William Stafford

Much of my creative and academic work engages with the writing and life of the American poet William Stafford, with a large focus on theopoetics and religion & literature.

  1. Essay – “The Call to Critique: William Stafford as Anabaptist Poet,” Dean’s Student Scholarship Symposium, Manchester College, 2006
  2. Review – Walker in the Fog: On Mennonite Writing by Jeff Gundy, Brethren Life & Thought, 51.3, 2006
  3. Archival Collection – William Stafford Collection, Manchester University Archives, 2005
  4. Blog – Encounters with William Stafford blog archive, 2006-2011
  5. Talk – “Ambiguity and Ambivalence in the Poetry of William Stafford” Peace Forum, Bethany Theological Seminary and Earlham School of Religion, March 2007
  6. Talk – “William Stafford: Priest of the Imagination” Class lecture, October 2009
  7. Conference – William Stafford Symposium, Bethany Theological Seminary, March 2010.
    1. Chapel service – bulletin
    2. Sermon –
    3. Talk – remarks after film Every War has Two Losers
  8. Masters Thesis – Poetic Worship: The Renewal of Liturgical Language – Read Introduction, Bethany Theological Seminary, 2011
  9. Talk – “Beyond What Columbus Discovered: Language & the Land in the Poetry of William Stafford” Collaboration with Craig Goodworth, Arden Hearth, Richmond, IN, October 18, 2012
  10. Poem – “Some Beliefs About Mountains” A Ritual to Read Together: Poems in Conversation with William Stafford, Woodley Press, November 2013
  11. Liturgy – “Ritual in the Dark: A Liturgy of Image and Text” Collaboration with Craig Goodworth, Theopoetics, 1.2, 2015
  12. Talk – “Pilgrimage of Peace” Presidential Forum, Bethany Theological Seminary, November 2015
  13. Talk – “Poetry Beyond Peace” Manchester University Chapel, September, 26, 2017


Many of William Stafford’s poems are easily found online, but judging the most reputable site is not always an easy task. The over 240 poems below are from the most trustworthy sites in terms of their respect for the original form of the poem on the page and for following procedure for publishing rights.

The website hosting each poem is indicated on this page with a code in parentheses: FWS=Friends of William Stafford; PF=Poetry Foundation; PO=Poetry.org; TWA=The Writer’s Almanac; WSA=William Stafford Archives

Poems available at the William Stafford Archives include images of early drafts and published versions. To see the poem as it appeared in print, click the image entitled “published” on the Archives webpage.

Some poems at the Poetry Foundation website show them as they first appeared in the pages of Poetry magazine, and may continue on to the next page.

If you are seeking reprint permissions for any of these poems, contact the Permissions Company.
























See the Amazon Listmania list William Stafford, Poet (1970 US Laureate)

The links below will take you to the Amazon page for each book. Those that provide a “Look Inside” preview are marked with an asterisk.*

Posthumous Books

William Stafford published over 50 volumes of poetry in his lifetime, most of which are out of print today. (Read the William Stafford Archives Exhibit Catalog & Bibliography for more details about Stafford’s publications.)

Fortunately, there are plenty of books still being published since his death in 1993. Here is a list of posthumous books that remain easy to get a hold of in stores, libraries or online.

Titles in bold below are recommended for readers who are new to Stafford’s work.


Essay Collections


Books About Stafford


There are currently no books by Stafford published as ebooks. There are some books that include his poems and essays, or discuss his work. The best way to find them is to search the Google Ebookstore, which will return results based on text in the ebooks themselves.

It is possible to request that publishers release a title as an ebook. At Barnes & Noble’s website, click “Tell the publisher you want this in NOOKbook format” next to the cover image. On Amazon, click “Tell the Publisher! I’d like to read this book on Kindle ” beneath the cover image.

Through Instapaper I have put together a collection of much of the web content about Stafford into files that can be read on most ereader devices. If you have a Kindle, download the mobi version. For Nook & Sony ereaders, download the epub version.

Online Booksellers

Clicking on the links below will take you to search results for William Stafford.


Book Collecting

If you are interested in collecting books by William Stafford, start with books you find interesting. You can look through the Exhibit Catalog and Bibliography pdf at the publications page of the William Stafford Archives for details about the many volumes Stafford published throughout his career.

As a Stafford collector myself (view my Stafford book collection at Shelfari) or LibraryThing, I am willing to answer any questions about my own adventures, and would love to hear your own stories. You can contact me here.

To find first, signed or rare editions, try your local used bookstore or the links to online booksellers on this page.

Major Collections

These volumes by Stafford published in his lifetime comprise a significant quantity of writing and are generally more available, even if out of print. Searches and bibliographies can provide titles of smaller books with smaller print runs.


Edited by Stafford

  • The Pushcart Prize X – Edited by Bill Henderson, Stanley Plumly and William Stafford (The Pushcart Press, 1985)
  • Modern Poetry of Western America – Edited by Clinton Lawson and William Stafford (Brigham Young University Press, 1975)
  • Poems and Perspectives – Edited by Robert Ross and William Stafford (Scott, Foresman, 1971)
  • The Voices of Prose – Edited by Frederick Candelaria and William Stafford (McGraw, 1966)

Include Works by Stafford

  • Come Together: Imagine Peace: Poems – Edited by Philip Metres, Ann Smith, and Larry Smith (Bottom Dog Press, 2008)
  • *Good Poems for Hard Times – Edited by Garrison Keillor (Penguin, 2006)
  • *Good Poems – Edited by Garrison Keillor (Penguin, 2003)
  • The Poets Laureate Anthology – Edited by Elizabeth Hun Schmidt (Norton, 2000)
  • Poems for a Small Planet: Contemporary American Nature Poetry – Edited by Robert Pack and Jay Parini (Middlebury, 1993)
  • *The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart: A Poetry Anthology– Edited by Robert Bly, James Hillman and Michael Meade  (Harper Perennial, 1993)
  • Harvest: Contemporary Mormon Poems– Edited by Eugene England and Dennis Clark (1989)
  • Idaho’s Poetry: A Centennial Anthology (1989)
  • Editor’s Choice II: Fiction, Poetry & Art from the U.S. Small Press, 1978-1983 (1987)
  • Contemporary American Poetry – Edited by A. Poulin, Jr. (Houghton, 1985)
  • Northwest Review – Warnings: An Anthology on the Nuclear Peril (1984)
  • The Longman Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry, 1950-1980 – Edited by David Young and Stuart Friebert (Longman, 1983)
  • *Claims for Poetry – Edited by Donald Hall (University of Michigan Press, 1982)
  • The Harper Anthology of Poetry – Edited by John Frederick Nims (Harper, 1981)
  • Unmuzzled Ox Anthology – Edited by Michael Andre (Unmuzzled Ox Press, 1980)
  • A Geography of Poets – Edited by Edward Field (Bantam, 1979)
  • Where Is Vietnam? – Edited by Walter Lowenfels and Nan Braymer (Doubleday/Anchor, 1967)
  • Contemporary American Poetry – Edited by Donald Hall (Penguin, 1962 & 1972)
  • The New Pocket Anthology of American Verse – Edited by Oscar Williams (Washington Square, 1961)
  • New Poems by American Poets – Edited by Rolph Humphries (Ballantine, 1956)


  • Window on the Black Sea: Bulgarian Poetry in Translation – Edited by Richard Harteis with William Meredith (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1992)
  • Roots and Wings: Poetry from Spain 1900-1975 – Edited by Hardie St. Martin (Harper & Row, 1976)
  • Ghazals of Ghalib – Edited by Aijaz Ahmad (Columbia University Press, 1971)