A collection of Kansas poems by William Stafford with additional commentary on the man and his work by current notable writers including Jonathan Holden, Denise Low, Thomas Fox Averill, Kirsten Bosnak, Robert Day, Steven Hind, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Al Ortolani, Linda Rodriguez, Ralph Salisbury, William Sheldon, Kim Stafford, Robert Stewart, Ingrid Wendt and Fred Whitehead, who have been inspired by William Stafford and by Kansas alike.
Living on the Plains
held still every midnight and flowed
backward a minute--we studied algebra
late in our room fixed up in the barn,
and I would feel the curved relation,
the rafters upside down, and the cows in their life
holding the earth round and ready
to meet itself again when morning came.
- Coronado Heights
begins: this is the place where Coronado
found that cities of gold are dust,
that the world had led him north beyond
civilization, beyond what was good.
he fell. His helmet tumbled right here.
He smelled the earth and felt the sun
begin to be his friend: he had found
a treasure, the richest city of all.
a gift: how the riches of Mexico,
the wandering tribes, the golden wind,
all come true for us, bowing
in reverence with Coronado.