Jump to navigation Jump to search For other people named William Stafford, see William Stafford. He was the father of poet and essayist Kim Stafford. Stafford was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, the oldest of three children in a highly literate family.
During the Depression, his family moved from town to town in an effort to find work for his father. Stafford helped contribute to family income by delivering newspapers, working in sugar beet fields, raising vegetables, and working as an electrician’s apprentice. Stafford graduated from high school in the town of Liberal, Kansas in 1933.
After initially attending junior college, he received a B. One striking feature of his career is its late start. Stafford was 46 years old when his first major collection of poetry was published, Traveling Through the Dark, which won the 1963 National Book Award for Poetry.
The title poem is one of his best known works. Stafford had a quiet daily ritual of writing and his writing focuses on the ordinary. His gentle quotidian style has been compared to Robert Frost. Paul Merchant writes, “His poems are accessible, sometimes deceptively so, with a conversational manner that is close to everyday speech.
I keep following this sort of hidden river of my life, you know, whatever the topic or impulse which comes, I follow it along trustingly. And I don’t have any sense of its coming to a kind of crescendo, or of its petering out either.