January 19 — reading in honor of poet William Stafford

Contact: Jim Ellefson, Ellefson@champlain.edu, 865-6406

Where and when: Morgan Room, Aiken Hall; 7 p.m. — FREE

You and your students are cordially invited to participate in a simultaneous worldwide celebration of….

       William Stafford’s Birthday!

       Featuring Stafford-inspired readings from Champlain College students and faculty members. Expect that there will be snacks….


   William Stafford   (1914 – 1993)

Considered one of the twentieth century’s most important poets, William Stafford is also known for being a conscientious objector to World War II. He spent the war years working in camps and on projects for other conscientious objectors. He chronicled these experiences in a book of prose, Down in My Heart, which was published in 1947.

As part of the birthday celebration, the organizers of the event are planning to show the film Every War Has Two Losers, a documentary film based on Stafford’s journals. The film addresses such questions as the following: Why do we believe war is inevitable? Can a war actually ever be won? What are the alternatives? Date of film screening: still TBA.

Information on Every War Has Two Losers: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1564050/

Stafford’s first major collection of poems, Traveling Through the Dark, was published when Stafford was forty-eight. It won the National Book Award in 1963. The Core curriculum’s Rhetorical Reader includes the title poem among its pages:

Traveling Through the Dark

By William Stafford

Traveling through the dark I found a deer
dead on the edge of the Wilson River road.
It is usually best to roll them into the canyon:
that road is narrow; to swerve might make more dead.

By glow of the tail-light I stumbled back of the car
and stood by the heap, a doe, a recent killing;
she had stiffened already, almost cold.
I dragged her off; she was large in the belly.

My fingers touching her side brought me the reason—
her side was warm; her fawn lay there waiting,
alive, still, never to be born.
Beside that mountain road I hesitated.

The car aimed ahead its lowered parking lights;
under the hood purred the steady engine.
I stood in the glare of the warm exhaust turning red;
around our group I could hear the wilderness listen.

I thought hard for us all—my only swerving—,
then pushed her over the edge into the river.

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