I'm Eric McHenry, Kansas Poet Laureate.
Today, I'd like to explore the work of another great Kansas poet- William Stafford. He spent his career years in Oregon where he was the Poet Laureate, but he continued to write about life and "place" on the plains of Kansas.
Home Is the Place that Holds You
Somebody once asked the poet William Stafford why he kept writing about western Kansas, where he’d grown up, even after decades of living in Oregon. What was wrong with Oregon? “Oregon’s all right,” Stafford said, “except the mountains and the trees get in the way of the scenery.”
For Stafford, the ideal landscape was mostly skyscape. He liked an unobstructed view, prospects limited only by the distant curving away of the earth. The purpose of land isn’t to be seen; it’s to be felt with your soles. His poem “One Home” begins with the line “Mine was a Midwest home — you can keep your world,” and ends with “Wherever we looked the land would hold us up.”