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An Oregon Message

4.47  ·  Rating details ·  74 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Paperback, 143 pages
Published December 31st 1998 by Harper Perennial (first published September 1987)
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Nathan Albright
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: challenge-2018
It seems somewhat strange in retrospect that Stafford would publish a book with a title of An Oregon Message and then be upset five years later that he was being labeled as a regional poet. I mean, if I saw a NY singer-songwriter release a song like "New York State Of Mind" or listened to a rock band from Los Angeles called LA Gunz, I would consider such acts to be regional ones. To be sure, William Stafford had far too much experience living in and traveling through areas of the United States ...more
May 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I wound up with a wounded copy of "An Oregon Message." No copyright page. No table of contents. And... it began with Chapter 2. After that, it had a title page for Chapter 3... but no Chapter 3. It repeated Chapter 2, poem for poem. And then, it somehow got itself back into order: Chapter 3, Chapter 4, etc.

And... it will hold a cherished spot on my shelf. I'll get another copy, because I simply must read Chapter 1 someday. But I love my wounded copy. Every work of art should have a flaw.

Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Bob by: Martha and John
Personal and provocative poems, reflections on life and nature and time and timelessness. Some are hard to grasp, even with multiple readings; others grab me by the heart, knowing my own life as even I do. Overall, beautiful.
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A favorite by a favorite.
John Orman
Jan 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Stafford's poems provide the minds and hearts of readers with soul-nurturing sustenance, and their simple words are a pleasure to the ear.

The winner of the 1962 National Book Award notes that the poems are "organically grown" and each one is a "miracle that has been invited to happen."

The book opens with a poem outlining his journaling process: "More important than what was recorded, these evenings deepened my life. That scribbled wall became where everything recognized itself and passed into
Jun 25, 2016 rated it liked it
"You can lie at a banquet, but you have to be honest in the kitchen."

This book was sort of a mixed bag of poems for me. I certainly expected more poems about Oregon or the Oregon experience. But it's a blend of poems and moments for people from all over. The book is broken into 5 sections focused on different experiences.

There are certainly some haunting lines and things to make you smile.
Jan 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
We all have our favorites and Stafford is one of mine. There are poems in here that I found elsewhere and have come back to, over and over for years. This is absolutely stuffed with gems, really an embarrassment of riches. Nobody writes more beautifully of destiny and time. There is not a single book of poetry I love more.
Sep 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
reread--some others of stafford's were also rereads--don't remember which
Sheila Levey
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite poets :)
Jul 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Written by poet laureate and Oregonian William Stafford. I especially enjoy his short verse.
Mar 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
These simple, elegant poems are some of Stafford's best.
Mar 09, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010, poetry
This poet had a beautiful poem about a burp! It was fantastic. Not my favorite poet, but still some very very good "Sometimes you don't know something, until suddenly, you do."
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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,
“Next time what I'd do is look at
the earth before saying anything. I'd stop
just before going into a house
and be an emperor for a minute
and listen better to the wind
or to the air being still.

When anyone talked to me, whether
blame or praise or just passing time,
I'd watch the face, how the mouth
has to work, and see any strain, any
sign of what lifted the voice.

And for all, I'd know more -- the earth
bracing itself and soaring, the air
finding every leaf and feather over
forest and water, and for every person
the body glowing inside the clothes
like a light.”
More quotes…