Skip Navigation

Home / Writer's Forum / Video Tape Library

William Stafford -- Poet

Host(s): Gregory Fitzgerald and Lewis Turco

Tape order number: VF-9-2

Visit Date: November 13, 1969

Length: 30 minutes

Published as:

  • "Keeping the Lines Wet: A Conversation with William Stafford." Philip L. Gerber and Robert J. Gemmett, Eds. Prairie Schooner 44.2 (Summer 1970): 123-36.

Brief Summary: Stafford says that although all poets are influenced by the past, it is a good thing not to be dominated by tradition. He feels free to go in any direction when he writes, often letting syllables suggest what should come next, and suggests that poems should unfold like dreams. Stafford considers each of his poems to be quiet protest poems. He says that his mother has influenced him more than any great poet, and that he embraces his background.

Work(s) Read:

  • "An introduction for Some Poems"
  • "Vocation"
  • "At the Bomb Testing Site"
  • "B.C."
  • "A Family Turn"

Writers mentioned:

  • W. Whitman
  • J. Berryman
  • W.C. Williams
  • T.S. Elliot
  • W.B. Yeats
  • T. Roethke
  • J. Dickey

For me, poetry seems like conversation that has a lot of luck in it.

-- William Stafford

Ordering Information

Back to the Catalog Main Index