Kim Stafford will speak about 'Poetry for the Good of the City' on Dec. 4 at the Chehalem Cultural Center

Finishing up on his effort to reach as many people throughout the state as possible, Oregon Poet Laureate Kim Stafford will speak in Newberg at noon Dec. 4 at the Chehalem Cultural Center.Stafford

Stafford was named poet laureate by Gov. Kate Brown in July. A poet laureate is a government-appointed position and is regularly expected to compose poems for special events or occasions.

Stafford, who is the son of a poet and holds several degrees from the University of Oregon, has taught writing since 1979 at Lewis & Clark College and Willamette University. He has also taught at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, at the Fishtrap writers' gathering, and at private workshops around the world. In addition, he also is the founding director of the Northwest Writing Institute and is library executor of the Estate of William Stafford, his father.

Stafford's discussion Dec. 4 -- open to the public as long as attendees make reservations with the Newberg City Club -- is titled "Poetry for the Good of the City."

The Oregon native will have given up to 20 public readings around the state by the time 2018 comes to an end about the importance of poetry. His discussions are sponsored by the Oregon Cultural Trust. He is the author of a dozen books of poetry and prose. His book "Having Everything Right: Essays of Place" won a citation for excellence from the Western States Book Awards in 1986.

"Kim has jumped into the Oregon poet laureate position with the gusto, creativity and energy we anticipated," Adam Davis, executive director of Oregon Humanities, who administers the Poet Laureate program on behalf of the Cultural Trust, said in a press release. "He's been all over the place already and each place has been just the right place."

Stafford is the state's ninth poet laureate. He plans to release a book of poetry inspired by things he's seen in Oregon.

"Like groundwater blossoming at many mountain springs," Stafford said, "the stuff of poetry can appear wherever you take a close look. I want to be the poet laureate by constantly responding to Oregon's myriad inspirations, and to do the work of the poet laureate by engaging writers all over the map."

Stafford's most recent book, "100 tricks Every Boy Can do," is an account of his brother's suicide and the struggle his family went through after that.

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