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This is a work in progress, an anthology of sorts, for reluctant writers. Ive had the
profound opportunity to browse through quite a few of William Staffords library of
poems. I have six words for you. I wish I knew him sooner.

Through William Staffords poetry and stories told to me, I feel a kindred spirit. Theres
an immediate sense of genuineness in his work. He seemed to have emulated much of
what Christ would want, that is, display Christs image, through love and service to
others even during the hard times.

Thank you. Dr. Stafford for your enormous contribution to our world. It lives on.


Alvin Johnson

Hand written draft for Traveling Through The Dark, June 17, 1956.

Traveling Through The Dark Second draft typescript.

Traveling Through The Dark Final version.

(Mentor text of an unforgettable experience)

The Wind Is Stronger Than Me

I was only about six years old. It was the weekend of 1966.
I was on my way back form visiting my cousin from across the street.
My cousins and I were really close. We practically live
At each others houses.

On this particular day, I believe it was in the afternoon.
My mom yelled form across the street, Alvin the weather is
Really bad. Get in this house. So I quickly ran from across
The street, where we were playing hopscotch, to my back yard.
For some odd reason we entered through the back
Door most of the time.

I remember the wind blowing pretty aggressively the whole time
We were out playing. We didnt give it much thought till my mom
Yelled for us to come in. By that time the wind really picked up its force.

By the time I reached my back yard, I was really struggling to reach the
Steps that led up to our back door. These were cement steps, about six
In all, that led up to the back door and porch. Meanwhile, by this time,
The wind reached what I thought, epic proportions.
As I attempted to walk up the stairs, that old strong wind literally knocked me to the

I got up and proceeded to walk up the stairs again. This time I managed to
Make it up a couple of steps, when all the sudden that crafty strong wind
Threw me down to the ground again. I tried my accession once again,
But to no avail.

My oldest brother Orin, we called him OJ, had to come out of to help me
up the stairs and into the house. Ive never been so frightened up to this point.
What would I have done, I asked myself, if no one was home to help me into the
-Alvin Johnson

Criteria for Traveling through the dark poem:

Read A Loud. Highlight what stands out, imagery, description, verbs etc.
List your memorable experiences. Narrow it down to one or two.
Make a sketch.
Share with partner, share out.
Time to write..

At The Playground
Away down deep and away up high,
A swing drops you into the sky.
Back, it draws you away down deep,
Forth, it flings you in a sweep
All the way to the stars and back
-Goodby, Jill; Goodby, Jack:
shuffering cklimb wild and steep,
away up high, away down deep.

-William Stafford

First Grade
In the play Amy didnt want to be
Anybody; so she managed the curtain.
Sharon wanted to be Amy. But Sam
Wouldnt let anybody be anybody else
He said it was wrong. All fight, Steve said,
Ill be me, but I dont like
So Amy was Amy, and we didnt have the play.
And Sharon cried.

-William Stafford
(Two poems for pleasure: for the purpose of inspiring)

Ruby by William Stafford.

(A tribute to William Staffords mother-Ruby)

Ruby Stafford, William Staffords mother

Criteria for the Ruby Was Her Name poem:
Read a round: each student reads a line
from the poem. Teacher gives the background story of the poem. With your partner,
discuss what you notice, highlight what
stands out. Then make a list of important
people in your life. Narrow it down to one
or two that you want to write about. State three reasons with examples why you want
to write about this person. Share out to class.
Time to write