Kim Stafford and wife Perrin Kerns at the Sept. 15 In A Landscape performance in the Alvord Desert.
Kim Stafford, Oregon’s new Poet Laureate, is making good on his promise to connect with as many Oregonians as possible, with more than two dozen statewide appearances scheduled before the end of the year.
Stafford just returned from John Day, where he gave a reading, and from Harney County, where he presented at “Art in Burns” and participated in an “In a Landscape” performance with pianist Hunter Noack in the Alvord Desert; he will visit close to 20 more communities before Dec. 31.
“Kim has jumped into the Oregon Poet Laureate position with the gusto, creativity and energy we anticipated,” said Adam Davis, executive director of Oregon Humanities, who administers the Poet Laureate program on behalf of the Cultural Trust. “He’s been all over the place already, and each place has been just the right place.”
Appointed Oregon’s ninth Poet Laureate in May by Governor Kate Brown, Stafford is the founding director of The Northwest Writing Institute at Lewis & Clark College. Constantly writing, Stafford has already been so inspired by his travels that he plans to release a book of poetry inspired by Oregon’s natural beauty and vibrant communities.
“Like groundwater blossoming at many mountain springs,” Stafford said, “the stuff of poetry can appear wherever you take a close look. I want to be the poet laureate by constantly responding to Oregon’s myriad inspirations, and to do the work of the poet laureate by engaging writers all over the map.”
Here are some of the doings of your Poet Laureate through December:
Sept. 29, 9 a.m.: Valley River Inn, Eugene
Keynote address for the Oregon State Poetry Association Conference titled “The Flavor of Unity.”
Sept. 29, 2 p.m.: Eugene Public Library
Free writing workshop open to the public: “Settling Your Accounts through Poetry.”
Oct. 1-8, Oregon Days of Culture Celebration
Stafford will write an original poem about the winning image in the Oregon Cultural Trust’s annual “Days of Culture” social media contest. Oregonians are invited to post photos of cultural experiences with #ORCulture.
Oct. 13, 10 a.m. -2 p.m. and 7 p.m.: Curry County Library, Gold Beach
Free exploratory writing workshop followed by evening poetry reading.
Oct. 18, 1 p.m.: Tillamook County Pioneer Museum
Stafford will read poems and talk about the practice of writing.
Oct. 20, 2 p.m.: Hood River Library
Free poetry reading.
Oct. 21, 2 p.m.: Cannon Beach Library
Poetry reading followed by a conversation about poetry and place with local writers.
Oct. 25, 12:15 p.m.: Oregon City High School
Poetry reading for students.
Oct. 27, 4 p.m.: Salem Public Library
An afternoon public reading and conversation.
Nov. 3, 10 a.m.: Sitka Art Invitational
Stafford will open the event with a brief poetry reading.
Nov. 4, 1 p.m.: Multnomah County Library
A free public reading in the Collins Gallery “with reference to poetry’s contribution to individual and community well-being.”
Nov. 6, 7 a.m.: Pearl Rotary Club, Portland
Poetry reading and talk.
Nov. 6, 1:30 p.m.: Maimonides Jewish School
Poetry reading and talk.
Nov. 7, 6:30 p.m.: Tigard Public Library
Free public reading and talk.
Nov. 14, 7 p.m.: Columbia Gorge Community College, The Dalles
Class visits followed by poetry reading.
Nov. 15, 1 p.m.: Blue Mountain Community College
Reading and talk as part of the “Sense of Place” Arts and Culture Series.
Nov. 15 & 16, 7 p.m. and 9-11:30 a.m.: Pendleton Center for the Arts
Poetry reading Friday followed by a Saturday writing workshop, “Poems for a Better Nation.”
Nov. 17, 1-4 p.m.: Two Rivers Correctional Institution, Umatilla
An appearance as part of the Open Hearts, Open Minds program.
Nov. 29, 7 p.m.: Stayton Public Library
A poetry reading for families and community: “How poetry, art, and culture lift the soul.”
Dec. 4, 12 p.m.: Chehalem Cultural Center, Newberg
A reading and conversation at Newberg City Club: “Poetry for the good of the city.”
Dec. 31: Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
A short poetry reading as part of the New Year’s concert.
Kim Stafford was born and grew up in Oregon. He is the author of a dozen books of poetry and prose, and edited half a dozen others. His book, “Having Everything Right: Essays of Place,” won a citation for excellence from the Western States Book Awards in 1986. He holds a Ph.D. in medieval literature from the University of Oregon, and has worked as a printer, photographer, oral historian, editor and visiting writer at a host of colleges and schools, and also offered writing workshops in Italy, Scotland and Bhutan. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and children.
The Oregon Poet Laureate fosters the art of poetry, encourages literacy and learning, addresses central issues relating to humanities and heritage, and reflects on public life in Oregon. Stafford will provide up to 20 public readings per year in settings across the state to inform community, business and state leaders about the value and importance of poetry and creative expression. The program is funded by the Oregon Cultural Trust.
To learn more about the Oregon Poet Laureate program, or to schedule an event with Kim Stafford, visit the Poet Laureate website.
About the Oregon Cultural Trust
The Oregon Cultural Trust is an innovative, statewide private-public program raising significant new funds to support and protect Oregon’s arts, humanities and heritage. In addition to the creation of a permanent endowment, funds are distributed annually through three multifaceted, wide-ranging grant programs. No other state in the nation has a program like the Oregon Cultural Trust, which has been ranked with the bottle bill and the vote-by-mail bill as among Oregon’s most forward-thinking public policy measures. More information at culturaltrust.org.
About Oregon Humanities
Oregon Humanities is an independent, nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities and a statewide partner of the Oregon Cultural Trust. Each year through programs and publications—the Conversation Project, Think & Drink, Humanity in Perspective, Idea Lab Summer Institute, Public Program Grants, and Oregon Humanities magazine—Oregon Humanities connects Oregonians to ideas that change lives and transform communities. More information at oregonhumanities.org.