Join the worldwide birthday celebration honoring the life and work of the late William Stafford, Oregon’s most famous poet. Starting Here: A Stafford Celebration takes place on Saturday, January 21 from 2 to 4pm at the Waldport Community Center in Waldport, Oregon. Admission is free and open to all ages.
Oregon writers will read a Stafford poem, as well as one of their own pieces written in the spirit of Stafford’s works. In addition, members of the audience are invited to read a favorite Stafford poem or to share a personal anecdote about the late Oregon poet laureate.
This free event is sponsored by Friends of the Waldport Public Library, a nonprofit group that seeks to stimulate and support the use of the Waldport Public Library, its resources and services, in conjunction with Friends of William Stafford, a nonprofit organization providing education in literature, particularly in poetry, in a way that will encourage readers, writers and those who aspire to find their own voice. This year FWS is sponsoring over 60 poetry readings and presentations throughout Oregon and Washington, and also in California, Nevada, Ohio, New Jersey, Vermont, New York and in Glasgow, Scotland, and Sapporo, Japan.
The Waldport celebration features the following writers and students from Seashore Family Literacy:
Herman Welch served as mayor of Waldport from 2007 to 2011. He is a retired insurance executive and attended Lewis & Clark College in the 1950s, where he was a student of Mr. William Stafford.
Fred Strauss, of Tidewater, is a longtime volunteer for Seashore Family Literacy, where he served as founding member of the high school writing group, and tutor to adult readers. Strauss is a past member of Tuesday, a weekly writing group. His poems and stories appear in several Tuesday anthologies, and in four volumes of Find Your Place, Seashore’s annual anthology.
Shirley Plummer, of Yachats, is a native Oregonian, poet, and traveler. After graduating from Willamette University in 1952, she served with the Red Cross in Korea. She’s lived throughout the U.S. and moved to Yachats in 2007 to reside near family.
Drew Myron, of Yachats, is a writer, editor and poet. She frequently leads writing workshops for youth and adults. For 15 years she has operated DCM, a marketing communications company. See www.drewmyron.com.
William Stafford was one of America’s most prolific poets, authoring more than 50 books in his 79 years. A professor at Lewis and Clark College, where he taught for 30 years, he was appointed Oregon Poet Laureate in 1975 and also earned a National Book Award. He was known for his encouragement of other writers and for his advocacy of free expression in writing and speech.
A pacifist, Stafford was a conscientious objector during World War II. He was confined in Civilian Public Service work camps in Arkansas and California, where he did work for the U.S. Forest Service. For the following fifty years, Stafford included poems of pacifism and reconciliation in his readings.
Stafford believed that treasures were to be found beneath your feet, and that searching for things that fit together was to follow the “golden thread.” About his own works, he once said, “I have woven a parachute out of everything broken.”
He died of a heart attack in Lake Oswego, Oregon on August 28, 1993. He was 79.
For more information about Starting Here: A Stafford Celebration, contact Drew Myron at 541.547.3757, email@example.com, www.drewmyron.com