"During the war years we who openly objected and refused to participate often felt alone, and said good-bye and went away to camp or to prison." - William Stafford
CORVALLIS - From 1942 to 1945, William Stafford was interned in camps for conscientious objectors for his refusal to be inducted into the U.S. Army.
Following his release, he wrote a book chronicling his experiences called "Down in My Heart," which offers a glimpse at a little-known aspect of World War II, and a fascinating look at the formative years of a major American poet.
With a new introduction by his son, Kim Stafford, "Down in My Heart" has been published by the Oregon State University Press as part of its Northwest Reprints series.
"Like William Stafford's poetry, 'Down in My Heart' has found a wide and diverse readership," said Tom Booth, marketing manager for the OSU Press.
"It has been used as a text at the Naval Academy and in peace studies courses," Booth pointed out. "It has offered guidance to individuals who have sought alternatives to violence; it has brought solace to those imprisoned for their beliefs."
Stafford wrote 67 volumes in his career and the first wasn't published until he was 46 years old. A faculty member at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, he received numerous honors including the 1963 National Book Award for "Traveling Through the Dark."
In 1975, he was appointed Oregon Poet Laureate by then-Gov. Tom McCall. Stafford died in Lake Oswego in 1993.
The Northwest Reprints Series by the OSU Press seeks to make available many books - both fiction and non-fiction - that provide a unique look at the Pacific Northwest, but are out of print.
"Down in My Heart: Peace Witness in War Time" is available at libraries and book stores, or can be purchased directly by calling 1-800-426-3797.