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Writing the Australian Crawl: Views on the Writer's Vocation (Poets on Poetry) Paperback – July 15, 1978

4.6 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Writing the Australian Crawl presents a new attitude toward the teaching and practice of writing-a writer isn't simply a craftsman with something to say and the skill to say it. Rather, a writer brings those attributes into a process that is filled with exciting emergencies and opportunities. In the end, something emerge that is greater than the sum of its parts.

About the Author

William Stafford was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, in 1914. After the Second World War (to which he was a conscientious objector), he earned a Ph.D. at the newly created Iowa Writer's Workshop. A longtime lecturer, workshop leader, and advocate on behalf of younger writers and readers, Stafford taught English at Lewis and Clark College from 1956 to 1979. He was awarded the National Book Award in Poetry for "Traveling through the Dark," The author of over fifty books, Stafford remains one of the most beloved and widely read poets in contemporary American letters. He died in Oregon, where he had formerly served as the state's poet laureate, in 1993.


Donald Hall is the author of many children's favorites, including The Ox-Cart Man (a Caldecott Medal winner), I Am the Dog, I Am the Cat and Lucy's Summer, and the editor of The Oxford Book of Children's Verse in America (OUP, 1985). He has also written a dozen books of poetry, most recently
Without. He lives on a farm in New Hampshire.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press; 49870th edition (July 15, 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0472873008
  • ISBN-13: 978-0472873005
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #297,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Juan Mobili on November 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book of Stafford's essays ranks next to those books -like "The Rescued Year," "Someday, Maybe" or "Oregon Message"- containing his best poems. Here, Stafford muses in his quiet tone and with unassuming wisdom about the essence of writing and teaching poetry.

As he says, "A writer is not so much someone who has something to say as he is someone who has found a process that will bring about new things he would not have thought of if he had not started to say them."

This declaration alone, at a time where postmodern self-congratulation is so often confused for deep thinking, has nurtured my writing and reading of poetry more than any of the many books I read about the poetic craft.

This book is more than a collection by a poet speaking of what he's dedicated his life to, it is a treatise on how to live one's life. This is not something I'd say about many works, yet here is stunnigly clear.

Replace the word "writing" for "life," and you decide ...

"When I write, I like to have an interval before me when I am not likely to be interrupted. For me, this means usually the early morning, before others awake. I get a pen and paper, take a glance out of the window (often it is dark out there), and wait. It is like fishing. But I do not wait very long, for there is always a nibble--and this is where receptivity comes in. To get started I will accept anything that occurs to me. Something always occurs, of course, to any of us. We can't keep from thinking. Maybe I have to settle for an immediate impression: it's cold, or hot, or dark, or bright, or in between! Or--well, the possibilities are endless. If I put down something, that thing will help the next thing come, and I'm off.
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Format: Paperback
William Stafford has a way of writing that makes you feel like a welcome guest in his house. Here he talks in prosaic passages about what is important in writing, how to inspire your own writing, together with examples of his own work.
Reading this book is much like reading Stafford's poetry. The tone is relaxed but captivating, and he makes the task of writing well seem effortless. This book, together with "You Must Revise Your Life," is a fantastic read for writers of any level or ability.
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I bought this book for the second time because my first wore out. William Stafford is my muse. I am a writing teacher and he has helped so much with realizing how important compassion is to the writing process. "Welcome every word you write,"he says and of course, all writing is process, it is an act of discovery . Welcome that discovery and keep on writing, he seems to say. It is not about the poem being good or bad, it is about it being inevitable. There is not one poem that
can contain your truth. You write the "bad" ones along with the "good" and harvest a bounty of poems in your true voice. And in this way, Stafford seems to be saying, is how we let our heart sing and how we succeed. This book is a must for every writer.
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I really enjoyed these essays and poems. They gave me so tips on writing ANYthing really. Here's a guy who doesn't believe in writer's block! I learned more about him too which was really interesting. Incredible human being.
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