Lucky Rogue Valley poetry lovers, award-winning Ashland poets Patty and Vince Wixon present “William Stafford: His Writing, His Life” on Wednesday, December 17, from 12:00- 1:30 p.m., at the Medford Branch Library, 205 South Central Avenue. The event is part of the statewide program Oregon Reads.
The Wixons are fabulous speakers, and they will discuss the man they knew and his work, including a new book on Stafford aphorisms that Vince Wixon edited. They will also speak about their work in the William Stafford Archives.
Vince Wixon co-produced two documentaries on William Stafford and his poetry, “What the River Says” and “The Life of the Poem.” Highlights from these documentaries related to Stafford poems, his writing process and philosophy, and his influence on other poets and teachers will be shown.
Stafford is Oregon’s most famous poet and considered one of the most important American poets of the late 20th century. Winner of numerous awards and honors, he served as Oregon’s poet laureate for 16 years. His first major collection of poetry, “Traveling Through the Dark,” was published when he was 48 years old and won a National Book Award. Stafford’s appeal has endured in part because of the timelessness of his poetry. His deceptively simple language articulates our human connections and speaks to people of all ages.
After Stafford’s death in 1993, the Wixons helped assemble the Stafford archive of journals, poetry manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, and recordings. Patty Wixon was the first president of Friends of William Stafford and produced ninety-seven CDs of audio recordings of Stafford’s readings, talks, and interviews over five decades. Vince Wixon edited, with former Director of the Stafford Archive Paul Merchant, four posthumous Stafford books, including the just-released Sound of the Ax: Aphorisms and Poems. The Wixons recently were awarded the Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award at the the Oregon Book Awards for their contributions to the literary life of Oregon.
This program is proudly presented by the Friends of the Medford Branch Library and the Rogue Valley Chapter of the Oregon Poetry Association (OPA). For more information please call 541 774-8679 or visit www.jcls.org.