuing reassurance whose value always seemed to me beyond question." —W. S. MERWIN
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781555974978
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2008
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 1,062,538
  • Product dimensions: 6.71 (w) x 8.91 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

William Stafford (1914–93) was the author of more than fifty books, including Traveling Through the Dark, winner of the National Book Award, and The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems.

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Table of Contents

Introduction by Fred Marchant

For Poems—'42 and '43


White Pigeons

To Schumann-Heink


Subject and Background

Communication from a Wanderer

I. Report of Kansas in Winter

II. Report of the Nation Forest

III. Report of the Southeast

IV. Final Report

From the Sound of Peace

Discovery Home Town

Women of Kansas



At Roll Call


A Vine

Buzzards over Arkansas

Inspirational Talk

Escape Artist

CO Park Project

Friend Sky

"Their voices were stilled . . ."

Exile [I]

Exile [II]

The Prisoner

Week End in Santa Barbara


"Time fills the canyon . . ."

Los Prietos [I]

The Country of Thin Mountains

Dark-Browed Rough Pacifist


Discovery [II]

Los Prietos [II]

The Way Men Walk

Night Sound





CO's Work on Mountain Road

Dar Down, A River

"They say sound is the war . . ."




Walking at Night

"We call it the chaparral . . ."

Here, Now


Prison Camp

"While we sat on the lawn . . ."

"I was there when it happened . . ."

Family Statement


Like Whitman


Nocturne [I]

"spoke about sacrifice . . ."

"Your tragedy before the ship goes down . . ."

"I do not know how that fine dust rises . . ."

More Than Bread

"Shall we have that singing . . ."

These Mornings

Speech from a Play

Nocturne [II]

Christmas Comes but Once a Year


War Guilt


Devotion To a Gold Star Mother

At a Little Church

"You might as well put . . ."

"The One who said 'No violence' . . ."


Fire in Lava Country

"It's an old story . . ."

We Kindred


Little Sermon

Isaiah, ‘44

"They taught me to be hurt . . ."

A Posy

"They flawed when struck . . ."


Speech from the Big Play

One Place I Saw

Before the Big Storm

"Unto a great great deaf mountain . . ."

The Tall Animals


Travel Report: 1945

All White

Chicago Bridge, Evening

"That land spoke . . ."



"I had forgotten the clown . . ."

The War Season

Translation from the Yaqui

Twelve Years Old

The Midgets of War

Mr. Conscience

Nine-Year’s Dream

"The first thing that grows . . ."

The Sound: Summer, 1945


"A note on solemn war . . ."

On Attending a Militaristic Church Service

Nine Years Old

CO Week End

"Over the Candle we looked at us . . ."





Return "I thought they shouldn't turn the light so low . . ."

Easy Art

"They listened to him say his creed . . ."

To Those among Us Who Will Be Wise, and Know

Deep Listening

"You dropped into my morning . . ."


Two Bits Worth

"When I walked along the earth . . ."

So Long

Human Song


"All around the biggest bay . . ."

Demolition Project


Home Town from the Flyer

"While one bird bears the noon . . ."

Like Ours

Humanity in the Service

The Arrow Maker

Muttered Creed

Country Boy at College—Postwar

Members of the Kingdom

Night Words

Smoke Trees

At the Salt Marsh

Those Few

Super Market



"There in the deep room . . ."

Beginning of Hostilities

Two Kinds of Faith

"Your tears fell on my eyes . . ."

Who Blow

A Leader I Met

The Materials

Faint Message


Every Breakfast

Storm Warning

The Verdict

Graduate Work


Postwar Niblets

Inside Engines

Too Big



The Myth of the Windblown Hair

The Right Thing

It Was This Way


Walking Papers

Ruminations: Noon

Rebel Telling You

From the Back Row

Wind Gift

"A million explosions went out . . ."

[Coda: a Dedication]



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