Our Story

Our organization was formed in 1995, following the death of William Stafford in 1993, by a small group of his friends. Our primary mission was to honor his life and literary legacy. We were focused on ensuring that his work be recognized as essential to the content and history of American Literature.  Over the years we have consistantly produced a semi-annual newsletter and a collection of limited edition letterpress broadsides of William Stafford poetry. We have contributed to and supported the establishment of a permanent home for the William Stafford archives as well as participated in national projects involving poetry in public places. The Friends of William Stafford has sponsored thousands of public readings and Stafford Birthday celebrations in libraries, schools, book stores and art galleries in the last 17 years. We have contributed to theatrical and musical productions as well as the publication of several new book titles. We have compiled and distributed collections of books, videos, audio recordings and poetry broadsides to rural and underserved libraries. Today our organization exists to provide its members, academic institutions, researchers, educators, scholars, and the general public with a strong voice for the impact that William Stafford has had on the American culture, literature and the creative arts. Our expanded mission is to engage and encourage new and emerging writers in the spirit of William Stafford.

Our National Advisors

Marvin Bell
Robert Bly
Li-Young Lee
Fred Marchant
Paul Merchant
Chris Merrill
Paulann Peterson
Naomi Shihab Nye
Gary Snyder

Our Board

Dennis Schmidling – President
Helen Schmidling – Secretary
Tim Barnes – Journal / Newsletter Editor
Patricia Carver – Community Liaison
Martha Gatchell – Archivist
Susan McKee Reece – Ad Hoc
Joan Maiers – Publicity
Armin Tolentino – Communications


Past National Advisors

James DePreist
Lucille Clifton
Kurt Brown
Donald Hall
Maxine Kumin
Ursula K. Le Guin
W.S. Merwin

Past Board Members

Terry Atzen
Elizabeth Barton
Brian Booth
Don Colburn
John Descamp
Linda Gelbrich
Robert Hamm
William Howe
Ceil Huntington
Sulima Malzin
Paulann Peterson
Shelley Reece
Jim Scheppke
Peter Sears
Nan Sherman
Scot Siegel
John Sibley Williams
Joseph Soldati
Ann Staley
Leah Stenson
Nancy Winklesky
Rich Wandschneider
Patricia Wixon
Sharon Wood Wartman