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Celebrate Poet's Birthday

Event planned for Jan. 17

Columbia Center for the Arts and the Friends of William Stafford will co-sponsor a free commemorative celebration of Stafford's life and work on Sunday afternoon, Jan. 17, at 2 p.m. at Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River.

Guest poets Blue Ackerman, Tina Castanares, Paula Friedman, Mimi Maduro, Jodie Marion, Mary Schlick and Leah Stenson will each read one of their favorite Stafford poems and one of their own poems, after which the audience will be invited to share a Stafford poem or reminisce about the poet.

The program will also include a brief film clip from "Every War Has Two Losers: A Film Based on the Journals of William Stafford."

Light refreshments will be served.

The first "William Stafford Birthday Reading" was held in 1998 at the West Linn Library in honor of the distinguished poet and pacifist who served as poet laureate of Oregon as well as consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress (a position currently known as US Poet Laureate).

Over the years, the event has expanded to include locations throughout the state as well as venues beyond Oregon. This year, Friends of William Stafford has scheduled over 50 readings throughout Oregon and Washington, with the list growing rapidly to include California, Texas, Kansas, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio and Vermont. Internationally, Stafford's life and work will be celebrated in Japan.

For a complete listing of scheduled readings, see www.williamstafford.org.

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