Introduction & Overview of Ways to Live

This Study Guide consists of approximately 30 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Ways to Live.
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Ways to Live Summary & Study Guide Description

Ways to Live Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Further Reading on Ways to Live by William Stafford.

"Ways to Live" was written from July 19 through 21 of 1993, just over a month before William Stafford's death in August of that year. Stafford was well known as a hard worker and diligent poet, often producing a poem a day. This poem comes from his book The Way It Is: New & Selected Poems, in a section containing poems that Stafford wrote in his final days that is titled "There's a Thread You Follow." It is a mark of Stafford's dedication to poetry that this collection contains a poem written on the morning of his death at age seventy-nine.

Stafford's method of producing "Ways to Live" is evident in the final product. On the one hand, it is clearly more spontaneous and loosely knit than poems that have been worked over and revised constantly. The four sections could almost stand as separate poems themselves and have only a thin, abstract relationship to each other. On the other hand, Stafford shows the poetic sensibilities that developed over years of daily practice so that even a poem that he had no time to revise shows more clarity and coherence than another poet might get from working and reworking a piece. This is a poem about growing old and giving up life gracefully, and it has the authority of having been written by an expert on the subject, a revered wordsmith at the very end of his life.

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This section contains 235 words
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Poetry for Students
Ways to Live from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.