Celebrating Stafford the Poet on Oregon Coast
(Waldport, Oregon) – Two towns on the central Oregon coast will celebrate the life of William Stafford, known as Oregon's most famous poet. Waldport shines the spotlight on him on January 12 with “Starting Here: A Stafford Celebration” at the Waldport Community Center, and then on January 15 the Driftwood Public Library in Lincoln City hosts yet another celebration.
Stafford was appointed Oregon Poet Laureate in 1975 is considered one of America's most prolific poets, authoring more than 50 books in his 79 years. He was a professor at Lewis and Clark College for 30 years, 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.
At the Waldport Community Center, things get underway at 3 p.m. on January 12.
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.
Featured writers include: Brian Hanna, Linnea Harper, Ruth Harrison, Herman Welch, and Drew Myron.
This year marks what would have been William Stafford’s 99th birthday. To celebrate, the Friends of William Stafford is sponsoring over 50 poetry readings and presentations across the globe.
Waldport’s celebration 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.
The Waldport celebration features the following writers:
Brian Hanna, of Seal Rock, is an architect who emerged from retirement to design commercial and industrial structures in the U.S and Canada. He is a member of Tuesdays, a weekly writing group, and a volunteer for Seashore Family Literacy.
Linnea Harper lives on McKinney Slough in Waldport and is a member of the Tuesday writers group. She was a finalist for the Bunchgrass Prize, and her poems have appeared in Calyx and other literary publications. You can hear her read at oregonpoeticvoices.com.
Herman Welch is a native Oregonian. He graduated from Lewis and Clark College in 1956, where he was a student of William Stafford. After 40 years in the insurance business, Welch retired to Waldport where he served 12 years on the city council, including four years as mayor.
Ruth Harrison has lived on the central coast since 1973. She is a retired professor of medieval literature. Several of her poems appear in the newest edition of Lewis Turco's Book of Forms, and her work is included in a new anthology of poems for children. Her latest collection of poetry is How Singular and Fine.
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.
That celebrations is free and open to all ages. 265 Hemlock St (on Hwy 34) in Waldport, Oregon.
The January 15 celebration in Lincoln City starts at 6:30 p.m. Driftwood Poets and local Friends of William Stafford will host a reading of the late Oregon poet-laureate’s work. Audience members are encouraged to bring a poem of William Stafford’s to read aloud. Listeners are also welcome. The reading will take place in the Community Room of the library. Refreshments and door prizes will follow.
The annual series of readings are held in January, the month of Stafford’s birth, all over Oregon, the U.S., and internationally. This year the Newport Public Library will host a reading on the same night. See the Friends of William Stafford website (www.williamstafford.org) for a complete list of Stafford Birthday events.
The library is located on the second floor of the city building at 801 SW Hwy 101. Contact Ron Sears at 541-996-1255 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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