Welcome to the January edition of Blue Heron Speaks! It is our tradition to choose 2 months out of the year to honor a poetic voice from the past. I usually do this around the holidays and also during National Poetry Month in April. In keeping with that tradition, our very first featured author for 2019 is William Stafford (1914-1993), author of over 65 volumes of poetry and prose, and a much beloved U.S. Poet Laureate (1970).
There is something sacred about using gentle words when describing everyday life. William Stafford has a gift for reverently holding these details in the palm of his hand. Read every line slowly—carefully, for Stafford took great care in choosing each word and image. These poems are offerings. We are meant to taste them and not rush over the meaning.
Please visit the Blue Heron Speaks Featured Author page on our site, to read 3 sample poems by William Stafford, and to learn more about his poetic legacy. I am currently reading, You Must Revise Your Life, by William Stafford (The University of Michigan Press, 1986), which is part of the Poets on Poetry series. These words of advice from Stafford resonate with me, “In its essence, poetry, like other sustained human endeavors, is done best in a condition of humility and welcoming of what comes. The exploration of what the materials of life can yield to us, and the discovery of what is implicit in human experience, will work best for one who is turned outward, with trust, with courage, and with a ready yielding to what time brings into view.” (p.70)