Ooligan Press

Ooligan is a not-for-profit general trade press that publishes books honoring the cultural and natural diversity of the Pacific Northwest.

  • We Belong in History: Writing with William Stafford

    What does poetry mean to today’s teenagers? We Belong In History: Writing with William Stafford brings together middle and high school students from around Oregon to answer this question. This unique anthology mixes beloved Poet Laureate William Stafford’s poems with verses by young writers inspired by his work, his passions, and his legacy. Both an anthology for readers and a toolkit for teachers, this book also includes lesson plans to help instructors nurture a passion for poetry, for William Stafford, and for writing in the next generation.

    Introduced by Oregon Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen, this collection honors the poet and his legacy as part of the centennial celebration of his birthday. Combining the past with the present, this collection creates a new history, one we all belong to.

    We Belong in History: Writing with William Stafford celebrates cross-generational community by pairing Stafford’s poems with the student writing that they’ve inspired. This collection is both an anthology and a toolkit, giving writers and teachers ideas to help keep Stafford’s work and words alive.

    Visit the William Stafford Archives to learn more about the poet.


    In honor of poet William Stafford’s centennial birthday, Ooligan Press organized a statewide writing competition for seventh through twelfth graders. The contest began in September 2012. We contacted local teachers and offered them lesson plans based on Stafford’s poems to help inspire high school students to create their own essays and poems. We collected submissions throughout the year, compiling the best work during the summer of 2013, and published the students’ work by January 2014, coinciding with the yearlong celebration of Stafford’s birth.

    We held a launch party on January 7, 2014 at In Other Words bookstore where Paulann Petersen and five of the student poets read their work from the book. Pictures of the event are available on our Facebook Page.

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    For Teachers

    Link to the Ooligan Press Teacher's Guide for We Belong in History: Writing with William Stafford
    Download the Teacher’s Guide

    Inspire your students to write in response to William Stafford’s work. You can try the original lesson planning packet (link at left) used during the Ooligan sponsored competition in 2012 as a starting point.

    Grades: Middle School, High School

    Topics: Techniques for Teaching Writing, Poetry

    Genre: Poetry

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