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Pre-July 2009 Press Archives

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1/2/2009 Linfield College to host William Stafford commemorative reading

McMINNVILLE – A poetry reading celebrating and commemorating Oregon's late poet laureate, William Stafford, will be held Tuesday, Jan. 13, at 7 p.m. in the Austin Reading Room at the Jereld R. Nicholson Library at Linfield College. At this reading, several poets will read a poem by Stafford and one of their own works written in the spirit of Stafford's work. Featured readers are Hank Slangal, Susan Parker, Bob Zahnizer, Ryan Wilson, Jamie Lyon and Thomas Ross. They will be introduced by hosts Lex Runciman, professor of English at Linfield, and Barbara Drake, professor emeritus of English. After the poets read, members of the audience will be invited to read one of their favorite Stafford poems or share a relevant anecdote or reflection. Anyone planning to participate should bring a copy of one or two of their favorite Stafford poem. Each January the Friends of William Stafford (FWS) celebrates the birthday of Oregon’s most famous poet by sponsoring poetry readings throughout the Northwest and beyond. This year there will be more than 50 poetry readings throughout Oregon and Washington, in six other states, and five foreign countries. For a full list of the dates, times and contacts for all the readings, go to the FWS Website: williamstafford.org. Besides this reading in McMinnville, readings in Oregon will take place in Portland, Beaverton, Lake Oswego, Oregon City, Hillsboro, West Linn, Welches, Salem, La Grande, Enterprise, Hermiston, Silverton, McMinnville, Lincoln City, Florence, The Dalles, Madras, Ontario, Klamath Falls, Salem, Ashland, Albany, Bend, Seaside, Newport, Neskowin, Eugene, Oakland and Corvallis. In Washington readings will take place in Vancouver, Longview, Washougal, Bellingham, White Salmon, Wenatchee, Kirkland, Auburn, Seattle and Bainbridge Island. In all, more than 320 invited poets and the 15 FWS Board members, many of whom are also poets, will participate in the readings. A reading will also be held near Santa Barbara, Calif., in the First Crossing Day Use Area of Los Padres National Park, which was the site where Stafford spent several years during World War II as a conscientious objector working in the forest. Stafford was born on Jan. 17, 1914. A favorite professor at Lewis and Clark College, where he taught for 30 years, he remains one of America's most celebrated poets. Known for his encouragement of other writers and for his advocacy of free expression in writing and speech, Stafford is the author of more than 50 books and a recipient of the National Book Award. He died in August 1993. The Friends of William Stafford is a non-profit poetry-advocacy organization that, by keeping alive Stafford's gift as a teacher devoted to all types of free expression, provides ongoing education in literature, particularly in poetry, in ways that will encourage and broaden the community of readers and writers. The reading, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Friends of William Stafford and Linfield College. For more information contact lruncim@linfield.edu or swhyte@linfield.edu, or call 503-883-2517.