Saturday, March 8, 2014

Poetry Friday: William Stafford's Muse

Last week I participated with four other writers in a panel at the Associated Writing Programs conference in Seattle. The title of the panel was "Calling the Muse," and panelists (Laura Kvasnosky, Zu Vincent, Debby Dahl Edwardson, Kiara koenig and I)  were asked to address not only the idea of a "Muse" in general, but how a writer moves from inspiration to application. In my opinion, if you are out in the world, and you are curious and attentive, then the Muse has done her/his/its job, and the rest is up to you. I found a short poem to read by the late William Stafford which basically says what I had to say, but more economically and elegantly, and I thought Poetry Friday readers might like to see it, too - so here it is!

When I Met My Muse

I glanced at her and took my glasses
off--they were still singing. They buzzed
like a locust on the coffee table and then
ceased. Her voice belled forth, and the
sunlight bent. I felt the ceiling arch, and
knew that nails up there took a new grip
on whatever they touched. "I am your own
way of looking at things," she said. "When
you allow me to live with you, every
glance at the world around you will be
a sort of salvation." And I took her hand. 

                 --William Stafford
The. Poetry Friday round-up today is being hosted Margaret over at Reflections on the Teche
Head over there to see what other people have posted.


  1. this is wonderful, Julie. Just the ticket for despairing of spring in deep winter. Time to study the snow and the bare branches. Being patient in March in Vermont is hard. But the muse is still there in the drifts.

  2. Daphne, you have that quality Stafford mentions, your "own way of looking at things." I love the way you think, and I love your writing, and I WANT TO BUY YOUR BOOKS. But for now, I'll just think about Vermont, snow, patience...and I know that you will keep glancing at the world around you and finding that "salvation." on the other hand, if you lose patience, just Come visit me soon in Seattle and I'll take you to the tulip fields about to burst into bloom in the Skagit Valley. Spring has definitely arrived.