I first read William Stafford in 1989. I took a modern poetry class at Elizabethtown with Dr. Tom Dwyer. The required reading consisted of some anthology I don’t really remember, the collected poems of John Ashbery (who makes an appearance later this month in the PM posts) and the collected poems of Stafford. The two poets made a strong impression on me and ignited my fondness for modern poetry. They inspired me and set me on a path to writing better poetry of my own and an eventual Stafford connection (check back later in the month for that).
Stafford’s poems in particular said what I would have said had I his gift for words. “A Story That Could Be True” is one of my all-time favorite poems, from the fairy-tale-esque beginning to the fundamental question of “who are you really, wanderer?” Stafford’s answer to the question seems obvious without being egotistical. I could be a king. One never knows.