Login NowClose 
Sign In to wabashplaindealer.com           
Forgot Password
or if you have not registered since 8/22/18
Click Here to Create an Account
Close

Pacifism through poetry

POET:The documentary about poet William Stafford, “Every War Has Two Losers,” will be shown at Manchester University at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17 in Cordier Auditorium on the North Manchester campus. It is free and open to the public.

By Anne Gregory

“Save the world by torturing one innocent child? Which innocent child?”

– William Stafford, 1914-1993

The world remembers William Edgar Stafford as a prolific Western poet, evoking desert, prairie, mountains and sky. He was also a staunch opponent of war.

Stafford was called up for active military service in 1942 and registered with the draft board as a conscientious objector. He was interned during World War II in Civilian Public Service camps run by the Church of the Brethren, a historic peace church.

During those years of labor for his nation, Stafford kept a journal that is the basis of a documentary, “Every War Has Two Losers,” which will be shown at Manchester University at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17 in Cordier Auditorium on the North Manchester campus. It is free and open to the public.

After the war, Stafford’s poetry won major awards, and he taught English at what was then Manchester College for one year in the 1950s before settling in Portland, Oregon.

In the 30-minute documentary by Haydn Reiss, themes of peace and reconciliation are explored in Stafford’s poems and daily writings.

Jeff Gundy, a professor of English at Bluffton University who knew Stafford, will speak about the relationship between Stafford’s poetry and his pacifist beliefs and experiences. His talk, “Five Memories and Four Refusals: Thinking Again about William Stafford,” will precede the film showing, and a time for questions and discussion will follow.

Gundy will also give a poetry reading at 7 p.m. that evening in Wine Recital Hall. It is also free and open to the public.

Manchester alumnus Travis Poling (’06) will speak about Stafford’s connection to Manchester University and the Church of the Brethren.

Stafford believed it was a failure of imagination to see only two options: to fight or to run away. He used questions and direct assessments of our political habits to suggest a way other than war.

Manchester’s Brethren roots go back to the 1860s, and it is one of six colleges across the nation grounded in the values and traditions of the church. The University encourages students to explore, develop and nurture their faith in an environment that respects the infinite worth of every person.

Manchester has the oldest undergraduate peace studies program in the world.

Anne Gregory is the assistant director of media relations in the Office of Strategic Communications at Manchester University.