Poet Memory — William Stafford

Well, this post is not about dogs (or is it?). It’s about the influence poet William Stafford had on me years ago when he visited my American Literature class at the University of Colorado. Mr. Stafford was a gentle soul who stood before the class radiating strength in the quietest of ways. He spoke about the writing process, his life of writing poems, his daily routine.

Mr. Stafford’s lecture was on revision, breaking the word in two so we could see its meaning clearly. Re Vision. Literally, to see again. I’ve never forgotten those words, especially when it’s time to revise my work. They are helpful intangible jewels that sit in an imaginary tiny treasure chest on my writer’s desk (or somewhere in my brain), part of my own cheering squad, pushing me forward to see again.

During the visit, Mr. Stafford read a poem to us. I remember him telling us that he had driven over mountain roads from his home to the Boulder campus and that he’d driven at night (had he?) and then he slipped into the poem like a selkie into the sea and spoke in poetry… this poem “Traveling Through the Dark”

 

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