In May, Governor Kate Brown announced that Kim Stafford will be Oregon’s ninth poet laureate. Stafford, a celebrated poet, essayist, teacher, and founding director of the Northwest Writing Institute at Lewis & Clark College, succeeds Elizabeth Woody in this position. The poet laureate program is funded by the Oregon Cultural Trust and administered by Oregon Humanities.
Stafford’s life and work have long been rooted in Oregon, where he was born and raised. He earned a PhD in medieval literature from the University of Oregon, and now lives in Portland with his wife and children. His award-winning work—writing, editing, and teaching alike—and his advocacy for literature have deeply impacted the state’s literary culture, continuing the family legacy begun by his father, William Stafford, who served as Oregon’s poet laureate from 1975 to 1990.
Through public readings and other outreach work, the Oregon Poet Laureate spreads the art of poetry throughout the state while encouraging literacy, learning, and the exploration of issues central to Oregonians’ lives. “For adults and communities, poetry can help us be more open to new ideas, emotionally informed, and buoyant in responding to challenges,” Stafford says. “In a society of diverse backgrounds and perspectives, poetry builds community.”
To see a calendar of upcoming events with Stafford or to request an appearance in your community, visit culturaltrust.org/oregon-poet-laureate.
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