Celebration will honor poet Stafford

The renowned former Poet Laureate of Oregon, William Stafford, would have been 99 on Jan. 17.

In honor of Stafford’s birthday, literary celebrations are planned in January throughout the state. Each event will be hosted locally and feature well-known poets from each region.

Hood River’s planned celebration is being headed by Hood River County School District Special Instructional Coach Debbie Dobbs.

“Our local event is coming up on Jan. 13, from 2-4 p.m. at the Columbia Center for the Arts,” said Dobbs, who hopes both adults and younger residents will want to get involved.

Readings will include favorite William Stafford poems, followed by original poetry or stories authored by the reader and inspired by the work of Mr. Stafford.

“Any students or educators or others who may want to read a Stafford poem, or perhaps one of their own — written in the spirit of Mr. Stafford,” are invited to contact Dobbs, who also hopes to include some live musical tributes during the event.

“As far as I know, music has not yet been a part of the prior Hood River celebrations, but it might be a nice addition if there is any inspiration for it,” added Dobbs.

The statewide annual Stafford birthday celebrations “are inspirational and invigorating to all those who love poetry and poets,” notes the website dedicated to coordinating the Stafford commemorations. “We encourage people to attend and experience this for themselves.”

Dobbs asks those interested in participating to contact her at 541-387-5712 or debra.dobbs@hood-river.k12.or.us.

For additional information on Stafford, visit williamstafford.org.

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