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 occasion of the poet's centennial, Ask Me collects 100 of William Stafford's crucial poems. As a conscientious objector in the course of global conflict II, whereas assigned to Civilian Public provider camps Stafford begun 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 paintings. chosen and with a observe 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

Sample text

For healthy pers ons. all ' bodies do not have th e same significan ce, despite the fact that they all hav e roughly the same physiological features. Sexua l sig nifi- . cance must th erefore be inseparable from , but irr educibleto, the phys icalit y of the h uman bogy. For norm al per son s, that bod y is sub tende d by a strictly in divid ual 'sexua l sche ma'. In so far as sexua l sig nificance is not a given d atum for a d isembod ied consciousness, its apprehe nsion requ ires that we not rest in the actua l, in the already cons tituted realm of th ings, but that we active ly project ' o urse lves - in ou r bodily being - beyond th e given in orde r to endo w it with significance .

Trad itiona lly, speech has th erefore been di st inguished from ges ture by desi gnating the former ' a conve ntio nal sign ' and the latt er ' a natu ral Sign' . How eve r, if we go beyond the conceptual to the emo tio nal - or gestural - meaning of word s, we discover that they too possess an imman ent sig nificance . In poetry we sec most rea dily that the words th emselves express th e emotional essence of th at which they design ate. Different lan gu ages express different ways of being-in-the-world ; hen ce the nuances - ' the full meaning' - of on e cannot be rendered by an oth er, as translators kno w only too well.

Y~ curious ly eno ugh ,Sc h nei der do es not feel himself to be th e au tho r o ( his activ ities; instead they~;;;' tohim to be Jriggered off ' by t he situatio n. e~ts~ ~e~';ely~a lin k;;:; the who le· process' of e vents . L The Spatiality of the Body Itself and Motility 43 rest, hi s bod y. is a formless mas s. ovementi n to actu'a l movement'. His only...! _him and fortuitously producing an app roxima tion of th e req ues ted gesture. o n,:: s perception of the world. For Schneider, both body and world are essen tially co ngealed: thus ruling out any creativity on hi s part.

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