Ooligan Press

We Belong in History: Writing with William Stafford

Progress: 100%

  • Book acquired
  • Production schedule created
  • Preliminary budget established
  • ISBN assigned
  • Tipsheet made
  • Marketing plan created
  • Back cover copy written
  • Cover chosen
  • Developmental Edits finished
  • Copyedit finished
  • Sales kit mailed
  • Blurbs requested
  • Making of Story completed
  • XML typecoded
  • Interior designed
  • Galleys printed
  • Galleys sent
  • Proofing completed
  • Copyright application completed
  • E-book finished
  • Collateral ready
  • Sell-through Plan created
  • William Stafford poems chosen and permissions granted
  • Packet completed
  • Teachers contacted
  • Judges chosen
  • Entries received
  • Book launched!

Previous Project Managers

Rachel Pass and Laura Larrabee

Summer 2012–Fall 2012


Rachel Pass and Becky Stevens

Winter 2013–Spring 2013

We Belong in History: Writing with William Stafford

Michael Berliner

Current Project Managers

For the first time ever, in honor of poet William Stafford’s centennial birthday, Ooligan Press is organizing a statewide writing competition for seventh through twelfth graders. We’ll kick off the competition this September. Our plan is to contact local teachers and offer them lesson plans based on Stafford’s poems that will help inspire middle and high school students to create their own essays and poems. We’ll collect submissions throughout the year, compile the best work during the summer of 2013, and publish the students’ work by January 2014, coinciding with the yearlong celebration of Stafford’s birth. The students will get the chance to see their very own work in print, their teachers will have fun seeing them get inspired, and the graduate students at Ooligan Press will be awarded the task of compiling the students’ never-before-seen poems and essays into a book. The competition is a great way to celebrate Stafford, who considered reading and teaching to be essential parts of human life.

February 12, 2014

We’re Going to Broadway!

Greeting Readers,

Tonight is the night! This is the last event for We Belong in History. We have Kim Stafford and Emily Kendal Frey leading our celebration of Stafford, students, and the poetic spirit at Broadway Books (1714 NE Broadway St, Portland, OR 97232). The festivities will begin at 7:00 p.m.

Be sure to join us if you can. Copies of We Belong in History: Writing with William Stafford will be on hand for purchase. Few things in this world are as rare as being able to buy a book directly from those who made it; even rarer is the opportunity to mingle with the heavy hitters of the Northwest poetry scene. Tonight is your chance.

We are looking forward to celebrating with each and every one of our supporters. Together, we’re all making history!

My best,

M.A. Berliner

February 4, 2014

The Rest is History

Greetings readers,

We had a great time visiting with everyone at Barnes & Noble last Tuesday night. I would like to make a special thank you to all those who were gracious enough to involve We Belong in History in the festivities.

If you missed out on the opportunity to share one of your favorite Stafford poems or just be among like-minded individuals who wish to commemorate the life and works of a great man, never fear: you still have one more opportunity. On Tuesday, February 12, we will be hosting our final We Belong in History event at Broadway Books. Bring a friend (or seven) and get ready to celebrate William Stafford and the student poets included in We Belong in History with none other than Kim Stafford and Emily Kendal Frey.

This is sure to be the perfect denouement to our selection of Stafford celebrations, so mark you calendars and be at Broadway Books at 7:00 p.m. Admission is free, and free is a very good price.

My very best,

M.A. Berliner

January 28, 2014

Enjoy an Evening with William Stafford & We Belong in History Tonight

Greetings, readers:

I have big news for We Belong in History. Tonight, January 28, we will be featured at the Vancouver Barnes and Noble. Poets Leah Stenson and Shelley Reece will lead a discussion about poetry and the Northwest’s greatest poet: William Stafford. The event starts at 7:00 p.m., so bring a favorite poem and celebrate with us. You can find more information about the event here. We hope to see you there!

And in case you missed it, We Belong in History: Writing with William Stafford was featured on Oregon Live. We are excited that We Belong in History is reaching so many people. I would like to give my thanks to Jeff Baker and The Oregonian for their wonderful feedback.

Don’t forget, there will be yet another We Belong in History event on February 12 at Broadway Books. The event will start at 7:00 p.m., so mark your calendars to come celebrate this anthology with Kim Stafford and the wonderful students whose poems made this collection possible.

As always, my very best,

M.A. Berliner

January 22, 2014

Exciting Events on the Horizon

Greetings readers,

This week has been an exciting and challenging one for us here at Ooligan Press. We are assembling materials and information for our next We Belong in History launch party. Here’s the scoop: the next event party will be in conjunction with the Vancouver Barnes and Noble Stafford event on January 28 at 7:00 p.m. The poetry group discussion will be led by guest authors Leah Stenson and Shelley Reece and will feature We Belong in History. We’d love to see you at the event, where you can pick up your own copy of We Belong in History and read along. 

Speaking of cool bookstores and poetry, Broadway Books will host another We Belong in History event on February 12 at 7:00 p.m. Admission is free, so head over if you can! We will be hosting special guests Kim Stafford and Emily Kendal Frey, as well as some of the students that are anthologized in We Belong in History. We could not be more excited!

That’s all for this week cool kids.

As always, my best,

M.A. Berliner

January 14, 2014

To Broadway Books and Beyond!

Greetings readers,

First off, let me thank Paulann Petersen for being our honored guest at the We Belong in History launch party last Tuesday at In Other Words bookstore. I also want to thank our friends with the Figures of Speech Reading Series for hosting our event. And let us not forget our student poets, without whom we would not have a book. If you missed the festivities on January 7, don’t fret: there will be another opportunity to celebrate Stafford’s life, works, and philosophy with the student poets of We Belong in History on February 12 at Broadway Books. Make sure to check back here in the coming weeks for all the details.

Even though We Belong in History is now in print, we here at Ooligan Press have a great many tasks left to accomplish. Now that the book is launched and officially in circulation, we are implementing our sell-through plan. This includes following up with bloggers who are interested in spreading Stafford’s message, as well as applying for awards and other tasks designed to help get the word out.

A heartfelt thanks once again to everyone who helped make our launch party such a success. Together, we do indeed belong in history.

My best,

Michael Berliner

January 7, 2014

History Starts Now

Greetings readers,

This week is an exciting one for Ooligan Press. Tonight is our launch party for We Belong in History: Writing with William Stafford. Our friends at the Figures of Speech Reading Series are hosting us at In Other Words Bookstore (14 NE Killingsworth St, Portland, Oregon). Our doors will be open at 7:00 p.m., and we will begin our celebration of Stafford’s life and works at 7:30 p.m.

Our guests of honor this evening are Paulann Petersen and Rosalyn Andronescu, with readings from the fabulous student poets that are included in We Belong in History. Our event will be a showcase of student achievement, a celebration of the teachers who have instructed them, and a tribute to the life, philosophy, and works of William Stafford.

Be sure to join us if you can. Copies of We Belong in History: Writing with William Stafford will be on hand for purchase. Few things in this world are as rare as being able to buy a book directly from those who made it possible. Tonight is your chance.

We are looking forward to celebrating with each and every one of our supporters. Together, we’re all making history!

My best,

M.A. Berliner

January 2, 2014

Launching into the New Year

Greetings readers,

I hope your holidays have been good as mine. We Belong in History’s student poets were featured last week on OPB’s Think Out Loud radio program. I would like to thank the good people of OPB for taking an interest in our book and providing the wonderful learning experience that we’ve all shared. You can hear a recording for yourself by clicking here.

In other news, our launch party is set for January 7, 2014 at In Other Words bookstore. Be there at 7:30 p.m. to see Paulann Petersen, Rosalyn Andronescu, and featured student poets share and discuss their work. We hope to chat with you there!

Well, that’s all for this week. I wish you all a very happy new year.

My best,

M.A. Berliner

December 3, 2013

The Holiday Rush

Greetings, readers:

Sorry to have been away for so long, but the holiday snuck right up on us! And I hear that there is another one coming. Now that we’re back, we are ready to rock n’ roll right through December. For starters, we have a great event opportunity planned for the new year: we will be hosting a celebration of William Stafford and our students at In Other Words on January 7 at 7 p.m. Oregon Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen and a few of our students will be present to share their poetry with you. And, hey, if you’re one of our student poets reading this right now, feel free to drop us an e-mail if you want to be a part of any future events. 

This week, my group and I are gearing up for our promotions and sales push. We’ve designed posters and a fabulous selection of buttons to give away at our upcoming events, and we are very excited to work with our media partners, Paulann Petersen, Kim Stafford, and all of our wonderful student writers. Because we all belong in history, don’t you think? 

My best,

M.A. Berliner

November 19, 2013

Do You Belong in History?

