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Every War Has Two Losers: William Stafford on Peace and War
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Every War Has Two Losers: William Stafford on Peace and War

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  103 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Born the year World War I began, acclaimed poet William Stafford (1914-1993) spent World War II in a camp for conscientious objectors. Throughout a century of conflict he remained convinced that wars simply don’t work. In his writings, Stafford showed it is possible—and crucial—to think independently when fanatics act, and to speak for reconciliation when nations take side ...more
Paperback, 216 pages
Published October 20th 2003 by Milkweed Editions
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4.28  · 
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 ·  103 ratings  ·  16 reviews

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Aug 15, 2007 rated it it was ok
Non-fiction. Poetry, interviews, and essays on pacifism. William Stafford was a conscientious objector during WWII and spent four years in government labor camps putting out fires, building roads and trails, and training for post-war relief work. He was a poet, a professor, and a speaker for peace. This book includes a chapter from Down in My Heart, a memoir he wrote while in the CO camps; "The Mob Scene at McNeil" describes how he and a few of his CO buddies nearly got lynched by the fine citiz ...more
Jan 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I was searching for some volume of Wm Stafford poems, to get me back to a more raw form of poetry I had been writing during my undergrad years at U-of-M.

Back in the 1980s, in a Stephen Dunning co-lead anthropology class n(the writing section) I was chaffing under his arbitrary rules, such as: use of english words of germanic etymology AND POINTS OFF ("deducted" would have red ink all over it) for french derivative words.

Next term I signed up for a poetry writing class (creative writing classes
Nathan Albright
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book, collected and edited posthumously by the author’s son Kim, is a strong and straightforward demonstration of William Stafford’s commitment to peace, reconciliation, justice, and a strong defense of his pacifist behavior during World War II and afterward [1]. In its contents, the book (like much of Stafford’s literary work [2]) is a combination of various materials with a thematic organization. The book, after beginning with a well-known poem “These Mornings” and an introduction by Staf ...more
Sep 05, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: potree
Thoughts, poems and fragments of writings from a committed pacifist. William Stafford was a conscientious objector in WWII (during a time and war when it wasn't fashionable, and often times was dangerous, to be a pacifist)--and placed in a work camp with other C.O. A peaceful man and beautiful poet, here is his sad poem written in 1944 (while still in the work camp):

These Mornings

Watch our smoke curdle up out of the chimney
into the canyon channel of air.
The wind shakes it free over the trees
John Orman
Jan 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
William Stafford, poet and pacifist, has here constructed a book of subtle criticism of war in all its forms, personal and national.

Stafford's art and pacifism intertwined, each supporting the other in a grand staircase of personal involvement in opposition to war and eloquent poetry. The interviews, notes, and poems given here show his lifelong struggle, beginning with his four years in a work camp for conscientious objectors n WWII.

"These Mornings"

"And that is what happens to people when a cit
Macaria Corbett
Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
William Stafford's works are so voluminous that one could actually miss the depth of his committment to pacifism. So, this book provides the focus on his poetry and journal entries and his life in regard to pacifism. It is all very inspiring. Staffor was actually a conscientious objector during World War II--a very unpopular time to be a pacificst. In fact he and fellow c.o.s were very nearly lynched as enemies and spies when they visited a small town in Arkansas that was near where they were as ...more
Apr 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
I know I've read William Stafford's poetry before now, but this anthology of prose, poetry and interviews made me sit up and resolve to read everything by him I can find. The title is from a collection of short notes Stafford would jot down every morning; with his poems, they are the heart of his attraction for me. Here are two more:

"Success may not mean you did right"

"Today in society you need a tendency not to believe"

That latter one was written in 1987--still true, perhaps even more so.
Sherry Chandler
May 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: anti-war, thepoets
I spent a long time with this book because I admire Stafford's thinking, his poetry, and his courage.

Much good stuff here.

In the end, though, I have to say it's unfair to isolate one aspect of such a long and productive life. It comes to seem like preaching and I have never liked to be preached at, even when I agree with the sermon.
stephanie cassidy
Coupled with Junger's WAR, it is necessary to consider a human need for brutal combat. Are we, have we ever been, evolved enough to not go to WAR? Why do we kill, maim, desecrate? Is it the only way out of our pupa of youth? Do we, as Stafford says, lack the imagination it takes to not go to war?
Mar 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
This man articulates the necessity of non-violence. Recently suggested to me at a training on non-violence, Stafford's writing is inspirational to anyone who's actively try to live a non-violent life.
Jul 10, 2014 rated it liked it
This was an interesting find. I was familiar with conscientious objection to war, but not in the context of World War II. This man's stance as a pacifist defined his life and his writing.
Jul 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Lots of good thoughts in here, but the fragmented way the material is presented made it hard to stick with it.
Jan 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
William Stafford words need to be heard during this time of Global strife.

If only we fought our wars in poetry rather than in blood.
Glen Gersmehl
Dec 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
one of several anthologies of one of our best, most unpretentious poets of social change, nature, and the human experience
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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 1970, he was named Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, a position that is now known as Poet Laureate. In 1975, he was named Poet Laureate of Oregon; his tenure in the position lasted until 1990. In 1980,
“Keep a journal, and don't assume that your work has to accomplish anything worthy: artists and peace-workers are in it for the long haul, and not to be judged by immediate results.” 26 likes
“A speech is something you say so as to distract attention from what you do not say.” 14 likes
More quotes…