The William E. Stafford Archives, Series 5, Sub-Series 3: Musical Settings to William Stafford Poetry, 1950-2012

Overview of the Collection

Stafford, William, 1914-1993
The William E. Stafford Archives, Series 5, Sub-Series 3: Musical Settings to William Stafford Poetry
1950-2012 (inclusive)
1.5 cubic feet, (3 boxes)
Collection Number
William Stafford (1914-1993) was one of the most prolific and important American poets of the last half of the twentieth century. This subseries of the collection includes sheet music, reel to reel, and compact discs of settings to Stafford's poetry. The Index to the entire Stafford Archives can be found at:
Lewis & Clark College, Special Collections and Archives

Aubrey R. Watzek Library
615 S. Palatine Hill Rd.
Portland, OR
Telephone: 5037687758
Fax: 5037687282
Access Restrictions

This collection has no restrictions and is open for research.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

William Stafford (1914-1993) was one of the most prolific and important American poets of the last half of the twentieth century. Among his many credentials, Stafford served as consultant in poetry at the Library of Congress, and received the National Book Award for his poetry collection Traveling through the Dark (1963). During his lifetime, Stafford wrote over sixty books of poetry that still resonate with both scholars and general readers. Stafford’s perspectives on peace, the environment, and education serve as some of the most articulate and engaging dialogues by a modern American writer about three of the most important issues of the second half of the twentieth century with lasting impacts on future generations. Howard Zinn, one America’s most iconic modern historians, was keenly aware of Stafford’s insight into modern American culture. Zinn claimed, “William Stafford’s prose and poetry, wise and eloquent, speak directly to the violence of our time, and to our hope for a different world” (from cover of Every War Has Two Losers).

The William Stafford Archives, donated to Lewis & Clark College by the Stafford family in 2008, contain the private papers, publications, photographs, recordings, and teaching materials of the poet William Stafford. The Lewis & Clark College Special Collections actively add to this collection by acquiring unique Stafford related materials.

Stafford wrote every day of his life from 1950 to 1993. These 20,000 pages of daily writings form a complete record of the poet’s mostly early morning meditations, including poem drafts, dream records, aphorisms, and other visits to the unconscious, recorded on separate sheets of yellow or white paper or when traveling, often in spiral-bound reporters’ steno pads. The archive also includes typescripts of poems submitted for publication and for use in readings. Stafford listed where he submitted each poem, and whether it was accepted for publication on the typescript. Each of his published collections, large and small, is represented by its gathering of documentary copies (typescripts), called by Stafford a “put-together.” Unpublished poems, poems published in journals, and reading copies of published poems were also gathered, in a virtually complete record from 1937 to 1993, totaling about 7,000 items. The collection also includes copies of all known Stafford books and translations. Stafford saved correspondence received, with an indication of the date of reply, and sometimes a copy of the reply, from the early 1960s to August 1993. Estimated at 100,000 sheets, the collected correspondence contains some full exchanges of correspondence initiated by WS. One such exchange is the correspondence with Marvin Bell on their sequence Segues. In addition to many photographs of and relating to William Stafford, the archive includes an estimated 20,000 photographs and negatives taken and developed by Stafford of fellow poets, family, friends, and Lewis & Clark College faculty. The archive provides documentation of Stafford's teaching career, including more than one thousand index cards, some dating from research at Iowa, others from later. These were much used in preparing for classes, workshops, and lectures. The files also contain scattered notes for workshops and lectures. The archive also includes course syllabi, and faculty documents relating to Stafford's teaching years at Lewis & Clark College.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Includes sheet music, reel to reel, and compact discs.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Permission to publish, exhibit, broadcast, or quote from materials in the Watzek Library Archives & Special Collections requires written permission of the Head of Archives & Special Collections.

Preferred Citation

The William Stafford Archives, Lewis & Clark College Aubrey Watzek Library Archives & Special Collections, Portland, Oregon.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Arranged in chronologically by date of creation.

