Contents: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (novel by Mark Twain); from Life on the Mississippi (fiction by Mark Twain); The Negro Speaks of Rivers (poem by Langston Hughes); Narrative of Daniel Fisher (autobiography by Daniel Fisher); Three Days of Forest, A River, Free (poem by Rita Dove); The Outlaws (short story by Selma Lagerlof); from Nine Pounds of Luggage (autobiography by Maud Parrish); Freedom (poem by William Stafford); and from Mississippi Solo (travel narrative by Eddy Harris).
(From the back cover) "Down in My Heart has an autobiographical dimension, a shy but brave sense of quest, of inner evolution, of maturation and growth from eager idealism at the beginning to ironic wariness verging on disillusionment at the close, that was so telling a measure for all of us who shared the CO experience. But. Stafford registers a feeling of absolute integrity within a situation of social alienation that is extraordinary, the more so because it is unconscious, emerging as the subsumed virtue of the work. In the quiet immediacy of his prose the future poet is alive and breathing. All in all, a perceptive glimpse into a most painful interval of our national life." --William Everson From 1940 to 1944, William Stafford was interned in the camps for conscientious objectors in the United States. As a pacifist, he worked for the Civilian Public Service on forest and soil conservation projects in Arkansas, California, and Illinois. As a writer, he recorded the life he found there; the fellowship within the camps and the antagonism outside them. Down in My Heart is an account of the relationships among the people in the camps, their day-to-day activities: fighting forest fires, building roads, terracing eroded lands, and their earnest pursuit of a social morality rooted in religious and secular pacifist ideals. Since then, William Stafford has published several collections of poetry, and he has published his views on the writer's vocation. He has been the Poetry Consultant for the Library of Congress, and received the highest praise as a poet and an educator. His awards include the National Book Award, the Shelley Memorial Award, and the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award in Literature.
The Osage Orange Tree, a never-before-published story by beloved poet William Stafford, is about young love complicated by misunderstanding and the insecurity of adolescence, set against the backdrop of poverty brought on by the Great Depression. The narrator recalls a girl he once knew. He and Evangeline, both shy, never find the courage to speak to each other in high school. Every evening, however, Evangeline meets him at the Osage orange tree on the edge of her property. He delivers a newspaper to her, and they talk-and as the year progresses a secret friendship blossoms. This magical coming-of-age tale is brought to life through linocut illustrations by Oregon artist Dennis Cunningham, with an afterword by poet Naomi Shihab Nye, a personal friend of Stafford's.In the tradition of the work of great fiction writers like Steinbeck, O'Connor, and Welty, The Osage Orange Tree stands the test of time, not just as an ode to a place and a generation but as a testament to the resilience of a nation and the strength of the human heart.
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