Greetings readers, 

This week has been a very exciting one for the staff of We Belong in History. We are focusing on promotions, specifically raising awareness of our coming publication date. We are running the gamut, tackling everything from social media blogs to conventional media outlets. Who knows, you might see flyers and posters pop up soon at a library near you. Do you belong in history? Find out by peeking at our website: http://ooligan.pdx.edu/poetry/we-belong-in-history/.

We are continuing our quest to solicit help from our student poets. If your poetry is part of We Belong in History and you would like to be a part of our promotions campaign, please drop us a line at wsproject@ooliganpress.pdx.edu. We would love to hear from you.

Remember my friends, We Belong in History will be published January 1, 2014, so keep your eyes out for the book, upcoming readings, and other related events.

My best,

M.A. Berliner

November 12, 2013

To the Printer!

Greetings, readers:

Happy Veterans Day! I hope those of you who had the day off yesterday enjoyed your extended weekend.

I’m delighted to inform you that the We Belong in History book package has been sent to the printer. Our galleys looked wonderful, and we can’t wait to see the final product.

I’m also happy to let you know that we’ve scheduled our first event for the book. We’ll be premiering the publication at In Other Words on January 7 at 7:00 p.m. Bring your friends, your friends’ friends, and your grandma to a night of poetry readings, activities, and community! In the meantime, be sure to check out the We Belong in History webpage for exciting news updates and information on how to order your own copy of this lovely poetry anthology. 

My best,

M.A. Berliner

November 5, 2013

It’s All Coming Together

Greetings, readers:

This has been a very exciting week here at Ooligan Press. We have finished reviewing our galley proofs and are ready to submit the book package to our printer. That’s right, we are gearing up to print the book! It’s not long before the official publication date, so be sure to reserve your copy today.

Since my last update, we have been in contact with the good folks at Beyond Words, and it looks like we may have our first event space negotiated. Check back during my next Start to Finish post for more details.

We are also still in the process of contacting the teachers and students who made We Belong in History possible. So, keep checking your e-mails, because there’s probably a letter awaiting you from us!

We now have a dedicated webpage for We Belong in History: Writing with William Stafford. This resource contains information about the project, our scope as a publisher, and our hope to foster a love of poetry within a new generation of Oregonians. And if you ask me, these kids are standouts who most definitely belong to history.

Don’t forget to peruse some great selections from our backlistlike Classroom Publishing and Dot-to-Dot, Oregonwhile you’re there. 

My best,

M.A. Berliner

October 29, 2013

Ringing in the New Year with William Stafford

Greetings, readers:  

Who can believe that it’s time for midterms already? We are buckling down here at Ooligan Press to make sure that We Belong in History is the success it deserves to be. We have submitted our galley proofs to be printed and expect them to arrive at our office any day now. While we’re waiting, our editorial staff is reviewing the manuscript one last time before we submit We Belong in History to be printed. Yes, printed. I have waited a long time to say that! 

Since my last update, my team and I are still in the process of contacting the teachers of our William Stafford writing contest winners. We are touching base with them to find out if any of these students would like to lend a hand in promoting We Belong in History to their particular corner of Oregon. For us,  January 1, 2014 not only marks the start of a new year, but the publication of We Belong in History as part of the William Stafford centennial celebration. Look for this collection online and in stores in the near future, or reserve your copy today.

My best,

M.A. Berliner

October 22, 2013

Reaching Out to Teachers and Students

Greetings Readers,

Four weeks down already—time flies when you’re making books. Things are moving fast now, and soon we will be able to share We Belong in History with you. Our galley proofs should arrive at our office by the end of this week. We are very excited for these galleys, as they mark one large step toward completing the entire publishing process.

Since my last update, my team and I have begun the process of contacting the teachers of our William Stafford writing contest winners. We are touching base with them to find out if any of these students would like to lend a hand in promoting We Belong in History to their particular corner of Oregon. Additionally, our fabulous Editing team is combing over We Belong in History one last time before we submit it to the printer.

Over the next few weeks, we will be contacting teachers who have contributed to our collection. We want to welcome them to join us at our upcoming events in preparation for the William Stafford Centennial Celebration and our  January 1, 2014 book launch.

My best,

M.A. Berliner

October 15, 2013

Winter is Coming. (And with it, a new publication!)

Greetings, readers:

The third week of school is already upon us, and we here at Ooligan Press could not be happier to be working with the Stafford community to share We Belong in History with the world.

Our interior design is now officially complete, and we are submitting our galley proofs and uploading our DRC to Edelweiss. Aside for one last proof read, the manuscript for We Belong in History is a done deal. That means it won’t be too much longer before this Stafford-inspired work hits the physical and digital bookshelves just in time for the holidays.

Since my last update, my team and I have prepared review letters for submission to our Editing department. While this group assesses these letters, we will concentrate on the development of collateral, because who doesn’t love giveaways? We will also be contacting teachers who have contributed to our collection, welcoming them to join us at our upcoming events. Remember, We Belong in History will be available for purchase January 1, 2014, just in time for the William Stafford centennial celebration. Be sure to reserve your own copy soon!

My best,

M.A. Berliner

October 8, 2013

The Search for that Extra Something

Greetings, readers:

The second week of school has come and we here at Ooligan Press are pushing through our sales and promotions materials to ensure that We Belong in History will reach the community. We know that teachers, students, lovers of good poetry, and William Stafford aficionados of all ages are already knocking at our door to reserve their copy, but why can’t that come with something a little extra? We are brainstorming possible collateral ideas which will not only generate discussion surrounding William Stafford’s legacy, but also channel the energy of our young poets who are just beginning their careers.

Since my last update, my team and I have prepared the interior design for submission to our editing team. While this group reviews the final product, we will be sending out requests for galleys to our publishing partners. This week, we will also be working on writing the review requests to be sent to media outlets.

I would like to extend my thanks to the good people at the Oregon Council for the Teachers of English for allowing us to attend their convention last weekend. We spoke to many middle and high school teachers and were pleased with the excitement We Belong in History is generating. Keep a look out for us at the national eventwe can’t wait to share this project with you. 

My best,

M.A. Berliner

October 3, 2013

We’ll see you at Wordstock!

Greetings, readers:

This week at Ooligan Press, we are preparing our staff for the upcoming marketing blitz for We Belong in History. Teachers, students, lovers of good poetry, and William Stafford aficionados of all ages are already knocking at our door to reserve their copy.

I assigned work roles to my team during our first executive meeting this term. I am overjoyed to begin working with a new crop of outstanding individuals. With this talented team,We Belong in History is sure to be a success.

Since my last update, my team and I have been preparing the interior design for submission to our editing team. While this group reviews the final product, we will be sending out requests for galleys to our publishing partners. Soon, we will be mailing our review letters and galleys to media outlets.

Keep a lookout for our press’s table at the Oregon Council for Teachers of English (OCTE) this Saturday, October 5. Our director, Per Henningsgaard, will be there and ready to answer any questions you may have. We will also be at Wordstock that same Saturday and Sunday (October 5 and 6). There will be several students in attendance at both events, so make sure to stop by and hear all about what we’ve got in store for our forthcoming books.

My best,

M.A. Berliner

September 24, 2013

This October, We’re All Business

Greetings, readers:

For all of you students and educators out there, allow me to be the first to welcome you to a new school year!

We are in the process of finalizing the interior design of We Belong in History, after which we will submit the project to our Editing team for a final proofread. From there, we’ll be eagerly awaiting the arrival of our galleys. We Belong in History has also entered its XML type-coding phase for our e-book offering.

In marketing news, we are receiving an outpouring of support from contributors who wish to help our marketing efforts. Thank you all for your advocacy, everyone! We are currently reviewing our collateral proposals, as well as priming our staff for the William Stafford Centennial Celebrations scheduled to take place throughout the state. Soon, we will begin contacting representatives of organizations throughout Oregon to spread the news of We Belong in History’s eminent arrival. It is our goal to send the finished book package to our printer by Thanksgiving, with We Belong in History scheduled for publication on January 1, 2014.

October is a month full of exciting events for Ooligan Press. The annual conference for The Oregon Council for Teachers of English (OCTE) takes place on Saturday, October 5. Our director will be there to represent us, so be sure to stop by our table if you’re attending the event. And who can forget about Wordstock that same Saturday and Sunday (October 5 and 6)? We’ll have several students at our booth throughout the day, plus tons of great promotional materials and books for you to check out. We’d love to chat with you about Ooligan, our forthcoming books, and all things literary, so don’t forget to drop by and say hello.

My best,

M.A. Berliner  

September 16, 2013

Poetry in Motion

Wow, summer break is almost over, and the Ooligan staff is gearing up for the coming school year.

First, I would like to thank Adam Salazar and the rest of the Design department for their excellent strides toward completing the interior design of We Belong in History over the last three months. Adam has done an excellent job making each poem really jump off the page. 