Location of Collection

Special Collections

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box item
1 1.1 Robert Stoltz. Scores for: “Breath,” “Vacation,” “Juke Joint,” and “Home.”
manuscript score
ca. 1950-1960
1 1.2 Bernice Ford. Score for: “Then.”
manuscript score
1 1.3 Robert Graham. Hammond organ recording of setting for “Fall Wind.”
reel to reel audio recording
1 1.4 Peter Michaelides. “Lamentations,” Recording of a performance of a setting to “Lamentations at University of Northern Iowa.
reel to reel audio recording; printed program; and 10 sheets of correspondence relating to the recording.
May 9, 1968
1 1.5 Rogre Briggs. “Passing Chimes: Two Songs on Death for Voice and Piano,” including “Father and Son.” South Bend, Indiana.
manuscript score and cassette recording from March 1982
July 4 1980
1 1.6 Documentation for an item not in the collection
Rodney Rogers, Rodney. May 1983. “Traveling Through the Dark,” for tenor, oboe, cello, and piano four-hands. Manuscript score.
1 1.7 Charles Berry. “Stafford Suite.”
Correspondence relating to composition of chorus and orchestra.
1 1.8 Walter Winslow. “Six Songs on Poems of William Stafford,” including “Those Leaves,” “Where We Live,” “Charged by Moonlight,” “Friends, Farewell,” “Sleeping on the Sisters Land,” and “Receiver,” for soprano voice and piano.
Manuscript score and cassette recording: Daune Mahy, soprano, and Robert Spano, piano, 1986. Additional cassette recording, Della Surratt, soprano, and Walter Winslow, piano.
1 1.9 Samuel Adler. “Ask Me,” for medium voice and guitar. San Antonio, Texas: Southern Music Company.
Manuscript score. File includes from Adler. “A Round Again for ’86,” Christmas card to William Stafford. Two songs by Adler, settings of “Song Now” and “Ask Me” for guitar and soprano were performed by guitarist Nicholas Goluses and soprano Suzanne Stevens at a memorial tribute to William Stafford March 16, 1994 in the Plutzik Memorial Poetry Series of the University of Rochester.
1 1.10 Sondra Clark. “Seasons of Love: Five Songs to Poems by American Poets,” for medium voice, violin, cello, and piano, including “Fall Wind” by Stafford.
Manuscript score, two copies, and two cassette recordings.
1 1.11 Glenn Spring. “Hold In Your Memory the Land…”, including “The Animal that Drank Up Sound,” for soprano, horn, and string orchestra. Commissioned by the Walla Walla Symphony.
Manuscript score and printed program.
January 1991
2 2.12 Documentation for an item not in the collection
Matthew J. Doudt. 1991. “Traveling Through the Dark: a song cycle for piano and tenor on five poems by William Stafford.” Manuscript score, housed at Manchester College, Indiana.
2 2.13 Matthew Smith. “The Animal That Drank Up Sound.” San Diego: Harcourt Brace and Co.
Cassette. Accompanying five cassettes including unfinished versions.
2 2.14 Todd Barton. “The Dream of Now,” for string quartet and reader.
Manuscript score and four cassettes performed by Cavani String Quartet in unfinished and final versions.
2 2.15 Linda Hathaway. “There is Something Still Floating,” Beaverton, OR.
December 1998
2 2.16 Mary Kadderly. “I Go Zoom,” including “You Opened Up My Heart,” inspired by Stafford. Mary Margaret Music.
Compact disc.
2 2.17 Earl Pillsbury. “Three Poems by William Stafford,” including “Being A Person,” “Ask Me,” and “I Am Any Old Tree,” for tenor voice and piano, Boston, MA.
Manuscript score.
March-April 1999
2 2.18 Denise Broadhurst. “Looking Up At Night,” for soprano, mezzo soprano, and piano.
Manuscript score, performance program, and cassette recording.
2 2.19 Forrest David Pierce. “Monument,” including ““At the Un-National Monument Along the Canadian Border,” for unaccompanied 11-part divisi chorus.
Manuscript score.
