Lake Oswego celebrates the birthday of one of its own: William Stafford

William Stafford would have turned 98 this year on January 17 and Lake Oswego is celebrating along with the rest of the world.

The Lake Oswego Public library joins with poetry fans around the world this month in honoring its “local boy done good,” William Stafford, who was born on January 17, 1914 in Hutchinson, Kansas, and died on August 28, 1993 in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

In conjunction with the Friends of William Stafford, the library is hosting a birthday celebration on Thursday, January 19 from 7-8:30 p.m. presented by Kirsten Rian, and featuring Skye Leslie, Amy MacLennan, Melissa Madenski, BT Shaw and FWS Board Member Susan Reese. While he won acclaim for his works, including being named Poetry Consultant to the Library of Congress in 1970 and Oregon Poet Laureate from 1975-1989, it is the regard that the public holds of him that the library is showcasing by asking guests to bring a favorite Stafford poem for sharing that evening.

Here are some of my favorite Staffordisms:

Even the upper end of the river
Believes in the ocean
-“Climbing Along the River”

So to you, Friend, I confide my secret:
To be a discoverer you hold close whatever
You find, and after a while you decide
What it is. Then, secure in where you have been,
You turn to the open sea and let go.

The old have a secret.
They can’t tell others, for to understand
You have to be old.
-“Trying to Tell It”

It is time for all the heroes to go home
if they have any, time for all of us common ones
to locate ourselves by the real things
we live by.

Wisdom is having things right in your life
and knowing why.
-“The Little Ways That Encourage Good Fortune”

Leave your favorite Staffordism here to share with readers.

And remember to subscribe to “52 Reasons to Love Lake Oswego” by clicking on the “Sign me up” button in the upper right hand column. Stay up-to-date on why Lake Oswego, Oregon is a great place to live...William Stafford apparently thought so.

About lovelakeoswego

I feel pretty lucky—I live where I work and I love where I live. As a Realtor in Lake Oswego, I get to share that enthusiasm with clients every day. Through this blog, with the help of my freelance writer wife, Genita, I’d like to share that enthusiasm with you. The quality of life you’ll find in Lake Oswego belies its size—there is so much to experience here from a fireworks show over the lake on the 4th of July to the Festival of the Arts--one of the premier arts events in the region. So please check in each week for another reason why I love Lake Oswego and who knows—maybe you’ll fall in love too! If you’re interested in experiencing Lake Oswego personally, please feel free to contact me either on my cell at (503) 939-9801, via email at or check my website by clicking the link in the "Contact me" section in the right-hand column. I would love to show you around.
This entry was posted in Lake Oswego Library and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s