Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Poets and Poems: William Stafford and “Ask Me”

William Stafford (1914-1993) was one of the most distinguished poets of the 20th century. He served as what we know call the U.S. Poet Laureate (then the poetry consultant to the Library of Congress) from 1971 to 1972. He published more than 60 books. His Traveling Through the Dark (1962) won the National Book Award for Poetry. He wrote more than 20,000 poems in his lifetime.

Stafford’s son Kim, an author in his own right and his father’s literary executor, has assembled a collection of Stafford’s poetry simply entitled Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems. It’s a collection that’s many things at once: an introduction to Stafford’s poetry, a summary of a life of poetry, a collection of poetic gems, and an illustration of the range of a poetic eye, covering everything from fears of the atomic bomb to a description of a local berry festival that is one part history and one part sociology.

To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.

Photograph: “The Way It Is,” poem by William Stafford engraved on stone; included in Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems.

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