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"It Wasn't a Dream, It Was a Flood": The Life and Times of Frank Stanford
Collection of critical writings from Rain Taxi Review of Books.
Frank Stanford
A newspaper article from 1978, including edits made by the poet's mother.
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Frank Stanford
Photo 1973 Ginny C. Stanford

Frank Stanford

Frank Stanford was born August 1, 1948, in southeast Mississippi. In 1949, he was adopted by Dorothy Gilbert. In 1952, Gilbert married A. F. Stanford, a levee contractor, and the family moved to Arkansas. Stanford grew up in Memphis and the Ozarks of Arkansas.

In 1963, his father died and he began to attend the Benedictine Academy and Monastery in Subiaco, Arkansas. He entered the University of Arkansas in 1967, where he studied civil engineering and became involved in the Fayetteville literary community. His first poems appeared in journals such as Ironwood, Field, and American Poetry Review.

Stanford married twice. He and his first wife, Linda Mencin, lived in Fayetteville, Arkansas. In 1974 he married the painter Ginny Crouch and they moved to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, where Stanford worked as a land surveyor. In early seventies, he and his publisher, Irving Broughton, made a film about his life and work, It Wasn't A Dream, It Was A Flood. The film won the 1975 West Coast Film Festivals Best Experimental Film Award.

Stanford returned to Fayetteville in 1975 and lived with the poet C.D. Wright. He founded Lost Roads Publishers and continued to earn a living as a land surveyor. Between 1971 and 1977, seven volumes of his poetry were published, including The Singing Knives (1971), Ladies from Hell (1974), Field Talk (1975), Constant Stranger (1976), and The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You (1977).

At the age of 29, on June 3, 1978, Frank Stanford died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds. Stanford's powerful imagination has been praised and elegized by many poets including Thomas Lux, James Dickey, and Franz Wright.

A Selected Bibliography


The Singing Knives (1971)
Field Talk (1974)
Shade (1975)
Arkansas Bench Stone (1975)
Constant Stranger (1976)
The Battlefield Where The Moon Says I Love You (1977)
Crib Death (1978)
You (1979)
Conditions Uncertain & Likely to Pass Away: Tales (1990)
Light the Dead See (1991)

Poems by
Frank Stanford

Freedom, Revolt, and Love

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