Once the interior has been finalized and approved by our publisher, Abbey, the newly designed manuscript will be sent to our Editing department for another round of proofing.  Following this step, we will be ready to print our galleys.

In addition to these progressions, I look forward to working with the Marketing department to begin executing the wonderful collateral ideas they have come up with, as well as priming our staff for the William Stafford Centennial Celebrations scheduled to take place throughout the state. 

Before I sign out on this post, I would like to welcome all of the new students who will be joining our program and this project in the fall. I know you will have as much fun as I’ve had working with the teachers and students behind We Belong in History.

Thanks for reading!

My best,

M.A. Berliner 

August 9, 2013

Making Strides Toward a Finished Product

Whew! Ooligan Press has been busy over the last few weeks—hence the slight delay in this post. The bad news: this summer just keeps flying by! The good news: the excitement for We Belong in History is palpable. Here’s a brief recap of the major events that have taken place over the month of July for this anthology of William Stafford-inspired student poetry and prose:

  • We’ve completed our pre-sales conference with Ingram Publisher Services. 
  • Our finalized cover, designed by the brilliant Lorna Nakell, has been unveiled here and on the Start-to-Finish homepage for the viewing pleasure of our dutiful followers. 
  • Our sales packets have been assembled and shipped to our representatives at Ingram. 
  • Some wonderful blurbs for the book are beginning to filter into our office. Tim Barnes, editor of Friends of William Stafford: A Newsletter for Poets & Poetry; Jeremy Downes, chair of the Department of English at Auburn University; the president for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies; and Kim Stafford, author of Early Morning: Remembering My Father, William Stafford, have all given us magnificent feedback for We Belong in History.

Our eyes have now turned to the year ahead of us as we begin planning for William Stafford’s centennial celebration. I am honored to announce that We Belong in History will be promoted at Oregon Reads 2014. We cannot wait.

Stay tuned for my next post on September 16.

My best,

M.A. Berliner 

June 24, 2013

History in the Making: The Passing of the Project Manager Torch

We are at the beginning of summer term here at PSU, and many opportunities are unfolding for the next year. We Belong in History’s previous managers, Rachel Pass and Becky Stevens, have left us with a student anthology well on its way to fruition, and we will miss their guidance. However, every season has its end, and with one end comes a new beginning. This is my first week as project manager and my first post on Start to Finish. I am excited to lead this production into its final stages.

At present, we have our ISBN number assigned, developmental edits completed, copyedits finished, and we have also selected a cover. Soon we will turn our focus onto marketing/sales materials and the interior design. We have quite a busy summer ahead of us here at Ooligan Press, but we are ready to get to work. Be sure to check back on August 1st for a preview of the finalized front cover of We Belong in History and an interview with the book’s cover designer, Lorna Nakell.

My best,


June 9, 2013

A Fond Farewell

We’re finishing up the last week of classes here at PSU and a lot of things are coming to a close. This will be my last week as project manager and my last post here (for this project at least!). In a way, I’m sad to pass this project on, but I’m looking forward to seeing it reach completion in a new pair of even more capable hands.

At this point, the manuscript has been organized and is being sent off to our editing department for a look-over. We’ve also sent out a request to the press for an interior designer to handle the inside formatting of our unique book (which will include poems, essays, and lesson plans). Soon we’ll start to focus more heavily on marketing as we move closer and closer to the book’s launch (which I, for one, am already eagerly anticipating).

It’s been a pleasure to work on this project and I cannot wait to see where it ends up!



June 1, 2013

Finalizing the Manuscript

We Belong in History: Writing with William Stafford is making great strides—we are so grateful to all of the students who submitted to the contest. We’ve notified all of our finalists that their work will be published, and we hope that all students who entered realize how wonderful their writing is!

Now that we have all of the poems in hand, our judging panel is arranging them into the order in which they will appear in print. Oregon Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen is putting the final touches on her introduction for the book, and then we’ll have the incredible privilege of adding her words to the mix.

While we won’t be going to press until September, it will be a busy summer for We Belong in History at Ooligan. Designers will execute the interior design of the book, Lorna Nakell will finish up her design for the cover, and the marketing department will ready all the materials to help launch the book into the world next January.

We couldn’t be more excited to enter into this planning phase within the press, as we continue to work with various community and arts organizations across the state to prepare for the yearlong centennial celebration of Stafford’s birthday.


May 26, 2013

Speeding Up

Things are really starting to move forward this week as we begin to finalize what the finished manuscript will look like. We’ve received material for our introduction, narrowed down the poems we will be using, and decided on a basic outline for all the interior pieces (including student work, William Stafford poems, and teaching material). We will be mailing out official award letters to our student writers this week.

Another bit of exciting news—we have a cover! As I wrote in my last post, all were great designs, but I’m especially happy with the one that was chosen. Even more importantly, now we can move ahead with interior design to bring all of the pieces into a cohesive whole. I know I’ve said it before, and will undoubtedly say it again, but I am so excited to share this book with you all.

We only have a few weeks left of the quarter and a lot to accomplish (both on and off the project). Here’s to a strong finish!



May 17, 2013

Exciting News

First and foremost, it’s been awesome to read through all the submissions we received—there is a lot of wonderful work in there that I can’t wait to share with the world. But before that, of course, some other details need to be taken care of. Rachel and I met with Ooligan’s design team this week to view options for the cover. We’ve selected three that will go to a press-wide vote on Monday (and, personally, I would be thrilled with any of them—our designers did a great job). Seeing the covers has made me extra impatient for the real live book.

We’ve also been working on the interior of the book, the grouping of the poems and overall concept. This has always been and continues to be a unique project that requires adjustment and reshaping as we move forward toward a finished whole. While this is sometimes challenging, it’s always rewarding and I’m confident the result will be even better than we originally imagined.

Things are moving quickly now so keep checking back for the latest updates!



May 11, 2013

Next Steps

We’ve got big news: our submissions are in! The internal judging panel—made up of editors, educators, and project managers—is now sifting through them, and publication selections will be made soon. We’ll be sending out letters to all of our student submitters within the next two weeks—teachers, be on the lookout!

Once our selections are finalized, we’ll begin pairing up these student poems with the Stafford poems that inspired them, and working to establish potential organizational structures for the manuscript as a whole. We’re excited to see how these separate poems will come together to tell the stories of students across the state who have drawn inspiration for their own work by writing with William Stafford.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned!


May 3, 2013


I can’t believe it’s already May…anyone else feeling like that lately?

As you probably know by now, we’ve reached the deadline for We Belong in History submissions. However, we’re still waiting to make sure we’ve received everything postmarked by the due date. We’d be thrilled to have a huge pile waiting for us next week!

In the meantime, we’ve been finalizing some details regarding our judging panel and getting everything ready to go as we enter into the next phase of the project. We’re getting closer to having a cover design and are starting to shift our attention to interior design and the layout of the actual book.

Stay tuned!



April 28, 2013

Going Once, Going Twice

Things have been busy for the William Stafford Project over the past week. The Design department is still hard at work refining ideas for the cover design of We Belong in History, the anthology that will house winning submissions from the William Stafford Writing Contest. Our internal marketing plan has also been finalized, and offers plenty of great ideas for making community connections through literature, utilizing both in-person and media-based gatherings.

We don’t want anyone to miss out on the fun at the William Stafford Birthday celebrations next year, so please remember there are still two days left to mail in your student submissions. We have a team of judges ready to go, including veteran teachers, acquisitions experts, and poetry aficionados, assembled to read each poem and essay carefully. They are excited to dig in, so don’t forget to package your electronic submissions and your hand-signed permission forms and slip them into the mail by Tuesday, April 30.

If you have questions or concerns, as always, please feel free to e-mail us at wsproject@ooliganpress.pdx.edu, or refer to the contest packet and lesson plans here. We look forward to hearing from you soon,


April 19, 2013

Small Updates

I don’t have much to update this week—but that doesn’t mean things haven’t been happening. The marketing plan and tip sheet for We Belong in History are complete, and the Design department has started work on the cover. And (most importantly!) Oregon’s students are hard at work creating amazing content for us to show off.

Again, there’s still time to submit! We would like to see as many submissions as possible, so send them our way through the end of this month (information on how to submit can be found in the previous two posts). We can’t do this without you!



April 12, 2013

The First Submissions

Today is a good day. It’s the day we have been waiting an entire year forthe day the first submissions of student writing have made it to our mailbox. These aren’t just any poems; they’re poems full of invention and heart, and they showcase the best of each student’s skills.

