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.
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.
Visit the William Stafford Archives to learn more about the poet.
- “William Stafford book review: ‘We Belong in History’ from Portland State’s Ooligan Press,” by Jeff Baker in The Oregonian
- “Three Books by William Stafford,” by Katie Rensch in Dislocate
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