Frank Stanford papers
Scope and Contents
- 1960 - 2000
- Majority of material found within 1970 - 1993
Conditions Governing Access
Box 8 (computer disks) and Box 9 (audiovisual material): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies of electronic files may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.
Conditions Governing Use
Immediate Source of Acquisition
5.5 Linear Feet (9 boxes)
Language of Materials
Frank Stanford (1948-1978)
Stanford left college without earning a degree. In 1970 he met Irving Broughton, editor and publisher of Mill Mountain Press, who published Stanford's first book, The Singing Knives. Between 1970-76, Mill Mountain published five more of Stanford's books. Also in the early 70s, Broughton and Stanford made a documentary film about Stanford's work and life. The film, It Wasn’t a Dream it Was a Flood, won the Best Experimental Film Award at the West Coast Film Festival in 1975. The following year saw the birth of Stanford's own publishing company, Lost Roads Publishers. Lost Roads sought to "reclaim the landscape of American poetry" by publishing little known authors, whom the poet C.D. Wright, succeeding Stanford as editor, called the "the beautiful wild poets we grow from the road." In 1977, Lost Roads Publishers and Mill Mountain Press joint-published Stanford's epic poem, The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You, a manuscript of over 15,000 lines of poetry that Stanford had been working on sporadically since his early teenage years.
Stanford was well aware of the unique sensitivity that marked him apart from others even in childhood. "When the rest of you / Were being children / I became a monk / To my own listening / Imagination." Elsewhere, Stanford speaks of Death, which he imagines as a fisherman in a boat: "Young as I am I / Hold light for this boat." Amongst Stanford's most powerful poems are his reflections on this shadow from which none return. Franz Wright called him "one of the great voices of Death." With uncanny insight and beauty, Stanford's poems often seek to portray and imagine Death, which was, in Wright's words, "his biggest love affair."
On June 3 1978, at the age of 29, Stanford took his own life in his home in Fayetteville, Arkansas. His chapbook Crib Death came out shortly afterwards. Lost Roads published more of his poems in You in 1979, and a collection of his short fiction Conditions Uncertain And Likely To Pass Away in 1990. The following year the University of Arkansas Press published The Light the Dead See: Selected Poems of Frank Stanford.
Biographical note prepared by Shu-Han Luo, Yale College '09.
- Guide to the Frank Stanford Papers
- by Jennifer Meehan and David Williams
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository
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