A Poet’s Meditation on Peace
A film by Haydn Reiss based upon the life, journals and poems of World War II conscientious objector and poet William Stafford (1914-1993). Stafford wrote in his journal, “The question, ‘Wouldn’t you fight for your country?’ begs the real question which is, ‘What is the best way to behave here and now to serve your country?’ So the real answer would be, ‘If it was the right thing to do, I would fight for my country. Now let’s talk about, what is the right thing to do?’”
Reiss states, “… I think this is what Stafford is saying, ‘Yes, we do and can make war. But what else can we do?’ The undiscovered possibilities in human behavior are what we should pursue. The die is not cast; imagination and creativity are not in short supply.”
This beautifully crafted film documents Stafford’s stance on culture and humanity through both poems and journals (named as is this film, “Every War Has Two Losers”) and as expressed by fellow writers who knew or admired him, such as Robert Bly, Maxine Hong Kingston, Naomi Shihab Nye, Alice Walker, and including his son Kim Stafford, an adept poet himself.