Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems of William Stafford by Kim Stafford, William Stafford

By Kim Stafford, William Stafford

"In our time there was no poet who revived human hearts and spirits extra convincingly than William Stafford." —Naomi Shihab Nye

Some time while the river is ice ask me
mistakes i've got made. question me whether
what i've got performed is my life.
—from "Ask Me"

In social gathering of the poet's centennial, Ask Me collects 100 of William Stafford's crucial poems. As a conscientious objector in the course of global warfare II, whereas assigned to Civilian Public provider camps Stafford started his day-by-day writing perform, a lifelong early-morning ritual of witness. His poetry finds the implications of violence, the day-by-day necessity of ethical judgements, and the bounty of artwork. chosen and with a word by way of Kim Stafford, Ask Me offers the simplest from a profound and unique American voice.

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Additional resources for Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems of William Stafford

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And let us not rob the poor, for in this land of faggotry the poorest black man has always been able to wake up in the morning with one pitiable certainty, and that was that his thing was larger than any white mans, and that he could manipulate it more skillfully and produce bet­ ter results. White lynch mobs have always beheved it, too, and they used to make a special point of slashing oflE a black man s penis and balls before they barbecued him. Even now, in a public toilet a white man will peep over into your stall to see if it is really true that yours is bigger than his.

There is no reason to doubt it. The essential point here is not the presence of overt hostility; it is the absence of clarity of vision. The glass through which black life is viewed by white Americans is, inescapably (it is a matter of extent), 6 The Black Aesthetic befogged by the hot breath of history. True “objectivity” where race is concerned is as rare as a necklace of Hope diamonds. In October 1967, a yoimg man named Jonathan Kozol pub­ lished a book called Death at an Early Age, which is an account of his experiences as a teacher in a predominantly Negro ele­ mentary school in Boston.

It sounded like a battle between the Good Lord and the Devil. Something tells me to listen and see who wins. ” BLACK ARTS MOVEMENT/BLACK ART AESTHETIC Feeling/contemporary and historical. Energy intensifies. Non-matrixed art forms: Coltrane, Ornette, Sun Ra. More concerned with the vibrations of the Word, than with the Word itself. Like signifying. HISTORY AS UNITARY MYTH (cont’d) James Brown, Bessie Smith Moms Mabley, King Pleasure, Raefilt Johnson. Son House. Louis Armstrong.. . Voodoo again/Ishmael Reed’s Hoodoo.

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