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The car aimed ahead its lowered parking lights;. I stood in the glare of the warm exhaust turning red;. I thought hard for us all—my only swerving—,. Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press, St. Paul, Minnesota, www. The Seeker. From Poetry Off the Shelf December Commemorating the life and poetry of William Stafford. Read More. Prose from Poetry Magazine. Appeared in Poetry Magazine Two Gents. By William Logan. More Poems by William E. A Posy. Faint Message.

Super Market. See All Poems by this Author. See a problem on this page? More About This Poem. I love his poems. I needed to revisit his "essential" poems! As I read, I started a list of the ones I loved and the list kept getting longer and longer. His brilliant eye and heart can focus on nature, human nature, and values in such a wondrous way. Ask Me is definitely not my essential poems of William Stafford, but let me explain. I actually begged the library to sell the copy to me as there was a scribble on the inside page to suggest it was going to be put up for sale. They politely refused.

Recently when I felt the need to get in touch with Stafford again I bought the above collection and was incredibly disappointed. This was not my William Stafford! Then of course there followed a crazy discussion with myself. Was I completely wrong about The Long Sigh? Did I remember the poems incorrectly? Were they nowhere near as good as I thought they were? A lot of rumination has resulted in the belief that this is simply not My Essential poems at all or anywhere near.

This collection speaks of alienation - the poet from the rest of the world and from his past. I am also reacting to this collection in the light of reading Another World Instead. These are very early poems written between and and I prefer more from these early poems, again, than from Ask Me. Here is Climbing along the River, the closest I felt to that elusive other collection. Climbing along the River Willows never forget how it feels to be young. Do you remember where you came from? Gravel remembers. Even the upper end of the river believes in the ocean.

Exactly at midnight yesterday sighs away. What I believe is, all animals have one soul. Over the land they love they crisscross forever.

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Apr 09, Mary Mills rated it liked it. Uplifting without being sappy; lovely without being overblown. Stafford was a conscientious objector, and it shows, even in the poems that are not actually about that. He values life and advocates for drawing together while still being aware that, to quote one of the poems, "the darkness around us is deep. Not everything resonates for ever Uplifting without being sappy; lovely without being overblown.

Not everything resonates for everyone. The ones I loved, I really loved; the ones I didn't were at least mildly interesting. His writing is accessible while still giving the reader something to contemplate. I would happily own this volume and revisit it. I think there are several 4 or 5 star poems in here, but overall it averages more of a 3, for me, so that's what I'm going with.

Jul 04, Lenora Good rated it it was amazing. These poems were selected by William Stafford's son. It is my first foray into Stafford's poetry, at least in a book I've read some of his poems onsey-twosey.


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All of these poems are good, and a great many are marvelous. Stafford was a conscientious objector, and my favorites of his poems were the anti-war ones. If you've ever wondered if you could write a poem, or even should, pick up a copy of Ask Me, read it These poems were selected by William Stafford's son. If you've ever wondered if you could write a poem, or even should, pick up a copy of Ask Me, read it, and then in the words of Mr.

Stafford, " Jul 01, Marjie C-O rated it it was amazing. What a wonderful, wonderful voice. Stafford's poetry is stunning in its simplicity, even delicacy, yet somehow complex and rich in imagery, redolent with deep reflection, often a sort of nostalgia. I feel like these poems have been poised and waiting for me all my life, for just the right time, even written from inside my own head! Unfortunately his political works leave me cold - it is just not the flavor of poetry I relate to or enjoy.

But all the rest is breathtaking. So glad to have discover What a wonderful, wonderful voice. So glad to have discovered William Stafford. Aug 18, O rated it it was amazing. Deeply honest and abundantly emotive, Stafford's poetry is as American as anything by Whitman or Dickinson. His economy with words is testament to the fact that less is more. I've grown fond of this publishing house, Graywolf, as well, they introduced me to James L. White, another unquestionably American poet.

Nov 29, Michelle rated it really liked it Shelves: owned. As someone who has never read Stafford before, I really enjoyed the preface written by the late poet's daughter which offered great insight into the kind of man he was and the meaning behind his words. She references an occurrence at one of his many poetry readings on the road when a listener openly remarked "I could have written that" and Stafford looked upon the man kindly and replied "But you didn't Stafford himself didn't release his first book until forty-six y As someone who has never read Stafford before, I really enjoyed the preface written by the late poet's daughter which offered great insight into the kind of man he was and the meaning behind his words.

Stafford himself didn't release his first book until forty-six years old. Apr 08, Patricia McLaughlin rated it really liked it Shelves: poetry. A keen observer, translating the hieroglyphics of everyday life into stanzas of lucent meaning. Jan 10, Justin Pitt rated it it was amazing. Completely moving. Simple and contemplative. Mar 02, Heather rated it really liked it.

Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems of William Stafford

God, I love William Stafford. Even in Quiet Places is still my favorite collection of his, but the poems in here including some from that collection are beautiful and moving. Nov 16, Clint rated it really liked it. These are great poems. They are quiet and reflective and make great use of language. I think that just means they are poems, but isn't that enough? Sep 19, Taylor rated it really liked it. I started this when we were still in Oregon and read parts of it by Timothy Lake.

Ask me : 100 essential poems / William Stafford ; edited by Kim Stafford.

It's perfect landscape poetry. I enjoyed it more than I do most poetry. Feb 02, Colleen rated it really liked it Shelves: all-american , poetry. Reading William Stafford makes me a better viewer of the world, of people, of my own mind. Feb 06, Anima rated it it was amazing. A volume of poems that made me feel that there is someone sharing my perception about the ugliness and beauty that define the uniqueness of the time stretching between every sunrise and sunset. Your straying feet find the great dance walking alone. And you live on a world where stumblin A volume of poems that made me feel that there is someone sharing my perception about the ugliness and beauty that define the uniqueness of the time stretching between every sunrise and sunset.

