OSU Libraries | OSU Home

Writing the World

Understanding William Stafford

Judith Kitchen

6 × 9 inches. Biblio. Index. 160 pages.

1999. ISBN 978-0-87071-456-6. Paperback, $19.95.

An excellent introduction for readers coming to William Stafford for the first time and an overview of the work for the many readers already familiar with his poetry, Writing the World offers the best single guide to one of the most respected and celebrated poets of our time.

Judith Kitchen's comprehensive study follows Stafford's major publications, from his first books to the later works, including the posthumous collection, The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems. All of Stafford's best-known books come under discussion, including Down in My Heart, a prose account of his experiences as a conscientious objector; West of Your City, his first collection of poems, published when he was 46; and Traveling Through the Dark, which received a National Book Award.

From this careful consideration of William Stafford's life work emerges an understanding of the poet's unique vision of the world and his sense of moral and spiritual responsibility. Kitchen shows the intimate relationship between Stafford's way of writing and his way of living, drawing on specific poems to illustrate his pacifism, his poetic techniques, and his daily writing practices — his way of "being receptive" to the creative act. She also examines his influential essays on the teaching of writing.

Member of AAUP