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Sound of the Ax

Aphorisms and Poems by William Stafford

Edited by Edited by Vincent Wixon and Paul Merchant

Publication Year: 2014

Sound of the Ax brings together for the first time over four hundred aphorisms and twenty-six aphoristic poems by one of America’s most essential poets of the twentieth century. Many readers are familiar with the trenchant nature of William Stafford’s poems, with lines such as “Justice will take us millions of intricate moves” and “Your job is to find what the world is trying to be,” but have never had the opportunity to read a sustained selection from the thousands of wise, witty, and penetrating statements he created in over forty years of daily writing in his journal. In keeping with Stafford’s varied interests, the aphorisms in Sound of the Ax explore many topics—war and peace, involvement, aging, appearances, fear, egotism, writing, nature, animals, suffering, faith, living an ethical life, and so on—with his incisive view. The poems are either made up entirely or primarily aphorisms, and range from the well-known “Things I Learned Last Week” to some never before collected. Readers will find much to enjoy and to think about here, and will return over and over to Sound of the Ax for inspiration, pleasure, and wisdom from an author noted for his integrity and mindful living.

Published by: University of Pittsburgh Press

Cover

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p. C-C

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi

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Editors’ Preface

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pp. vii-xii

An aphorism is a metaphor in work clothes, the kind of statement that “delivers groceries,” as William Stafford put it. This volume includes nearly four hundred of the thousands of aphoristic statements that occur at regular intervals throughout William Stafford’s fifty years of daily writing. It was part of William...

Aphorisms and Poems

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pp. 1-2

Climbing along the River

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pp. 3-5

The Sparkle Depends on Flaws in the Diamond

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pp. 6-8

Keepsakes

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pp. 9-11

Note

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pp. 12-14

Sayings of the Blind

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pp. 15-17

Sayings from the Northern Ice

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pp. 18-20

Butterflies in the Radiator Grill

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pp. 21-23

Written on the Stub of the First Paycheck

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pp. 24-26

Song Now

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pp. 27-29

Wild Horse Lore

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pp. 30-32

.38

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pp. 33-35

The Gospel Is Whatever Happens

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pp. 36-38

So Long

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pp. 39-41

Salvaged Parts

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pp. 42-44

Artist, Come Home

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pp. 45-47

Things the Wind Says

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pp. 48-50

Optimism

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pp. 51-53

Buddha’s Thoughts

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pp. 54-56

Put These in Your Pipe

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pp. 57-59

Consolations

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pp. 60-62

The Dream of Now

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pp. 63-65

Influential Writers

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pp. 66-68

Mein Kampf

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pp. 69-71

[A Well-Oiled Gate]

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pp. 72-74

Things I Learned Last Week

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pp. 75-77

Tuned In Late One Night

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pp. 78-82

Acknowledgments

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pp. 83-92

Back Cover

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p. BC-BC


E-ISBN-13: 9780822979661
E-ISBN-10: 0822979667
Print-ISBN-13: 9780822962960
Print-ISBN-10: 0822962969

Page Count: 104
Publication Year: 2014

Series Title: Pitt Poetry Series
Series Editor Byline: Ed Ochester

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