Ways to Live Essay

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Pool is a published poet and a high school English teacher. In this essay, Pool approaches Stafford's poem in relation to the poet's meditations on life in the face of his impending death.

William Stafford wrote "Ways to Live" from July 19 to July 21, 1993, just over a month before his death at the end of August. An exponent of plain speech in poetry, Stafford avoids verbal gymnastics, cultivating his perception and his stance toward his subject and audience instead of polishing his lines with meter and rhyme and all the paraphernalia of formal structure. John Kennedy, writing in The Antioch Review, says that, "Stafford's is not a poetry of gimmicks or confessional sensationalism. He minimized the importance of technique and spoke of his poetry as a result of receptivity, not design." Some poets and critics dismissed Stafford because he wrote too much and published too much. Others admire him...

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This section contains 1,569 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.