And you live on a world where stumbling always leads home. Year after year fits over your face— when there was youth, your talent was youth; later, you find your way by touch where moss redeems the stone; and you discover where music begins before it makes any sound, far in the mountains where canyons go still as the always-falling, ever-new flakes of snow.

The wind shakes it free over the trees and hurries it into nothing. Today there is more smoke in the world than ever before. There are more cities going into the sky, helplessly, than ever before. The cities today are going away into the sky, and what is left is going into the earth. That is what happens when a city is bombed: Part of that city goes away into the sky, And part of that city goes into the earth. And that is what happens to people when a city is bombed: Part of them goes away into the sky, And part of them goes into the earth.

And what is left, for us, between the sky and the earth is a scar. Leaned out a window. No cloud, no wind. Air that flowers held for awhile. Some dove somewhere. Been on probation most of my life. And the rest of my life been condemned. So these moments count for a lot--peace, you know. Let the bucket of memory down into the well, bring it up.

Cool, cool minutes. No one stirring, no plans. Just being there. This is what the whole thing is about. It is usually best to roll them into the canyon: that road is narrow; to swerve might make more dead. By glow of the tail-light I stumbled back of the car and stood by the heap, a doe, a recent killing; she had stiffened already, almost cold.

I dragged her off; she was large in the belly.

My fingers touching her side brought me the reason-- her side was warm; her fawn lay there waiting, alive, still, never to be born. Beside that mountain road I hesitated.

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The car aimed ahead its lowered parking lights; under the hood purred the steady engine. I stood in the glare of the warm exhaust turning red; around our group I could hear the wilderness listen. I thought hard for us all--my only swerving--, then pushed her over the edge into the river. Mar 04, Steven Wittenberg Gordon rated it it was amazing Shelves: poetry , favorites. The poems he selected are short--most do not even fill a page--and though easily understood or interpreted, they are nevertheless profound.

Ask Me: Essential Poems of William Stafford by William Stafford

Stafford used plainspoken, free verse language, in the manner of Whitman, but unlike Whitman, Stafford was not afraid to give a nod to classical forms--as the many examples of his contemporary take on the ballad demonstrate. The ballads, generally organized in quatrains with four metric feet per line, are filled with occasional rhyme, as well as end-line assonance and consonance. The end result is a rich, lyrical quality not often found in standard contemporary free verse.

William Stafford could also be compared favorably to another William--Wordsworth, the Songs of Eretz Poetry Review Poet of the Month for June both for his love of the ballad form and for his choice of conceits, which often involve communion with and reverence for the forces of nature. Stafford was an outspoken pacifist and conscientious objector--apparently, he could not help but let just a little bit of social activism creep into his work from time to time.

Feb 06, John Orman rated it it was amazing. This small book brings a big bang with it, with it's simple, stark language of life and wonder. The lead poem, "Ask Me" is one of Stafford's most famous poems, and one of my personal favorites after I heard William's son Kim read it a local event celebrating the th anniversary of William's birth.

You and I can turn and look at the silent river and wait. We know the current is there, hidden; and there are comings and goings from miles away that hold the s This small book brings a big bang with it, with it's simple, stark language of life and wonder. We know the current is there, hidden; and there are comings and goings from miles away that hold the stillness exactly before us.

What the river says, that is what I say. Frogs discovered their national anthem again. I didn't know a ditch could hold so much joy. Some day like this might save te world. So I will just say of these poems: Magical! Jul 10, Dominic rated it it was amazing Shelves: poetry.

He's highly accessible, but unlike Billy Collins who is arguably the most popular accessible modern poet , I feel Stafford's presence throughout the entirety of his work. This presence makes me feel closer to the poet and, thus, more moved. Stafford appears to me to have been a thoughtful, peaceful man, and his poetry is a testament to his meditations, reflections and hopes for a better world. I'm so glad I got to finally dive into his body of work.

Feb 07, Andy rated it it was amazing. Really enjoyable collection of poems. I often prompted the book open to a particular poem and thought about my own life - what more could you want from a book of poetry? Highly recommend. Apr 26, Ann Schaffer rated it liked it. I don't normally read poetry, but a friend leant me this book to fulfill the poetry component of my reading challenge. I really enjoyed it. Themes include nature especially rivers and smoke , war Stafford was a pacifist , memories of people, and quirky experiences.

Like most poetry, it helps to read slowly, and I often read poems more than once to pick up the meaning.


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  6. It would make a great coffee table or night I don't normally read poetry, but a friend leant me this book to fulfill the poetry component of my reading challenge. It would make a great coffee table or night stand book. Feb 22, Valentina rated it liked it Shelves: first-reads. As someone who wishes to read poetry more often, I found joy in taking the time to read William Stafford's poetry.

    Dec 25, Kathleen itpdx rated it really liked it Shelves: poetry. William Stafford was the Poet Laureate of Oregon. This book of poems was collected and published in honor of the centennial of his birth. For me, these poems are small packages. Some burst open with meaning, clarity and feeling. Some I haven't yet been able to untangle the knot holding them together. But that might be due to life experiences. I can imagine that the poem, "Fish Counter at Bonneville" is a puzzle to readers who are not from the Pacific Northwest.

    There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Readers also enjoyed. About William Stafford. William Stafford. William Edgar Stafford was an American poet and pacifist, and the father of poet and essayist Kim Stafford. He and his writings are sometimes identified with the Pacific Northwest. In , he was named Poet Laureate of Oregon; his tenure in the position lasted until In , he won the Western States Book Award for lifetime achievement in poetry. Books by William Stafford. Trivia About Ask Me: Essen No trivia or quizzes yet.