William Stafford’s poetry collection

Our purchase of the William Stafford collection coincided with the announcement that Kim Stafford was to become the new Poet Laureate of Oregon. Kim had had some say in the disposition of this portion of his father’s library, so I thought I should go to the reception and introduce myself.

After the program, I awkwardly tried to thank Kim for his part in allowing these books to be sold. His response was swift and decided: “Get those books back out there! Get them in the hands of people who want to read poetry,” he exclaimed.

It was at this point that I fully understood why Kim is our state’s Poet Laureate. It’s not his heritage; it’s not only his poetry; it’s not only his service as an educator–it’s his vision that poetry is for everyday people. During his lecture, he read a poem by an eight year-old with as much enthusiasm and respect as he read his own. Poetry for Kim is not only about language, ideas, and emotions, but also about the ability to use poetry as a connection between ourselves and the world.

A surprising number of the books on this list are not currently available for sale online. Some of them don’t even show up in WorldCat. All of them have the great association value of coming from William Stafford’s personal library. My original intention was to put high prices on these books…but I can’t get over Kim’s injunction. As such, the vast majority of the books have been priced without much consideration for provenance, but instead at a level to be affordable to readers or even to the curious. This is not, however, meant in any way to devalue the importance of Stafford; it is rather to value the importance of sharing poetry.

Not noted per book:

  • A fair number of the books inscribed to Stafford have his handwritten note of the author’s address and the date he responded to their letter/publication
  • This is not a bookseller’s catalog, even though I am indeed a bookseller and will be using it as such. However, things like edition, binding, and condition are generally not noted. In general, the books are paperbacks and in very good to fine condition: I have tried to note when a book is a hardcover. Please inquire for details if needed.
  • All books will have a small card that says “From the collection of William Stafford offered for sale by Browsers’ Bookstore” laid in.

The column in the spreadsheet titled “Inscription” has three options: “Auth” means the author inscribed it to William Stafford (not always using his full name); “Other” means an editor, translator or other person inscribed it to Stafford; “Own” means Stafford has written his own name in the book. Non-inscription signatures are generally noted.

This link will take you to the spreadsheet: