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PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Sunday, January 22, 2012

Poet Laureate to Host Stafford Reading

Paul Willis, Westmont professor of English and Santa Barbara poet laureate, hosts a sixth annual community reading in the Los Padres National Forest, “Remembering William Stafford,” Saturday, Jan. 28, at 2 p.m. at the First Crossing Day Use Area on Paradise Road off Highway 154 in Santa Barbara County.


Local writers Christine Kravetz and Greg Orfalea will be featured readers. Willis invites members of the community to share their favorite Stafford poems as well.

Stafford won the National Book Award in Poetry in 1963 for his book “Traveling Through the Dark.” He also served as poetry consultant to the Library of Congress and as poet laureate of Oregon. During World War II, he worked for the U.S. Forest Service as a conscientious objector at the Los Prietos Civilian Public Service Camp. This camp, now torn down and converted to a picnic area, is where the reading will take place.

Lewis & Clark College Special Collections

William Stafford at the Los Prietos Civilian Public Service camp in 1943.

Kravetz, whose works have been published in several literary journals, uses poetry as a tool while working with at-risk youth for Domestic Violence Solutions of Santa Barbara County.

Orfalea, Westmont adjunct assistant professor of English, has authored eight books, including “Angeleno Days: An Arab American Writer on Family, Place, and Politics,” which won the 2010 Arab American Book Award and was a finalist for a PEN USA 2010 Literary Award.

Westmont College and The Friends of William Stafford are sponsoring the reading. No day-use fee or Adventure Pass is needed to attend. In case of rain, the reading will take place indoors at the Los Prietos Ranger Station, also on Paradise Road. For information, please contact Paul Willis at willis@westmont.edu or (805) 565-7174.

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