Sunday, January 17, 2010

In the Dark Hours

From The Writer's Almanac I learn it is the birthday of poet William Stafford, born in Hutchinson, Kansas, in 1914, one year before my own mother. Since he and my parents were contemporaries and lived in the same community, it is fanciful of me to imagine that their lives could have possibly crossed paths.

According to Garrison Keillor, Stafford's best-known books are The Rescued Year (1966), Stories That Could Be True: New and Collected Poems (1977), and Traveling Through the Dark (1962). He taught for many years at Lewis and Clark College in Oregon.

Keillor says Stafford usually wrote in the early morning. He sat down with a pen and paper, took a look out the window, and waited for something to occur to him. Here's one excerpt which prompted me to post here:

In the winter, in the dark hours, when others
were asleep, I found these words and put them
together by their appetites and respect for
each other. In stillness, they jostled. They traded
meanings while pretending to have only one.

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