HR Reads kicks off Sunday

Hood River starts with a community gathering Sunday, but is underlined by a moral question.

“Who would I be and how should I do it?” said Helen James, is the central question poet laureate William Stafford asked when he got up at 5 a.m. every day for 50 years to write poetry.

Stafford, who would have turned 100 this year, is the focus of this year’s Hood River County Reads, which kicks off Sunday at 2 p.m. at Hood River Library. Events run through late April.

Hood River County Reads revolves around the Stafford book “Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems,” copies of which are being made available at no charge to anyone who wants one, Sunday, 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.

But the Reads project is expanded this year to art and theater.

Art exhibits by the students in Amirra Malak’s AP art class at Hood River Valley High School and Gorge Photography Club examine Stafford’s work and be on display at the library starting Sunday.

So will the top three posters in a poster contest that was part of HRVHS art teacher Cathy Stever’s class. They are: first place: Alonso Magana; second: Erica Silva; third: Ahnauna Andrews.

The winners’ posters, along with those of their classmates, will be shown at the Hood River Library starting with the March 16 Hood River County Reads Kick-off. Alonso Magana’s poster will be copied and posted around Hood River County.

Other upcoming Hood River Reads events include a discussion on March 20, 6:30-8 p.m., by the Library Book Club of “100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do,” by Stafford’s son, Kim, at Hood River Library. Stafford will give a memoir writing workshop on April 16; sign-ups start Sunday.

Kim Stafford 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.

On April 6, 2-3:30 p.m., Oregon Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen will do readings of her own work as well as those of William Stafford, and discuss the meaning and impact of Stafford’s work.

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.”

“William Stafford, poet, 100 years of poetry, poet laureate: how do we get to know him?” Helen James said.

“Whenever we get a book we look at what are the issues this author addressed,” she said. “You pick out the book, now what do you do? You try to make it come alive.”

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.

On 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, both Conscientious Objectors, and U.S. Marine Guy Gabaldon, who worked to convince Japanese soldiers to surrender rather than kill themselves.

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.

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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 to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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