Bestselling author Robert Bly selects his favorite works by the award-winning poet William Stafford.
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Stafford stands tall in the quiet that reveals, in the shadows that illuminate. This is a poet that works harder to say more with less, but also to get more complex messages out of easier words. If we could ever consistently calm down, we would get to the answer, however painful, and move upward... that's the main message this reader received. Parts of "Archival Print":
God snaps your picture - don't look away -
this room right now, your face tilted
exactly as it is before you can think
or control it. Go ahead, let it betray
all the secret emergencies and still hold
that partial disguise you call your character....
Now you want to explain. Your mother
was a certain-how to express it?-i n f l u e n c e.
Yes. And your father, whatever he was,
you couldn't change that. No. And your town
of course had its limits. Go on, keep talking-
Hold it. Don't move. That's you forever....
The main themes and segments of Stafford's life are put into six memorable sections, including "Mother's Voice and Father's Voice", "Speaking the Native American Part In Him" and "The Refusal to Serve War." Stafford sees riches that our materialist, racing world ignores. He often embraces the wealth of the empty field, the un-monumented border town and the memory of a beloved relative. Celebrated in the Pacific Northwest and respected nationally, Robert Bly says of Stafford: "I believe [he] will be read with even greater attention in the next hundred years than he is now." I would agree with that assessment and hope it is a reality.