Westmont and The Friends of William Stafford are sponsoring the fifth annual “Remembering William Stafford: A Community Reading” Saturday, Jan. 29, from 2-3 p.m. at the First Crossing Day-Use Area on Paradise Road in Los Padres National Forest. The reading is free and no day-use fee or Adventure Pass is needed to attend.
Stafford won the National Book Award in Poetry in 1963 for his book Traveling Through the Dark. He also served as consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress, a position now known as poet laureate.
Paul Willis, Westmont professor of English, began hosting the readings after he discovered that one of Stafford’s formative life experiences took place in Santa Barbara’s back country.
“This is wonderful opportunity for the community to gather on the site of the Los Prietos Civilian Public Service Camp, where William Stafford served as a conscientious objector during World War II,” Willis says.
Kristin George, co-winner of the 2010 Nuclear Age Peace Foundation poetry award, and Erland Anderson, poet and scholar from Moorpark, will read several Stafford poems. Everyone attending will also be invited to read a favorite Stafford poem.
The reading is one of dozens taking place across the country this month in honor of Stafford, who was born in January 1914. He died in 1993, having published 57 volumes of poetry.
The First Crossing Day-Use Area is 5.5 miles from Highway 154 on Paradise Road just past the Los Prietos Boys Camp, 3900 Paradise Rd. For more information or more precise directions, please contact Paul Willis at email@example.com or (805) 5657174. In case of rain, the reading will take place indoors at the Los Prietos Ranger Station, also on Paradise Road.