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Having read and enjoyed Stafford s work in various anthologies and compilations, I found this volume disappointing It contains some lovely gems, but the collection itself has a dreary, lugubrious and, at times, morbid flavor written by a poet who perhaps was obsessing a bit too much over his twilight years. Even in Quiet Places is a short collection of poetry by William Stafford January 17, 1914 August 28, 1993 The poems are accessible to all, and there s an afterward by Kim Stafford Oregon is celebrating the centennial of Stafford s birth, and I ve been reading and listening to a lot of his work The local library has a handful of audio collections with Stafford reading his poems If you cultivate an appreciation for Stafford s style, I highly recommend listening to these recordings.While traversing this volume, I notched the ears of the poems I liked best But when I was finished, and had a chance to look back over my most liked, their numbers jostled and shoved, all wanting to be recognized Listing them all would be redundant, yet I fear having to choose which to overlook So I will randomly choose three or four five poems in no specific order After A Sleazy Show Distractions Playing the Game With Apologies All Around In the Library The Bent Over ones Pretty Good Day What Gets Away From the Wild People Cottonwood Ask Me FREE DOWNLOAD ♉ Even in Quiet Places: Poems ⚖ This Book Brings Together Four Privately Printed Chapbooks And Offers Them To The General Public In One Volume All The Poems Are In William Stafford S Familiar, Reflective Voice, And Some Had Been Freshly Typed At The Time Of Stafford S Death In August Of The Book Is Hospitable To A Full Range Of Experiences, Moods, Stunts With Language, Tones, Expressive Landmarks, And Intimacies With The Universe Long Considered A Major Voice In Twentieth Century American Poetry, William Stafford Is Also One Of Our Nation S Most Popular Poets One of my favorite collections For me, this collection of poems by William Stafford is a retreat into silence and beauty to those quiet places filled with light, sometimes white, sometimes rainbow hued, of the reverence of nature, of forgotten places and ways of life The poems in the last section of the book are part of a collection called The Methow River Poems, written for the the U.S Forest Service as meditative texts to be displayed along a wilderness road Through this last collection, written right before his death, Stafford has us journeying through nature s elements, questioning our place in nature, and creating a longing for stillness.The final part of the collection, a real treat, was written by Stafford s son after his death and before publishing this final collection of his work In it, his son opens up a window into the private yearnings and musings of Stafford s inspirations creating in me a feeling of wistfullness over the great loss of such an extraordinary poet. Quietly and incessantly, these poems compel the reader to listen to the voice that descends finer than dust or moonlight in A Note Slid under the Door I share this sense of the finer world beyond our senses, and appreciate how palpable Stafford makes it seem as he alludes to the little sound in Being a Person or the something beyond music in It s Like This He anthropomorphizes such stolid structures of nature as rivers, mountains, and trees so deftly the reader is hardly aware he is doing it Stafford reminds me of the mountains he describes in several poems one who pauses a long time and lets the world reveal itself.Two favorites are Being a Person, which is, in one way, a succinct parable of the creation story, and In the Library, which touches on the surreal You turn a page carefully Over your shoulder another day has watched what you do and written it down in that book you can t read till all the pages are done. I am an avid William Stafford fan, so I did enjoy this book.It also has one of my very favorite of his poems in it This late book is actually a posthumous collection of earlier chapbooks and a poetry series for outdoor signs commissioned by the Park Service As a collection, I do not think it is one of Stafford s strongest books I think some of his earlier books are much stronger However, Stafford was a tremendously prolific and gifted poet whose archives are now being overseen by his son, Kim also a poet He wrote everyday and everywhere and unfortunately, no matter how wonderful you write every poem you produce is not excellent Which is not to say I wouldn t be quite happy producing some of Stafford s so so poems Nonetheless, I do hope that Stafford s work doesn t become diluted by publishing all his archival material I d hate to see him become another Bukowski. Some of William Stafford s poetry in this book is enjoyable and some is so inscrutable that I wondered how it got published and why he is so lauded as a poet He is the great influencer of one of my most favorite poets, Naomi Shihab Nye, so I expected to love his poetry as much as hers, but I see little relationship between their poems I still love Nye far than Stafford. It is apparently a common thing in poetry publishing for a series of chapbooks to be turned into a mainstream publishing book, and so it was with the last series of chapbooks to be written by William Stafford during his lifetime The poems themselves are surprisingly punchy, demonstrating that William Stafford had not mellowed at all in his old age and that he was still remarkably fierce as a writer This particular set of poems was lovingly collected by the late poet s son Kim, who wrote the afterword to this book and gives some explanation about the provenance of the book and his decision to have the book published by a regional press in Idaho rather than by a larger mainstream publisher Presumably that means that these poems have reached a smaller audience than earlier Stafford books or his popular compilations 1 , but these poems are still the same sort of poems that one would expect from a late William Stafford collection, and if you are a fan of the poet that is a good thing, and makes this work of a bit than 100 pages an obvious and relatively quick read.This collection of poetry is divided into four sections The first three sections are based on chapbooks that Stafford had written in the last three years of his life, ordered from the most recent to the least most recent Who Are You Really, Wanderer , Holding Onto The Grass, and History Is Loose Again The last twenty of the poems are ones that were written by Stafford for the Methow River project, where Stafford submitted twenty poems, of which seven were chosen to grace signs in a national forest, and which had never been published before this time in any form From the beginning the reader can witness the political nature of this poetry, with the author praising a new language that is without pretense, and many of the poems within show a similar political edge Stafford plays with the thought of obscenity in My NEA Poem, where he points to the way that claims of artistic freedom often result in the proliferation of profanity Other poems deal with identity politics, like an interesting all verbs poem that is written in the vein of translated Navajo Another poem gives well meaning advice for the chairman of any committee that Stafford is on giving his perspective in a pithy and effective way And so it goes with reminisces, a look at the author s life as an old professor, and reflections on issues of family and creation.This book is certainly one of the pointed books of poetry in the Stafford oeuvre, but it demonstrates that Stafford was seeking to challenge himself as well as his audience through the end of his life The poems reveal some interesting tensions, with a heart and mind that clearly wanted to grow and develop even as the author was nearing eighty years of age, and a body that seemed to be slowing down dramatically, which is sometimes exhibited in poetry that reflects weariness Yet until the very end of his life, Stafford continued writing and continued struggling against the violence that was all around, and this poem is testament to his opposition to warfare, renderings of traumatic bullying, nightmares, declining morality, and even the violence one can find in creation with bitterly cold winds symbolic of the horrors that people feel the need to share Stafford s work leaves the reader with an unsettling simplicity that hides layers of possible meaning 1 See, for example shefollowed where it went, like a snowflakein love, ravishing.