Now, we just need some more student poems and essays to befriend them so that we can go about setting up a full-fledged book. We’ll keep you updated on our progress as always, and we invite you to keep sending in your submissions to us at:

William Stafford Writing Project
Ooligan Press
369 Neuberger Hall
724 SW Harrison Street

Portland, Oregon 97201

Please remember, April 30 is the contest deadline. There are only eighteen more days to send in student work, but you’d better believe we’re looking forward to opening the mailbox on each and every one of them.

Thanks for reading,


April 5, 2013

Happy National Poetry Month, Everyone!

A new month and a new term have begun, and we expect this to be a particularly exciting time for the William Stafford Project. I just finished sending out an email to our giant contact list of teachers, librarians, and administrators from all over the state (close to 800 of them!), reminding them about the contest and its upcoming deadline (we’ll accept submissions through the end of April). I can’t wait to see all the great work that Oregon’s students have in store for us!

If you haven’t already, check out the contest details on the William Stafford page, where you can print out lesson plans, download our contest flyer, or subscribe to our mailing list. And, of course, send in your submissions to:

William Stafford Writing Project
Ooligan Press
369 Neuberger Hall
724 SW Harrison Street

Portland, Oregon 97201

We hope you’ll join us in celebrating this month of poetry as well as the talent of our young Oregon writers!



March 24, 2013

Pause for Reflection

And just like that, we’ve reached the end of winter term here at PSU. I imagine I’m not the only one who feels like time is flying by, especially with the convergence of final papers, projects, and exams in the last week. I’m looking forward to spring break as a nice moment to pause and take a breath.

While I may be pausing for a few days, We Belong in History is moving steadily forward. As Rachel mentioned last week, we’re heading into the design phase of the project. While it’s still a few months off, I’m already excited to see the cover designs! We’re also getting ready for (hopefully) a flood of submissions as April, National Poetry Month, comes upon us. We’ll be meeting with our judging panel soon to get them prepared, and are eagerly anticipating the work we’ll receive from Oregon’s fabulous students.

It’s been a great term, and I’m looking forward to what happens next. Happy spring, everyone!



March 15, 2013

A Book’s Cover

It’s official: We Belong in History is moving into the design department at Ooligan next week. This is an exciting time for us because, while the old adage says not to judge a book by its cover, we certainly want our book cover to be appealing.

We want it to get across the ideas of community, of nature, of family that will be embedded in the text. We want it to echo equally the poetry and prose of William Stafford, the teachers’ plans that are making this book a reality, and—most especially—to honor the words of this newest generation of student writers.

This, we realize, is a task. It will be interesting over the next two months to see how this cover design process unfolds. We’ll keep you updated as we meet with the design managers to narrow down the cover mock-up ideas and, finally, to pick the cover for our book during a press-wide vote in May.

Three cheers for art!


March 8, 2013

A Village

Last time I wrote, I talked a bit about the judging that will take place as part of the writing competition. Well, this week, I have some good news! A great group of volunteers from within the press has stepped up to serve as our judging panel. Rachel and I both are very excited to work with these fabulous people (and extremely grateful for their time and help). That’s the thing about Ooligan—when something needs to get done, it usually requires a combined effort and people willing to donate some time to projects outside of their own area of concentration. It takes a village, right? I, for one, am thankful for this particular village and its contribution to making the William Stafford Project a success.

We’ll be meeting with our volunteers next term to go over details, such as what we’re looking for in winning submissions, and then judging will commence mid-May. It’ll be here sooner than you (and we) think!



March 1, 2013

The Countdown Begins

Remember when you were in grade school and got to make long, colorful, paper chains to represent the number of days toward summer vacation? Remember how much fun it was to rip them off, day by day, and see summer approaching?

That’s how we’re feeling right now as we mark off calendar days toward our student submission deadline. We’re down to 60 days left, and we can’t wait to see what Oregon’s teachers and student writers have in store for us. Start sending those packets our way!

For more details, please check out or contest flyer, our pdf contest packet, and word versions of our lesson plans on the William Stafford Project site.

We’re looking forward to hearing from you!


February 22, 2013

Moving Along

Though we are currently experiencing a bit of a lull (which will be more than offset by the craziness sure to ensue in the coming months), we are moving forward in a couple of ways as we prepare for that craziness (and, ultimately, amazingly, a book!).

Most of the content for We Belong in History will come from a statewide writing competition for 7th12th graders. And a competition just isn’t a competition without judges. This week and next, I’m working to contact people both inside and outside the press who might be interested in contributing their talents and critical eye to selecting the best of the student work we receive. We hope to find judges with an appreciation and excitement for both Stafford’s poetry and the poetry of student writers.

We are also beginning work on the book’s design. While we are in the very early stages of this process, we have submitted a design brief to Ooligan’s design department outlining ideas and suggestions about themes and visual elements we’d like to see represented in the book’s design (as well as practical considerations such as the size of the printed book). Many of these ideas came out of a press-wide brainstorm held early on in the project. This was a great way to get input from a variety of people on what struck them as significant in Stafford’s work, as well as how to best represent that in conjunction with our student contributors. I’m sure we’ll have some exciting updates as the design process gets underway.

Here’s to another week closer to a fantastic book!



February 15, 2013

Tip Sheet Love

To those outside of publishing, a tip sheet might not sound like an exciting thing. But to a book project manager who is waiting to see her pet project in print, a tip sheet is something to love. It’s almost like an ultrasound image of an unborn baby; you can look at it and count your soon-to-be-born book’s pages, ooh and aah over its BISAC categories, and make sure its hook and pitch are developing fully. You can even see its pub date and count the days until you can hold it in your arms and caress its matte cover.

Okay, tip sheets might not make you that emotional. But they are useful for storing all of the pertinent information about a book project. These snapshots are used both internally, to help departments keep track of different press projects, and externally to help sell books by giving booksellers a sneak peek into the pages before they ever hit the printing press.

This week, Becky, Laura, and I are excited to say that we have worked with Ooligan’s marketing and editing departments to finalize the tip sheet for We Belong in History. With this milestone behind us, the idea of seeing students’ poetry and essays in print next to William Stafford’s works feels like a definite reality. I can’t wait!

Thanks for reading,


February 8, 2013

Getting the Word Out, Part II

The publishing timeline for We Belong in History makes it somewhat of an unusual book. Because most of its content will come out of a writing competition that
is currently underway, the majority of that content has yet to arrive. But as we advertise the contest, we are essentially already marketing the book, even though this step usually occurs near the end of the
publishing process. We like to keep things exciting around here.

In addition to the paper writing that midterm week traditionally involves, I have been at work getting our press release out to several local media outlets so that some of them might pick up our story. Mostly, this has involved a lot of digging for contact info and finger-crossing that we’ll hear back. Here’s hoping!

We’ve also contacted a number of local literary organizations, and are well on our way to having a completed tip sheet and marketing plan. Every day we get closer to holding a real, physical book in our hands, and that’s exciting for sure. Keep those submissions coming!



February 1, 2013

Listening to Poetry

“My father could hear a little animal step,

or a moth in the dark against the screen,

and every far sound called the listening out

into places where the rest of us had never been.”

–William Stafford, “Listening”

Over this past month of William Stafford readings and celebrations, I was reminded of how wonderful it is to listen to poetry being read aloud. Written words should be shared; they have the power to transform us, to take us to places we’ve never been, and into the lives of strangers that somehow still seem familiar.

The William Stafford Archives is a wonderful place to go if you want to listen to some excellent poetry. With 118 poems included in the archives, and many of them available in audio files (see the link for “Listening” above), a quick browsing session can give you a lot of wonderful words to share.

We hope your trip to the archives might inspire you, or a student you know, to check out our contest page and learn more about the William Stafford Writing Contest.

Thanks for reading,


January 25, 2013

Getting the Word Out

This week we have a lot of people to thank. We want to thank the Friends of William Stafford members who welcomed Ooligan Press at their Stafford Celebration events to commemorate William Stafford’s life and work. We want to thank the Ooligan Press members who have passed along our writing contest flyers to their former teachers, children’s teachers, and to the community-based literary organizations to which they belong.

Most of all, we want to thank the wonderful teachers across the state who have already emailed us at wsproject@ooliganpress.pdx.edu to share their excitement about the contest and to let us know that their students will be participating. We can’t wait to start reading student work, so please check out contest details under the “Lesson Plans” button on our website, and send submissions our way at the following address:

William Stafford Writing Project
Ooligan Press
369 Neuberger Hall
724 SW Harrison Street

Portland, Oregon 97201

If you have questions about the contest, please email us at the email address above. We also encourage you to pass along this William Stafford Writing Contest flyer to all of the young writers, and their teachers, in your life.

Thanks for reading,


January 18, 2013

Take One

If someone had told me last quarter (my first as a graduate student and working at Ooligan press) that in a few short weeks I’d be project-managing a book, I would have laughed (nervously). All trepidation aside, though, I am thrilled to take on this project. As someone with an appreciation for poetry and an interest in teaching, the William Stafford project is in many ways a perfect fit for me.

