SALEM – Kim Stafford, Oregon’s new poet laureate, is making good on his promise to connect with as many Oregonians as possible, with more than two dozen statewide appearances scheduled before the end of the year.
Stafford just returned from John Day, where he gave a reading, and from Harney County, where he presented at “Art in Burns” and participated in an “In a Landscape” performance with pianist Hunter Noack in the Alvord Desert. He will visit close to 20 more communities before Dec. 31.
“Kim has jumped into the Oregon Poet Laureate position with the gusto, creativity and energy we anticipated,” said Adam Davis, executive director of Oregon Humanities, who administers the Poet Laureate program on behalf of the Cultural Trust. “He’s been all over the place already, and each place has been just the right place.”
Appointed Oregon’s ninth Poet Laureate in May by Governor Kate Brown, Stafford is the founding director of The Northwest Writing Institute at Lewis & Clark College. Constantly writing, Stafford has already been so inspired by his travels that he plans to release a book of poetry inspired by Oregon’s natural beauty and vibrant communities.
“Like groundwater blossoming at many mountain springs,” Stafford said, “the stuff of poetry can appear wherever you take a close look. I want to be the poet laureate by constantly responding to Oregon’s myriad inspirations, and to do the work of the poet laureate by engaging writers all over the map.”
On the South Coast, Stafford will visit Gold Beach on Saturday, Oct. 13. From 10 a.m.-2 p.m., he will hold a free exploratory writing workshop, followed at 7 p.m. by an evening poetry reading at the Curry County Library, 94341 Third St, Gold Beach.
Stafford was born and grew up in Oregon. He is the author of a dozen books of poetry and prose, and edited half a dozen others. His book, “Having Everything Right: Essays of Place,” won a citation for excellence from the Western States Book Awards in 1986. He holds a Ph.D. in medieval literature from the University of Oregon, and has worked as a printer, photographer, oral historian, editor and visiting writer at a host of colleges and schools, and also offered writing workshops in Italy, Scotland and Bhutan. He lives in Portland with his wife and children.
The Oregon Poet Laureate fosters the art of poetry, encourages literacy and learning, addresses central issues relating to humanities and heritage, and reflects on public life in Oregon. Stafford will provide up to 20 public readings per year in settings across the state to inform community, business and state leaders about the value and importance of poetry and creative expression. The program is funded by the Oregon Cultural Trust.
To learn more about the Oregon Poet Laureate program, or to schedule an event with Kim Stafford, visit the Poet Laureate website.