William Stafford Essay

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The Life Changing Poem “Fifteen” by William Stafford As teenagers, we all have had times where we were put into situations that resulted in an impetuous decision. “Fifteen” is part of the fourth book of Stafford’s poems, The Rescued Year, published in 1966. Many of the poems in Stafford’s collection are dramas of the human past which attempt to recapture an event or to confront one that has vanished (“Answers” par. 1) Most of his poems are set in the landscape of the American West. “Fifteen” is generally considered one of the finest poems in the collection and shows Stafford’s simple narrative style. William Edgar Stafford was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, on January 17, 1914, to Ruby Mayher and Earl Ingersoll Stafford. The oldest of three children, Stafford grew up with an appreciation for nature and books (Life Story par. 1). During the Depression, the family moved from town to town as his dad searched for jobs. William helped to support the family also, by delivering papers, working in the sugar beet fields, raising vegetables, and as an electrician's mate ( par. 1) In 1933, Stafford graduated from high school in Liberal, Kansas. He attended Garden City and El Dorado junior colleges, graduating from the University of Kansas in 1937 (par. 1). In 1939, Stafford enrolled at the University of Wisconsin to begin graduate studies in Economics (par. 1). By the next year he had returned to Kansas to earn his master’s degree in English. When the United States entered World War II in 1941, Stafford was drafted before he could obtain his degree (par. 2). He spent four years in work camps and was assigned duties such as fire fighting, soil conservation, and building and maintaining roads and trails (par. 3). In 1944 Massedge 2 while in California, Stafford met and married Dorothy Frantz, who was the daughter of a minister at the Church of the Brethren (Gullickson par.

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