I’ve entered the project at an exciting time; we’re currently promoting the writing contest, finding a panel of judges, and receiving actual submissions (and have somewhat missed out on the legwork of contacting a slew of teachers, libraries, and other organizations—something for which I’m both extremely grateful and indebted to my co-managers and everyone else at the press). I’m eager to get involved in promoting what I believe is a great way to get students to interact with and get excited about poetry, both by reading it and writing their own. I also feel honored to be a part of creating a tangible celebration of William Stafford’s legacy.

While I still feel very new to all of this, I’m looking forward to jumping in and learning (and learning and learning…).



January 11, 2013

William Stafford Birthday Celebration Schedule

As promised, I am writing to share an extensive list of William Stafford Birthday Celebration events. I want to thank Soapstone for sending this list to us!
I’ll be attending tomorrow’s reading at the West Linn Public Library to share one of my favorite poems by William Stafford, “Representing Far Places,” as my birthday gift. It is always an honor to participate in this reading, and so much fun to hear all of the stories and poems other participants share.

Please join me there, or attend one of these many events throughout the month to help commemorate this amazing man and his life’s work.

With cheer,



The public is invited to these free events.

Different from most poetry readings, the “parties” usually feature four or five local poets, each of whom read a Stafford poem and one of their own written in the spirit of Stafford’s writing. Some of the events also include speakers who address topics related to Stafford and his work, short films, or Stafford poetry-related musical or artistic pieces. After the featured participants’ presentations, the guests, members of the audience, are then invited to read a favorite Stafford poem or to tell a personal anecdote about the late Oregon poet laureate.

Portland Metro Area Readings 

Saturday, January 12th
2-4 pm, Milwaukie Ledding Library, Pond House, 2215 SE Harrison (adjacent to the Ledding Library), Milwaukie. Hosted by Greg Chaimov and Tom Hogan. Featuring Gail Barker, Mary Dettmann, David Filer, Brett Kelver, Susanna Lundgren, Ron Rasch, Ron Talney, Jamie Wilks, and FWS Board Member Paulann Petersen. Refreshments will be served.
2-4 pm, West Linn Library, 1595 Burns, West Linn. Hosted by David Hedges. Featuring Tiel Aisha Ansari, Linda Appel, Jean Bennett, Rachel Pass, Scottie Sterrett, Marilyn Torsen, Virginia Euwer Wolff, and FWS Board Member Nancy Winklesky.

4 pm, Cover to Cover Books, 6300 NE St. James Road, Suite 104B, Vancouver, WA. Hosted by Christopher Luna. Featuring FWS Board Member Tim Barnes.

4:30 – 5:30 pm, Kairos-Milwaukie UCC, 4790 SE Logus Road, Milwaukie, hosted by Portland Fellowship of Reconciliation and Kairos-Milwaukie UCC, William Stafford in Song and Dance: A Work in Progress, presented by Carolyn McDade, composer of Spirit of Life (Massachusetts) and the Portland-based Deep the Love Sacred Circle.

Sunday, January 13th
11:45 am to 1:45 pm, Kairos-Milwaukie UCC, 4790 SE Logus Road, Milwaukie. Co-hosted by Oregon Fellowship of Reconciliation, Kairos-Milwaukie UCC, and Betty and Bob Balmer. Featuring Carolyn McDade (Massachusetts), Dawn Waring (Canada), Paige Polcene (California), Joanie McClellan (Portland), Rick Skidmore (Portland) and FWS Board Member Emerita Sue Einowski. Encore showing of “Every War Has Two Losers.” A Birthday Celebration of food and beverages precede the screening in the Kairos Milwaukie Circle Room. The film will be shown in the Sanctuary at 12:30 PM. Invited Special Guest: Dorothy Stafford. There will be a brief discussion following the film and open-microphone poetry reading of your favorite poems. Kairos Community Forums & Occasional Speaker Series encourage the exploration of topics related to the pursuit of justice and peace, as well as a wide array of issues that promote greater understanding of diversity and difference of opinions.
7-9 pm, Stonehenge Studios, 3508 SW Corbett Ave., Portland. Hosted by FWS Board Member Leah Stenson. Featuring cellist and composer Daniel Sperry who will recite Stafford poems accompanied by original cello compositions. An open mic will follow. Attendees are encouraged to bring a Stafford poem or share an anecdote about the poet during the open mic.

2 pm, Hillsboro Main Library, 2850 NE Brookwood Parkway, Hillsboro. Hosted by Mark Thalman. Featuring Tim Applegate, FWS Board Member Barbara Drake, Lars Nordstrom, Susan Munger, Liz Nakazawa, Mary Jane Nordgren, Darlene Pagan, Penelope Scambly Schott, Joe Schrader, Mary Slocum, and Joseph Soldati. Featured poets will be reading the poems in order from Stafford’s award winning bookTraveling Through the Dark.

Tuesday, January 15th
7-9 pm, In Other Words Feminist Community Center, 14 N Killingsworth, Portland. Part of the Figures of Speech Reading Series. Hosted by Constance Hall and Steve Williams. Featuring Leanne Grabel, Steve Sanders, and FWS Board Member Leah Stenson. Bring poems inspired/in tribute/or in the style of Wm. Stafford for our open mic. (1 poem or 2 pages max please.). This event will include poetry prompts, & cookies.

7 pm, Lake Oswego Library, 706 4th St., Lake Oswego. Hosted by FWS Board Member Bill Howe. A celebration of William Stafford’s birthday, his legacy, and of the vibrancy of the arts in Oregon, featuring readings by his gifted widow Dorothy Stafford, daughter Barbara Stafford-Wilson, friend and Oregon’s current Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen, and his archivist Paul Merchant.

Wednesday, January 16
7 pm, Miracle Theater/El Centro Milagro, 525 SE Stark St., Portland. The third William Stafford Birthday Reading sponsored by Los Portenos, Portland’s Latino writers’ group. Hosted by Cindy Williams Gutiérrez. Featuring Frank Delgado, Catherine Evleshin, Joann Farías, Joaquín López, Octaviano Merecías-Cuevas, Emma Oliver, Olga Sanchez, Juan Antonio Trujillo, and FWS Board Member Susan Reese. In their 3rd annual Stafford Birthday Reading, members of Los Porteños will read their original poetry and prose written in response to a William Stafford poem. Audience members are invited to bring a favorite Stafford poem to share.

Wednesday, January 16th
6-8 pm, Literary Arts Room, Roger Rook Hall, RR220, Clackamas Community College, 19600 S. Molalla Ave., Oregon City. Hosted by Elisabeth Miles and Trista Cornelius, Third Monday Authors’ Evening Group, and CCC. Featuring Carl Clapp, Ryan Davis, Kate Gray, Rose Lefebvre, Sue Mach, Jeff McAlpine, and FWS Board Member Nancy Winklesky. Refreshments will be served. Open Mic: People will share one or two poems by William Stafford, and, if they want, a poem of their own in the tradition of William Stafford, or an anecdote or remembrance about him.

6-8 pm, Community Room, Cascade Park Community Library, 600 NE 136th Ave., Vancouver, WA . Hosted by Christi Krug. Featuring David Benedicktus, Tom Kinzie, Jenney Pauer, and Joanna Rose.

Thursday, January 17th
7 pm, Oregon City Library, 606 John Adams Street, Oregon City. Hosted by Christine Delea. Featuring Lyssa Tall Anolik, Karen Braucher, Cindy Williams Gutiérrez, Diane Holland, David Rutiezer, Laura Weeks, and FWS Board Member Nancy Winklesky.

7 pm, Broadway Books, 1714 NE Broadway, Portland. Hosted by Joanna Rose. Featuring Stevan Allred, Margaret Chula, Donna Prinzmetal, Suzanne Sigafoos and FWS Board Member Don Colburn.
Sunday, January 20th
2-4 pm, Blackfish Gallery, 420 NW 9th, Portland. Hosted by Robin Bagai and Willa Schneberg. Featuring Francis Payne Adler, Constance Hall “M,” Philip Kenney, Emily Pittman Newberry, Mark Owens, and FWS Board Member Emerita Sue Einowski.

Sunday, January 20th
6:30 pm, Moonstruck Chocolate Café, 45 S. State Street, Lake Oswego. Brian Doyle and David Hedges read their poetry from the anthology Home Address in honor of William Stafford. Hosted by Joan Maiers. Featuring FWS Board Member Patricia Carver. Bring a Stafford story or poem written by William Stafford to share.

