Hood River County is reading William Stafford

Hood River County Reads, an annual community reading adventure, returns this month.

Hood River County, along with many Oregon communities, is celebrating what would have been the 100th birthday or Oregon’s quintessential poet William Stafford.

Pick up free copies of “Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems” at the official kick-offs of Hood River County Reads: Sunday, March 16, 2-3:30 p.m. at the Hood River Library and Tuesday, March 17, 5-7 p.m. at the Cascade Locks and Parkdale libraries.

Stafford’s son, Kim, will be giving a public reading at Hood River Library on Sunday, April 27, at 2 p.m. This project is sponsored by the Friends of the Hood River County Library.

William Stafford was the Library of Congress’ Poet Laureate from 1970-71 and Oregon’s Poet Laureate from 1975-1990. He published more than 3,000 poems but wrote more than 22,000. Stafford has often been compared to Robert Frost and collaborated frequently with another well-known poet, Robert Bly. Author and poet James Dickey called Stafford one of those poets “who pour out rivers of ink, all on good poems.”

Stafford also was well-known for being a conscientious objector during World War II. Stafford is father of noted essayist Kim Stafford, who is the literary executor of his father’s estate.

In addition to “Ask Me,” there are several books by and about Stafford for people to enjoy. “The Osage Orange Tree” highlights Stafford’s skill with prose as well as poetry.

Kids can join in on Hood River County Reads this year with “Everyone Out Here Knows,” Stafford’s poem about Bigfoot. If you’d like to learn more about Stafford’s thoughts on war, try “Every War has Two Losers.”

Finally, Kim Stafford has two books about his family: “Early Morning: Remembering My Father, William Stafford,” and “100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do: How my Brother Disappeared.”

These books are available for checkout at the Hood River, Cascade Locks, and Parkdale libraries.

The goal of Hood River County Reads is to encourage readers of all ages to read and discuss books. Hood River County Reads titles represent the diversity of the Hood River County community and can be shared widely throughout the area.

Some previous books include “Stubborn Twig,” by Lauren Kessler; “The Circuit,” by Francisco Jiménez; and “Ricochet River,” by Robin Cody.

Hood River County Reads is sponsored and supported by the Friends of the Hood River County Library, with additional support from the Starseed Foundation, Hood River County Education Foundation, Hood River County Library Foundation, Hood River County Cultural Trust, and generous individuals.

Everyone is welcome to come enjoy the many events connected to Hood River County Reads:

n March 20, 6:30-8 p.m.: Library book club discusses “100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do” (Hood River Library)

n April 6, 2-3:30 p.m.: Readings by current Oregon Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen (Hood River Library)

n April 13, 2-3:30 p.m.: Los Portenos Theater of Portland, presents “Words that Burn: A dramatization of the World War II experiences of William Stafford, Lawson Inada, and Guy Gabaldon in their own words” (Hood River Library)

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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