Kim Stafford

Today’s blogpost comes to you courtesy of Bellingham poet, peace worker, and my tireless friend Carla Shafer.

On Tuesday, 27 April 2021—6:00pm to 7:00pm—Village Books hosts Kim Stafford for the Bellingham launch of his latest collection, Singer Come From Afar. (Click on the link to go to Village Books.) This event is part of the Nature of Writing Series run in partnership with the North Cascades Institute.

I love this book. Kim Stafford writes from a deep well of gratitude and human goodness. Some of his poems are furious, some are sly and funny, some are simply beautiful, and all create a space for readers to catch their breath and reflect on the glories of this lovely, reeling planet and the sins against it. What greater gift could a poet give a worried, weary world?

—Kathleen Dean Moore, author of Earth’s Wild Music

Kim Stafford is the founding director of the Northwest Writing Institute at Lewis & Clark College, and the author of a dozen books of poetry and prose, including Having Everything Right (a collection of essays); Early Morning (a biography of William Stafford); We Got Here Together (a children’s book), and The Muses Among Us (a book about the practice of writing). In 2018-2020 he served as Oregon’s poet laureate, and he has taught writing in Mexico, Scotland, Italy, and Bhutan.

Here’s a poem from Kim’s website.

Home School Thoughts for All of Us

In the pandemic, what should we all be learning?

Self reliance
How to cook a meal. How to clean a house, a porch, a yard.
How to plant a garden. How to use tools. How to fix
broken things: sew a button, mend a hole, do laundry,
wash dishes like a pro.

Buoyancy
How to be sad and get over it. How to find the music
that restores you. How to walk so your troubles fall from
your shoulders. How to write your troubles to make them
visible, then manageable, then smaller, and finally funny.

Friendship
How to know a true friend. How to let go old friends
who make you feel bad about yourself. How to give
generously to a friend by listening, asking, wondering.
How to feed a friendship so it roots, deepens, grows.

Thought
How to think something through. How to question
your fears, interrogate them, talk back to them. How to remember
something so precious you are less afraid. How to make clear
what most calls to you, what you love, what you will do to sustain it.

Dreams
How to have a dream toward a life worth planning for, saving for,
working for. How to design ways to make steady progress toward
a worthy goal. How to identify a dream that is so important, you will
let go lesser things to achieve it.

Thrift
How to know what you need. How to pare away what you do need—
objects, habits, false wishes, propaganda coming at you that is foreign to
who you are—so you can give your energy to what you really want.

Love
How does it feel in your body when love is real—love for a person,
for a place, for a feeling about who you really are, a longing for
what you most want to do with this life? This is your compass,
your inner landmark, your truth principle. Only you can know.

Maintenance
Health. Rest. Calm. Breath. Patience. Affection. Humor. Active hope.

—Kim Stafford

 

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