Tuesday, January 22nd
7-9 pm, Eliot Chapel, First Unitarian Church, 1011 SW 12th
Avenue (corner of 12th and Salmon), Portland. Hosted by FWS Board Member Tim Barnes. Featuring Deborah Buchanan, Leanne Grabel, Michael McGriff, Paul Merchant, Karen Reyes, and Steve Sander. Scheduled readers will offer a reading, a way of understanding more richly, the Stafford poem they have selected and/or offer some thoughts on his work and their relationship to it. An open mic will follow in which readers are encouraged to share a Stafford poem meaningful to them and perhaps say a few words about why this is so. The dynamic duo of Sander and Grabel will also perform some Stafford poems on vocals and keyboard.

Wednesday, January 23rd
7 pm, Annie Bloom’s Books, 7834 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland. Hosted by FWS Board Member Susan McKee Reese. Featuring Barbara Drake, Valentine Freeman, Lisa Galloway, Tom Hogan, and Anmarie Trimble. Please come to a celebration of what would have been the 99th birthday of William Stafford and bring a favorite William Stafford poem to share.

Thursday, January 24th
7:30-8:30 pm. University of Portland, Buckley Center 163, University of Portland, 5000 N. Willamette Blvd., Portland. Hosted by Herman Asarnow. Featuring Judith Arcana, Eren Ergenbright, Sara Guest, Erik Larson, Kirsten Rian, and FWS Board Member Bill Howe.

7 pm, Smith, (333 SMC), Portland State University, 1825 SW Broadway, Portland. Hosted by FWS Board Member Emeritus Shelley Reece. Featuring FWS Board Member Don Colburn.

Saturday, January 26th
3 pm, Holy Names Heritage Center, 17425 Holy Names Drive, Lake Oswego. (Take the Mary’s Woods exit off Hwy 43 and head one block east.) Hosted by Joan Maiers. Featuring FWS Board Member Patricia Carver. Bring a Stafford story or poem written by William Stafford to share.

Sunday, January 27th
2 pm, Multnomah Central Library, US Bank Room, 801 SW 10th Ave., Portland. Hosted by FWS Emeritus Board Member Joseph Soldati. Featuring Greta Blalock, A. Molotkov, Penelope Scambly Schott, Scot Siegel, Laura D. Weeks, Wendy Willis, and FWS Board Member Jim Scheppke.

2-4 pm, Tigard Public Library, 13500 SW Hall Blvd., Tigard. Hosted by FWS Board Member Tim Barnes. Featuring Judith Barrington, Sue Einowski, Tim Gillespie, George Staley, and Primus St. John. Scheduled readers will offer a reading, a way of understanding more richly, the Stafford poem they have selected and/or offer some thoughts on his work and their relationship to it. An open mic will follow in which readers are encouraged to share a Stafford poem meaningful to them and perhaps say a few words about why this is so.

Tuesday, January 29th
7-8:30 pm, Barnes & Noble, 7700 NE Fourth Plain Boulevard, Vancouver, WA. Hosted by Shawn Sorensen. Featuring Ken Arnold, Kirsten Rian and FWS Board Member Don Colburn. Come celebrate William Stafford with a round table discussion, author readings, open mic and the largest selection of poetry titles in town. Come on up or by for a poetry event in the thriving and growing Vancouver art/literary scene.

6:30-7:45, Kenton Public Library, 8226 North Denver Ave, Portland. Hosted by Tom and Margot Lavoie. Featuring Herman Asarnow and FWS Board Member Tim Barnes. Come to one of the last Stafford celebrations of the month and hear Herman Asarnow read. Share a favorite Stafford poem and then read at the open mic to end the night and bring down the curtain on this year’s events.

Non-Metro Area Readings

Saturday, January 12th
3 pm, Waldport Community Center, 265 Hemlock St., Waldport, Oregon. Hosted by Drew Myron and friends of the Waldport Public Library. Join the worldwide birthday celebration honoring the life and work of the late William Stafford, Oregon’s most famous poet. Oregon Coast writers will read a Stafford poem, as well as their own. Audience members are invited to share a favorite Stafford poem.

2 pm (Mountain Time), Ontario Community Library, 388 SW 2nd Avenue, Ontario,Oregon. Host: Phillip Mahaffey, English Department, Treasure Valley Community College.
Sunday, January 13th
2 to 4 pm, Columbia Center for the Arts, Hood River, Oregon. Hosted by Barbara Young, sponsored by CCA. Both Stafford and Stafford-inspired personal poems will be read with time for audience members to read, as well.

2 pm, Wy’east Book Shoppe & Art Gallery at the Rendezvous Center, 67149 E. Highway 26, Welches, Oregon. Hosted by Lindy Delf and Tony Wolk. Featuring: poet Ed Edmo, singer/songwriter Suzan Lundy, and FWS Emeritus Board Member Sharon Wood Wortman.

Monday, January 14th
6 pm, Room 136, Blue Mountain Community College, 980 SE Columbia Drive, Hermiston, Oregon. Hosted by Pam Steele.

Tuesday, January 15th
7-8:30 pm, Newport Public Library, 35 NW Nye Street, Newport, Oregon. Co-sponsored by Willamette Writers Coast Chapter. Hosted by Dorothy Mack. Featuring Linnea Harper and Dan Stein. Attendees are encouraged to bring their favorite Stafford poems to share.
5:30 pm, Fishtrap House, (Coffin House), 400 E. Grant St., Enterprise, Oregon. Featuring Cameron Scott and FWS Board Member Rich Wandschneider. An evening potluck and reading to kick off our wintertime writer-in-residence program and celebrate William Stafford’s birthday. Please bring a dish to share for the potluck at 5:30, the reading will begin around 6:30.

6:30-7:30 pm, Driftwood Public Library, 801 SW Hwy 101, Lincoln City, Oregon. Co-hosted by John Fiedler and Ron Sears. A reading of Stafford poems by audience members and by featured readers, who will also share brief original poems in the spirit of William Stafford.

Wednesday, January 16th
7 pm, Austin Reading Room, Nicholson Library, Linfield College, 900 SE Baker Ave, McMinnville, Oregon. Hosted by Lex Runciman and FWS Board Member Barbara Drake. Featuring a mix of students and local people reading. Public participation warmly invited. Bring a Stafford poem, prose passage, or anecdote, and a poem of your own to share if you wish.

Thursday, January 17th
7 pm, Hannon Library, Meese Meeting Room 309, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Southern Oregon University, Ashland, Oregon. The public is invited to attend this free event honoring the late Oregon Poet Laureate. Hosted by Friends of Hannon Library and Friends of William Stafford. Composer Todd Barton will open this celebration by performing his piece composed for the Cavani String Quartet in 1996 to accompany a quartet of William Stafford poems. Poet Linda Barnes will read the four poems. Todd Barton, Oregon Shakespeare Festival Resident Composer for forty-three years and Director of Composition Studies at Southern Oregon University, is the composer of over 250 scores for theater productions and over one hundred commissioned concert works. Among his film and video scores are William Stafford: The Life of the Poem andLawson Fusao Inada: What It Means to Be Free. Other featured poets for the event include Jeannette Cappella, Bruce Barton, Richard Lehnert, Liz Robinson, and Jay Schroeder. Audience members are invited to bring a favorite William Stafford poem to read.

6 pm, Klamath County Main Branch Library, 126 S. 3rd St., Klamath Falls, Oregon. Hosted by Klamath County Library.

6:30-9:00 pm, The Bakery (previously The Rock Wall Studio), an art exhibit and performance studio—the studio is up a flight of stairs, 255 North Broadway, Burns, Oregon. Hosted by Sue Kovar, owner of The Bakery. Featuring Harney Basin Writers group members Peg Wallis, Lorna Cagle, Debra Raymond, Susan Kovar, Kate Marsh, and Marjorie Thelen. The public is invited to attend this free event, and refreshments will be served. The upstairs studio is above The Children’s Barn, and is the site of frequent Coyote Cinema showings and other artistic events. Several writers will read a poem by the late Oregon Poet Laureate followed by one of their own poems written in the spirit of Stafford’s work. Members of the audience are invited to read one of their favorite Stafford poems.

3:20-5 pm, and 7 pm, Longview Public Library, 1600 Maple, Longview, Washington, 98632. Hosted by Northwest Voices (Lower Columbia College & Longview Public Library). Featuring Alice Derry presenting a workshop at Lower Columbia College from 3:30-5 pm, followed by a public reading at the Longview Public Library at 7 pm as the keynote speaker for the annual William Stafford Birthday Celebration. Cake and punch are provided by the library for guests, and there will be an “open-mic” time for Stafford fans and budding poets alike to share Stafford poetry or their own work.

Sunday, January 20th
2 pm, Anderson Room A, Salem Public Library, 585 Liberty St SE, Salem, Oregon. Hosted by Janet Markee. Featuring Alice Derry, Marilyn Johnston, and FWS Board Member Jim Scheppke. The program will open with HOW THE INK FEELS, then the readings, and then audience participation of sharing favorite Stafford poems.

