Deschutes Public Library News
Celebrate Oregon's Own William Stafford
Posted By: Liz Goodrich
Date Posted: 1/15/2007
In his poem “Climbing Along The River,” the late William Stafford wrote, “Willows never forget how it feels to be young.” In honor of Oregon’s most famous poet laureate, Deschutes Public Library and Central Oregon Community College Library join together to host a poetry reading celebrating Stafford’s “birthday” on Tuesday, January 23 at the Central Oregon Community College Library. Reception begins at 7:00 p.m. with the program beginning at 7:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend this free event. Free public parking is available both across from the COCC library in the bookstore parking lot, and north of the library. Stafford’s daughter Kit, an artist and teacher from Sisters, will be on had for the annual celebration.
Events, known as "birthday parties," are held around the country and feature local poets and writers reading Stafford’s poems. This year Judith H. Montgomery will serve as Mistress of Ceremonies. Featured poets and writers include Neil Bryant, John Martin, Stacey Donohue and Ellen Satasiero. Following the readings, members of the audience are invited to join in the celebration by reading a favorite Stafford poem or telling a personal anecdote about the late Oregon poet laureate.
Stafford was born in Hutchinson, KS, on January 17, 1914. Now one of America’s most celebrated poets, Stafford was a favorite professor at Lewis and Clark College during his 30 years there. Known for his encouragement of other writers, Stafford is the author of more than fifty books of poetry and essays. He died in 1993.
According to Joseph A. Soldati, Chair of the Friends of William Stafford Board of Trustees, of the 46 reading planned across the country, 33 are in Oregon, and feature more than 200 invited poets. The Friends of William Stafford is a nonprofit poetry-advocacy organization dedicated to keeping alive Stafford’s gift as a teacher devoted to all types of free expression. For more information, please call 312-1032.