Frank Stanford was "as beautiful as the sun" according to Arkansas poet Carolyn (C. D.) Wright
Photo by Ginny Stanford
My old Ozark friend and renaissance man, Pete Hale, sent me a short note alerting me to an NYT review by Sonny Figueroa of a book of collected poems by the poet Frank Stanford, who tragically ended his life in 1978 at 29:
Hi Jeff - say, you may find this interesting if you haven't already; a book of the strange and wondrous Arkie poet Frank Stanford. Leigh knew this guy, among the several pretty powerful poets that haunted U of Ark at about that time . . . . The review is good.Pete's wife, Leigh, knew the man. I don't believe I've ever heard of him, which speaks volumes about the limits of my reading. The review says he was born in Mississippi, but he seems to have been taken deep into the bosom of Arkansas. Perhaps this is the one time when we Arkansawyers can truly without irony say, "Thank God for Mississippi!" The NYT review offers a section from his poem "Death and the Arkansas River" (1976):
Everytime death gets a CadillacThat somehow works . . . though my editorial instincts want me to divide "Everytime" into "Every time." The book being reviewed is What About This: Collected Poems of Frank Stanford, and it's edited by Michael Wiegers.
He wants to fight.
He wants to run the front door,
He wants cooking that will remind him of home.
If you try to forget
Death ties a string around your finger.
It looks worth looking into . . .