Friday, January 25th
7 pm, Trude’ S. Pozzi Education Center, Sunriver Nature Center & Observatory, 57245 River Road, Sunriver, Oregon. Hosted by Sunriver Nature Center. Featuring Jim Anderson, Peter Lovering, andAlex Weiss. The program will include introductory comments about Stafford and his influence on American poetry, followed by invited readings of Stafford works and original poems by readers. Eighth grade students of from 3-Rivers School in Sunriver who have participated in a workshop on Stafford Poetry will be invited to share some of their own work or a favorite Stafford poem. Open readings by audience members will round out the program. There will be light refreshments provided.

Saturday, January 26th
1 pm, Corvallis-Benton County Library, 645 NW Monroe St., Corvallis, Oregon. Hosted by FWS Board Member Emerita Linda Gelbrich. The theme for this year’s celebration is “What is Poetry?” We will begin with the DVD of “The Life of the Poem,” followed by a short workshop led by Linda Varsell Smith, with time to write from the inspiration of Stafford’s video and his poems related to poetry. Featured readers will include Eleanor Berry and Be Davison Herrera. They will address the theme as well as read from Stafford’s work. Audience participants will be invited to read a favorite William Stafford poem as well as one of their own related to the theme.

4 pm, Tsunami Books, 2585 Willamette St., Eugene, Oregon. Hosted by Jerry Gatchell and FWS Board Member Martha Gatchell. Featuring John Daniel. Contact: Tsunami Books 541-345-8986.

7pm, Mt. Angel Abbey Library, Mt. Angel, Oregon. Silverton Poetry Association Stafford Celebration Event. Hosted by Efrain Horna Diaz. This year we will celebrate what William Stafford called “circling around our truth.” Everyone is invited to listen and to read the poetry of William Stafford. Those who knew Stafford are especially invited to share. Special attention will be given to the poet’s relationship with grief. A few of his poems will be read in other languages. Refreshments served.

Sunday, January 27th
1:30 pm, Molalla Public Library, 201 E. 5th St., Molalla, Oregon. Hosted by Larry Anderson and Kate Gray. Sponsored by the Molalla Writers Group. Featuring Larry Anderson, Brian Biggs, Maureen Cole, Kate Gray, Carol Hausholder, Steve Slemenda, and Esther Wood, who will read Stafford and Stafford-related poems followed by reader/audience discussion of his work, life, stories, anything else of pertinence. Guests are warmly invited to read their own work and/or related poems. Those not interested in reading poems may sit back and enjoy! The film, “Traveling in the Dark” will be shown, with a short discussion to follow.

Saturday, January 29th
1 pm, Columbia Room, 416 Sid Snyder Ave SW, Legislative Building, Olympia, Washington. Hosted by Alex Hays. Featuring Chris Bayley, Mark Lindquist, and Sam Reed. We will be celebrating the life of poet William Stafford. A basic outline of the events includes: a) Time to Mingle with other patrons of the arts b) Introduction — Alex Hays c) Featured Readers — Poems will be read by several local authors (they will be provided with some of Stafford’s poems, or they can choose their favorite Stafford poem to read) d) Conclusion — Alex Hays.


January 4, 2013

William Stafford Birthday Celebrations

William Stafford was born on January 17, 1914. He would have been 99 years old this year. Every January, people across the country celebrate William Stafford’s birth with poetry readings in his honor. Please click here for a Youtube video of a recent William Stafford birthday celebration at Linfield College, to see how some of these events are run.

These readings bring together professional poets, teachers, students, aspiring writers, and William Stafford fans to celebrate Stafford’s life and writing. Please check back for a link to the 2013 schedule of events, which we will post as soon as it is available. In the meantime, check out this article about a William Stafford celebration that featured Robin Scialabba (née Judd) and Erin Ocón, two of the talented teachers who have written the lesson plans in our contest packet!

Thanks for reading,



December 28, 2012

Winter Break?

Although Portland State University is closed for winter break, Ooligan Press is still up and running. We’re busy working on contacting local publications, educational centers, and libraries to let them know about the William Stafford Writing Contest.  If you would like to include an announcement about the contest in your publication, hang it up at your school or library, or post it on your webpage, please email us at wsproject@ooliganpress.pdx.edu.

Thanks for reading,


December 21, 2012

Commemorating William Stafford

Ooligan Press’ decision to publish a collection of student writing inspired by the works of William Stafford isn’t the only commemorative printing being planned for Stafford’s centennial birthday. The Friends of William Stafford have officially requested a William Stafford commemorative stamp from the United States Post Office. Take a look at their letter and consider writing your own if you’d like to see the stamp in print!

Thanks for reading,


December 14, 2012

First Submission Deadline

As we move on toward winter, we come close to our first student submission deadline for the William Stafford Writing Contest. For teachers who would like to hear back about their student’s submissions in February, submissions must be post-marked by January 3, 2013.

Please remember, however, that we will accept submissions on a rolling basis through April, 2013. We would love to read your students’ writing inspired by William Stafford’s works, so please check out our website for contest rules, lesson and unit plans, and the poems and essays students can use to spark their imaginations.

Thanks for reading,


December 7, 2012


My father didn’t belong in history.
He kept looking over his shoulder at some mistake.
He was a stranger to me, for I belong.

—William Stafford, “Parentage”

Last week, we decided on the title We Belong in History for the book of student writing that we will publish at the end of the William Stafford Writing contest. This line is adapted from Stafford’s poem, “Parentage,” which you can read an excerpt from above. It’s a beautiful piece, and a bit sad, but it tells a lot about the ways in which parents and their children relate to one another.

If you’d like to read the whole poem, hear it read aloud, or even check out Stafford’s original handwritten draft, please click here to visit the Parentage” page in the William Stafford Archives.

Thanks for reading,


November 30, 2012

Official Book Title Chosen!

One of the most exciting things about the William Stafford project is the freedom it allows us to collaborate as a press. This week was a great example of this kind of work. In order to put together a design brief (which will tell the design department what sorts of moods, ideas, colors, etc. we hope to see in the cover for the William Stafford Project book), we first had to come up with a title.

When choosing a title, we always begin with an open suggestion process. All students in the press are able to read details about the project—and, unless it’s an in-house project, the actual manuscript. Then, they post their ideas for titles publicly and explain their reasons for choosing them.  Everyone in the press looks these titles over, but it is the project managers’ job to winnow down the selection pool to a reasonable number of titles they think will work for the book, the target market, and the press as a whole.

The next step is to hold a press-wide meeting and discussion that ends with a title vote. Title votes at Ooligan are always a process—picture direct democracy in a room full of well-read and opinionated (though always polite) graduate students whose literary tastes diverge wildly. Though discussions sometimes get lively, people keep the needs of the book project first in mind and their own preferences second.

After going through this process this past week, we now have an official title for the collection of student writing inspired by William Stafford’s work that we will publish at the end of the writing contest. Hurray!

The title is an adaptation of a line from Stafford’s poem, “Parentage.” The book will be called, We Belong In History. It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Thanks for reading,


November 23, 2012


“Kierkegaard said, ‘Drink from your own well.’ And I like that, taking it to mean that each of us has an individual source for our best work, and that to reach deliberately elsewhere is to neglect something essential in our own writing.” —William Stafford, “Reaching into the Well,” Crossing Unmarked Snow

This is one of my favorite things William Stafford says about writing, and it’s one of the reasons I support this project so strongly. The idea behind this contest is that students will use Stafford’s writing as a springboard to launch themselves into their very own wells of experience and ideas, and that they will find inspiration there that will help them to put words down on the page.

Today, I urge you to look through your favorite William Stafford book to find a piece that might launch you into your own writing well.

Thanks for reading,


November 17, 2012

Rolling Along

Thanks to our dedicated fellow students at Ooligan who continue to gather contact information, we emailed another 300 teachers this week. We hope everyone is passing along the information to anyone interested—if you have any questions and would like to contact us directly, you can email us at wsproject@ooliganpress.pdx.edu.

Thank you everyone for your support,


November 9, 2012

A Quiet Week

It’s been a quiet week for the William Stafford Project. We’re waiting for submissions to come in, working on contacting new teachers and students across the state, and—the most exciting part of our week—our Design department managers, Poppy and Brandon, are starting to design flyers and handouts that will make our efforts to get the word out about the project both easier and more beautiful.

In the meantime, please spread the word to the teachers and students in your life!

Thanks for reading,


November 2, 2012

Getting the Word Out

This week, we’ve been concentrating on making connections with local groups who share a similar mission—to promote writing and William Stafford’s work—and who are willing to pass along the word about this project to students and teachers. Most recently, the Friends of William Stafford and the Young Willamette Writers have agreed to help get the word out. We couldn’t be happier to form partnerships with such wonderful organizations.

