On William Stafford: The Worth of Local Things

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"[His] poems . . . bear witness to both the care and disregard around us--naming the places, catching the shine of the ordinary, pulling the rug out from under vanity and pretension, giving fresh credit to the selfless and decent, acknowledging the inevitable, nudging us toward observant lives and peaceful interactions."--Jurors, Western Book Awards Lifetime Achievement in Poetry, 1992

The late William Stafford's poetry and essays have had a major influence on contemporary American poetry. Since his book ...

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Overview


"[His] poems . . . bear witness to both the care and disregard around us--naming the places, catching the shine of the ordinary, pulling the rug out from under vanity and pretension, giving fresh credit to the selfless and decent, acknowledging the inevitable, nudging us toward observant lives and peaceful interactions."--Jurors, Western Book Awards Lifetime Achievement in Poetry, 1992

The late William Stafford's poetry and essays have had a major influence on contemporary American poetry. Since his book Traveling Through the Dark won the National Book Award in 1963, his awards have grown exponentially as new work has appeared. The range of writers in the past four decades who have celebrated Stafford's work-- from Margaret Atwood to James Dickey-- is remarkable. On William Stafford: The Worth of Local Things helps clarify the precise nature of Stafford's influence by assembling the responses of some of our best poets and critics to his work, including Richard Hugo, Charles Simic, Louis Simpson, Robert Coles, Linda Pastan, and Robert Creeley. This collection offers a unique view of Stafford's sometimes controversial work and insight into several of the liveliest recent debates in poetics.

Tom Andrews is Assistant Professor of English, Ohio University.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780472104246
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/1994
  • Series: Under Discussion Series
  • Pages: 296

Table of Contents

Pt. 1 Book Reviews
William Stafford 3
From "Important and Unimportant Poems" 5
From "Design and Matter" 7
From "The New Poetry" 10
From "'Think What's Got Away . . .'" 12
Country Boy 14
From "Five Poets" 17
From "The Expansional Poet: The Return to Personality" 20
"Quiet as All Books" 23
A Book to Build On 25
From "The Raw and the Cooked" 27
Someday, Maybe 30
From "The Shocks of Normality" 31
Someday, Maybe 41
Like Talk 44
From "Expressing the Difference" 47
From "In Quiet Language" 50
From "Poets on Poetry" 58
From "Lives on Leaves" 60
From "A Remarkable Diversity" 63
Just Being 67
From "News from the Glacier and A Glass Face in the Rain" 72
From "Feeding the Hunger for Stories" 77
Segues: A Correspondence in Poetry 79
From "The Poetry of Realism" 80
Roving across Fields and Smoke's Way 82
You Must Revise Your Life 84
From "Owls, Monkeys and Spiders in Space" 85
From "Short Reviews" 87
From "Together and Apart" 89
Pt. 2 General Essays
Without Heroes, without Villains: Identity and Community in Down in My Heart 95
William Stafford: " 'Tell Us What You Deserve,' the Whole World Said" 104
Problems with Landscapes in Early Stafford Poems 113
William Stafford's Allegiances 121
William Stafford and the Surprise Cliche 132
William Stafford's Long Walk 138
Two Views of the Lone Man 143
William Stafford: Eight Notions 147
From "The First Person" 150
The Absence of the Artist 154
William Stafford's Wilderness Quest 165
Willingly Fallible: The Essays / The Art 203
Pt. 3 Essays on Particular Poems or Articles
From "One Vote" 215
"At the Bomb Testing Site" 219
"Thinking for Berky": Millions of Intricate Moves 221
"With Kit, Age 7, at the Beach" 233
William Stafford's "Mornings" 236
A Comment on William Stafford's "A Way of Writing" in Field 2 246
"Waking at 3 A.M." 249
"Ask Me" 253
"Knowing": Glimpses into Something Ever Larger 255
"Things I Learned Last Week" 258
"1940": Shivers of Summer Wind 260
Pt. 4 Conclusion
Jurors' Citation, 1992 Western States Book Awards: Lifetime Achievement in Poetry 271
Selected Bibliography 273
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