Every War Has Two Losers: William Stafford on Peace and War

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Milkweed Editions, 2003 - Literary Collections - 168 pages
Born the year World War I began, acclaimed poet William Stafford (1914-1993) spent World War II in a camp for conscientious objectors. Throughout a century of conflict he remained convinced that wars simply don't work. In his writings, Stafford showed it is possible--and crucial--to think independently when fanatics act, and to speak for reconciliation when nations take sides. He believed it was a failure of imagination to only see two options: to fight or to run away.

This book gathers the evidence of a lifetime's commitment to nonviolence, including an account of Stafford's near-hanging at the hands of American patriots. In excerpts from his daily journal from 1951-1991, Stafford uses questions, alternative views of history, lyric invitations, and direct assessments of our political habits to suggest another way than war. Many of these statements are published here for the first time, together with a generous selection of Stafford's pacifist poems and interviews from elusive sources.

Stafford provides an alternative approach to a nation's military habit, our current administration's aggressive instincts, and our legacy of armed ventures in Europe, the Pacific, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and beyond.
 

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User Review  - nmele - LibraryThing

I know I've read William Stafford's poetry before now, but this anthology of prose, poetry and interviews made me sit up and resolve to read everything by him I can find. The title is from a ... Read full review

Every War Has Two Losers: William Stafford on Peace and War

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

"Is it naive to seek national and international security through poetry?" asks Kim Stafford in his introduction to a book that celebrates his father's pacifist ideology. Published ten years after ... Read full review

Contents

The Mob Scene at McNeil
15
Citizen Here on Earth
25
A Ritual to Read to Each Other
81
LEARNING
83
EXPLAINING THE BIG ONE
84
AT THE GRAVE OF MY BROTHER BOMBER PILOT
85
A MESSAGE FROM THE WANDERER
86
AT THE UNNATIONAL MONUMENT ALONG THE CANADIAN BORDER
87
OUR KIND
100
HOW IT IS
101
IN CAMP
102
THE ANIMAL THAT DRANK UP SOUND
103
THE STAR IN THE HILLS
105
CLASH
106
NOVEMBER
108
FAMILY STATEMENT
109

PEACE WALK
88
WATCHING THE JET PLANES DIVE
89
THINKING FOR BERKY
90
A DEDICATION
91
MEN
92
ENTERING HISTORY
93
OBJECTOR
94
SERVING WITH GIDEON
95
FOR THE UNKNOWN ENEMY
96
FIVE AM
97
POETRY
98
ALLEGIANCES
99
DECEMBER
110
CHILDREN STILL PLAY
111
A MEMORIAL
112
STATE OF THE UNION
113
LOSERS
114
FOR THE OREGON HOUSE SESSION 13 APRIL 1987
115
Some Questions about Victory
117
Notes to Some Poems
155
William E Stafford 19141993
163
Other Sources for Information about William Stafford and Pacifism
165
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About the author (2003)

William Edgar Stafford was born in Hutchinson, Kansas on January 17, 1914. He received a B.A. in 1937 and a master's degree in English in 1947 from the University of Kansas and a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 1954. During the Second World War, he was a conscientious objector and worked in the civilian public service camps. He wrote about this experience in the prose memoir Down in My Heart, which was published in 1947. He taught at Lewis and Clark College from 1948 until his retirement in 1980. During his lifetime, he published more than sixty-five volumes of poetry and prose including The Rescued Year, Stories That Could Be True: New and Collected Poems, Writing the Australian Crawl: Views on the Writer's Vocation, and An Oregon Message. He received several awards including a Shelley Memorial Award, a Western States Lifetime Achievement Award in Poetry, and the National Book Award in 1963 for Traveling Through the Dark. In 1970, he was the Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (a position currently known as the Poet Laureate). He died on August 28, 1993.

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