Synopses & Reviews
“In our time there has been no poet who revived human hearts and spirits more convincingly than William Stafford.” —Naomi Shihab Nye
Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life.
—from “Ask Me”
In celebration of the poet's centennial, Ask Me collects one hundred of William Stafford's essential poems. As a conscientious objector during World War II, while assigned to Civilian Public Service camps Stafford began his daily writing practice, a lifelong early-morning ritual of witness. His poetry reveals the consequences of violence, the daily necessity of moral decisions, and the bounty of art. Selected and with a note by Kim Stafford, Ask Me presents the best from a profound and original American voice.
“Stafford...left behind a body of work that represents some of the finest poetry written during the second half of the twentieth century.” Library Journal
"Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems is a wonderful one-volume introduction to Stafford's poetry." Oregonian
"Stafford was a phenomenon....In this selection of one hundred poems published to celebrate his centenary, Stafford emerges as an allegorist, a messenger....These poised poems are revealing without being explicit, as in the final line of the justly famous title poem, 'What the river says, that is what I say.'" Booklist
About the Author
William Stafford (1914-1993) was the author of more than fifty books, including Traveling Through the Dark, winner of the National Book Award. He served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress and was Oregon's poet laureate.