William Stafford

News & Notes: Turn on the TV for William Stafford

Celebrate poet William Stafford's 100th anniversary tonight on OPB

William Stafford/Courtesy OPB

William Stafford/Courtesy OPB

Television rarely makes an appearance on ArtsWatch, though goodness knows I watch my share of it. Today will be an exception!

Oregon Public Broadcasting has worked hard and well to direct our attention to the 100th anniversary of the birth of William Stafford, which is tomorrow, January 17. Just as a general rule, I support the recognition of poets and other artists, and Stafford drank so deeply from our water here (though he was born in Kansas and only moved here for good in 1957) and wrote so well about the drinking that his work has fed into a certain virtuous circle—life here into his poems into our thinking about life here, over and over again. For me, his poems are a reminder that plain language can lead us into the deepest contemplations.

I had the chance to see the OPB Art Beat show dedicated to Stafford in advance, and it’s quite wonderful, mostly just because of the wide net of testifiers the show captures, from Garrison Keillor (who has a subtle understanding of the poems) and Salman Rushdie to a host of local poets, friends and family, who together sketch some of the particular ways of considering Stafford.

Discovering William Stafford screens at 8 pm tonight, Thursday, on OPB-TV. We also recommend a visit to the William Stafford Archives.


I hope you caught the appearance of ArtsWatch’s man-of-many-hats Bob Hicks on KGW-TV’s Live at 7 on Tuesday. Sure, Bob’s dry wit was in evidence, but mostly it demonstrated the willingness of KGW to show what is so often missing from local television, informed people with informed opinions! It was fun, and it also marked our appearance in KGW.com’s Partnership Network, where you can link to our stories and those of five other food and culture sites (including Byron Beck’s STARDAR!).

In case you missed Brother Bob:

Please do NOT tease him about the tie!

Oregon ArtsWatch Archives