2 2.20 Monica Houghton. “The Un-National Monument,” for mixed chamber choir a capella.
Manuscript score.
2 2.21 Paula Sinclair and Uncle Tumbleweed. “The Good Horse,” including “Song Now” and “The Good Horse.” Opal Studio: Portland, OR.
Two CD recordings and postcard.
July 2003
3 3.22 Jerry Gerber. “In Praise of Poets,” including “A Ritual to Read to Each Other,” performed by Dale Tracy, Katy Stephan, and Janet Campbell. Ottava Records.
Compact disc.
3 3.22.1 Documentation for an item not in the collection
“I’d Like to Sing With You Tonight,” performed by Julie Hanify, David Mahler, and Larry Polansky. Sound Sound, Seattle, WA: Frog Peak Music. CD. Housed at Dartmouth College Library, NH; Princeton University, NJ; Bringham Young University, UT.
3 3.23 Lynette Westendorf. “River of Memory,” including “Cascade Rapids with Fisherman” by Kim Stafford, and “Ask Me” by William Stafford. Salamander Music.
Compact disc.
3 3.24 Gavin Duffy. “Infinite Waters,” including “Ask Me,” for soprano, clarinet, violoncello, and piano, composed for Sixth Annual William Stafford Symposium, Portland, OR.
Manuscript score, printed program, and CD recording.
3 3.25 Carolyn McDade. “Meditation on a Poem by William Stafford,” composed by Carolyn McDade, including “You Reading This: Stop.”
Manuscript score and accompanying recording sung by women from Nova Scotia, May 2010.
3 3.26 Laura Hyland. “Winterlands,” including “A Ritual to Read to Each Other.”
Manuscript score and CD recording.
3 3.27 Michael Johanson. “Modern Choral Masterpieces: Oregon Repertory Singers fall concert performance,” including “Earth Dweller.”
CD recording, and programs. Also sheet music of the setting.
3 3.28 Sarah Dougher. “Strangers Together: Poems by William Stafford,” performed by Flash Choir.
Poster and program.
January 22, 2010
3 3.29 Carolyn McDade and Friends. “Widening Embrace,” including “You Reading This: Stop.”
Manuscript score and two copies of CD recording.
3 3.29.1 Alex Koehler. “The Well Rising,” for piano and voice, performed 20 April 2012 in Evans Auditorium, Lewis & Clark College by Danielle Fenske, piano, and Amy Waters, voice.
Printed score and recital program.
3 3.30 Documentation for an item not in the collection
Boury, Robert. Circa 1970s. “42 Songs,” including “Traveling Through the Dark.” Manuscript score, housed at Columbus State University, Georgia.
3 3.31 Carolyn Ann Lucas. “Lucas Sings Setting of ‘Assurance,’”
Cassette recording.
After 10/26/1975
3 3.32 Don Walker. “From Stories That Could Be True,” including “Walking West,” “Small Item,” “Crossing the Desert,” and “Freedom.”
Manuscript score and CD recording.
After 1977
3 3.33 Lazlo Slomovits and Sandor Slomovits, (Gemini). “Poetry Settings,” including “Some Days of Its Gift,” “A Bird Inside a Box,” “Passing Remark,” “Vespers,” and “Little Rooms.”
Cassette recording with a CD recording of “Poems by Naomi Shihab Nye.”
3 3.34 Poems and songs by Kim Stafford and William Stafford, includes sung settings to guitar of “Song Now” (Guitar string is…) and “Our Story” (Remind me again…), tracks 1 and 3 respectively. Kim Stafford poems on tracks 2 and 4, track 5 is a spoken reminiscence by Kim Stafford about his father, headed “Poems to a Listener.”
CD recording

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Pacifism--Poetry.
  • Pacifism--United States.
  • Poetry -- Authorship.
  • Poetry -- Study and teaching.
  • Poetry--20th century.
  • Poets, American--20th century.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Conscientious objectors -- United States.

Personal Names

  • Stafford, Dorothy
  • Stafford, William, 1914-1993--Archives

Corporate Names

  • Lewis & Clark College (Portland, Or.)

Geographical Names

  • Kansas.
  • Oregon.

Other Creators

  • Personal Names
    • Stafford, Kim (creator)