As Laura mentioned last week, we’re also in the beginning stages of putting together an executive judging committee that will have the final say on what pieces make it into the book next winter. This will be an ongoing project, and we’ll let you know who is on the board just as soon as we can!

Thanks for reading,


October 25, 2012

A Lot of Teachers Contacted!

Thanks to our great team of Ooligan members we have been able to get our teacher contact spreadsheet much more filled out. It has been quite a task. I emailed almost 300 teachers last week, yay! Our marketing and external promotions department are also stepping in to get the word out.

The next step for us is getting together a judging committee and picking a title and cover image. We just keep truckin along.


October 19, 2012

Making Plans

We’ve been busy behind the scenes of the William Stafford Project this week. We’re not ready to give away any of our secrets just yet, but I can say that everyone at Ooligan—from our External Promotions department to our program’s graduate assistants—is busy finding creative ways to bring William Stafford’s writing into the hands of students across Oregon.

Do you have ideas for William Stafford related events that you would like to see in your town? Or, would you like to invite others to events that are already happening in your area? If so, please send us an e-mail at wsproject@ooliganpress.pdx.edu to let us know!

Check back soon for more updates about the project, the contest, and all things related to William Stafford.

Thanks for reading,


October 13, 2012

Website Up

Thanks to our awesome Digital Department, we now have all things William Stafford contest related at this link: http://ooligan.pdx.edu/poetry/william-stafford-project/

That includes all the rules, lesson plans, and poems. If anyone is interested and we haven’t emailed you personally, sign up for our email or just download the packet with all the information.

And please pass it along,


October 7, 2012

Why We Love Teachers

Yesterday, Laura and I attended the Oregon Council of Teachers of English conference to launch the William Stafford writing contest. It was a wonderful day—the teachers’ enthusiasm inspired us and made the conference the perfect place to officially begin this project.

We set up a table in the open air commons and talked with teachers as they walked by. Many stopped us right after we mentioned William Stafford with exclamations of, “Oh, I LOVE him!” and, “Have you read his poem called…”  A few attendees had never heard of William Stafford before but, after reading a line of “Traveling Through the Dark” or “Vocation” from the lesson plan packet, they started nodding excitedly and decided to share his work with their students.

After skimming Erin Ocón’s lesson plan on the writing process, based on Stafford’s essay “Ways of Writing,” one local creative writing teacher pointed out that the contest would give her students purpose as they moved through the stages of revision. If working with publication is an end goal, then polishing your writing until it shines does seem more natural.

We want to thank the OCTE for having us at the festival. We also want to thank all of you wonderful teachers, who gladly spent this beautiful fall weekend at the conference, for giving us a chance to explain why we’re so crazy over Stafford—and why you should be too!

Whether you were at the conference or not, we hope you’ll join us this year in celebrating William Stafford by doing one of the things he did best: inspiring students to write their worlds on the page. Our new project page will be up this week, along with a link to a digital version of the contest packet, so please check back soon to find the link!

Thanks for reading,


September 28, 2012

Good Things to Come

This week, all three lesson plans came back from our editing department ready to meet the world at the OCTE conference on October 6. As we cross off these last things on our pre-launch to-do list, Laura and I can’t help but feel the excitement that comes from making this dream of a project into a reality. I can’t wait to see all good things that are bound to happen for students and teachers as this year-long project unfolds!

Please keep sending us the contact information for your favorite English teachers, and stay in touch; we’ll be posting a link to the finished contest packet in the next week or so.

Thanks for reading!


September 21, 2012

William Stafford

I just got off the phone with Tristan Cooper, a reporter from the PSU Vanguard. Besides being quite nervous (it was my first newspaper interview), it got me thinking about the man behind the contest, William Stafford, on whom I’ve done a lot of research for this project.

He was born in Kansas in 1914, growing up and attending school there. He was drafted in WWII but was a conscientious objector, so from 1942-1946 he served in the Civilian Public Service camps in multiple states. During this time, he met and married his wife, Dorothy Franz. After the war ended, Stafford finished his Masters in English from the University of Kansas. His thesis, a collection of memoirs from his time as a conscientious objector, was published as a book of prose, Down in My Heart.

He moved to Oregon in 1948 to work for Lewis and Clark College and worked there until his retirement in 1980. His first major publication, Traveling Through the Dark, won the National Book Award in 1963. He went on to receive many honors, including becoming the Consultant in Poetry for the Library of Congress, now known as the Poet Laureate.

William Stafford published more then 65 volumes of poetry and prose in his lifetime. He told his students: “Lower your standards and keep going. When it gets hard, don’t stop—it is hard because you are doing something original.” (Oregon History Project)

That is what he taught his students, and that is what he did, working every morning on his poetry until his death on August 28, 1993.

That is only a brief glimpse into the life of William Stafford. We hope that he will inspire a new generation of writers, and that this contest will help that.

For more information about William Stafford, please visit the William Stafford Archives and The Friends of William Stafford.


September 14, 2012

Contest Launch: We’re Almost There!

This past week has been wonderful. We received an inspiring set of lesson plans from Woodburn teacher Robin Scialabba. We’ve added these to the equally engaging lesson plans written by Hillsboro teacher Erin Ocón and West Linn teacher Stacy Erickson.

These three sets of lesson plans focus on using William Stafford’s poetry to inspire students to write what they know. Students will dig in to their families’ history, explore the beauty of the natural world with their pens, and consider issues like the balance of technology and environmental wellness—all through Stafford’s poetry and the power of daily writing.

Now, with these lesson plans in hand and fourteen Stafford poems at the ready, we’re putting the finishing touches on our contest packet. We’re excited to announce that the contest launch will happen at this year’s Oregon Council of Teachers of English conference on October 6, 2012.

We’ll be ready to hand out links to the contest website and to answer any questions you have about the project, the contest, or Ooligan press. Please come see us there!


September, 7 2012

Lesson Plans

This week Rachel and I have been busy getting together a list of all the Language Arts and English teachers we can find. It has been quite a task but we are making progress. I don’t think either of us really knew how many schools there were in Oregon. We are excited because even though it is hard to track down all the teachers, it means that there will be that many more students involved. We have also recieved two of the three revamped lesson plans by Stacy Erickson and Erin Ocon. They were nice enough to include the handouts they used with their students, and Rachel (my fellow project manager) is currently completing the third.  We are hoping to launch the competition in the beginning of October around the same time as the Oregon Council of English Teachers conference. The packet with all of the poems, lesson plans, and guidlines should be done very soon!


August 31, 2012

The New School Year

When this new school year starts, there will be thousands of students at Oregon’s more than 400 middle and high schools who are waiting—with pencils in hand— to be inspired. Luckily, hundreds of teachers across the state are ready and willing to help them find that inspiration.

Today, we keep this image in mind as we search out contact information for each and every one of those middle and high school teachers so that we can spread the word about the William Stafford Writing Contest. We want to make sure that this opportunity is available to all students from Clatsop and Curry counties in the west to Wallowa and Malheur counties on the eastern border of the state. The impact that William Stafford’s writing could have on these students is too great to ignore!

You lovers of words can help us reach all of these teachers and their students by directing them to this page. As we get the ball rolling this fall, we’ll post a link to the contest requirements and an online version of the contest packet.  Please come back often and be ready to pass along the details to your favorite middle and high school teachers!


August 27, 2012

The William Stafford Project

This project began with a letter sent to us at Ooligan. The letter was from Paulann Peterson, Oregon Poet Laurette. She was enlisting folks to get involved with a year-long celebration of the birth of William Stafford. Our program director Abbey passed the letter on to me and said, “what can we do?” Well, this is what we are doing.

We at Ooligan have organized a writing competition for seventh through twelfth graders in the state of Oregon. The winning students will be published in the beginning of 2014. I contacted Paul Merchant, the William Stafford Archivist from Lewis and Clark College, and he was kind enough to help me choose some great poems to use in the contest. The archives also had some great lesson plans for middle and high school teachers. By a great coincidence one of our Ooligan students, Rachel Pass, knew some of the people who had written these plans: Stacy Erickson, Erin Ocon and Robin Scialabbba. Rachel contacted them and they are currently revamping the lesson plans to fit the poems picked out by Paul and me. Rachel was so excited to be a part of this project that I asked her to be my co-manager. She is also a teacher and has had great ideas for the project.

Right now, Rachel and I are compiling a packet to send out to the teachers with all of the lesson plans and poems they will need. The next step is to contact all the teachers we can to let them know about the contest. We are hoping this contest gets the kids and teachers excited about poetry and about the potential to get their work published.