The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You (Rating: 4.67 - 373 votes)
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What About This: Collected Poems of Frank Stanford, Singing Knives (Poetry Series No 18), The Light the Dead See: Selected Poems, Hidden Water: From the Frank Stanford Archives, Crib Death, Ladies From Hell, Shade, The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You, Conditions Uncertain and Likely to Pass Away, You: Poems
"I don't believe in tame poetry. . . . Poetry busts guts." Frank Stanford
The poetry publishing event of the season, this six-hundred-plus page book highlights the arc of Frank Stanford's all-too-brief and incandescently brilliant career.
Despite critical praise and near-mythic status as a poet, Frank Stanford's oeuvre has never fully been unified. The mystery and legend surrounding his lifeand his suicide before the age of thirtyhas made it nearly impossible to fully and accurately celebrate his body of work. Until now.
This welcome and necessary volume includes hundreds of previously unpublished poems, a short story, an interview, and is richly illustrated with draft poems, photographs, and odd ephemera.
As Dean Young writes in the Foreword to the book: "Many of these poems seem as if they were written with a burnt stick. With blood in river mud... Frank Stanford, demonically prolific, approaches the poem not as an exercise of rhetoric or a puzzle of signifiers but as a man 'looking for his own tongue' in a knife-fight with a ghost."
When It's After Dark
all the light bulbs
and hide them like eggs
in a basket
going to some outlaw
I put on the best I can find
I cover them with a swatch
that swells like a bite
that bleeds green
cloth that smells
of a feed store
to of been worn
I go over to nasty willy's bridge
and throw them into the creek
there in the shade I listen
to make nests to escape
agony and burst, Poetry. THE SINGING KNIVES, originally published in 1971 by Broughton's Mill Mountain Press, is Frank Sanford's first collection of poetry. Reprinted by his own press, Lost Roads Publisher, after his death, THE SINGING KNIVES, debuts the work of a twenty-something year old boy way ahead of his time and in a state of unrest, capturing "poetry's more primal and mysterious possibilities"-David Clewell. "It is astonishing to me that I was not even aware of this superbly accomplished and moving poet. There is a great deal of pain in the poems, but it is a pain that makes sense, a tragic pain whose meaning rises from the way the poems are so firmly molded and formed from within"- James Wright., Poetry. Frank Stanford was called by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Alan Dugan a brilliant poet, ample in his work, like Whitman. He was the founder of Lost Roads Publishers and the author of a number of important works, among them the epic THE BATTLEFIELD WHERE THE MOON SAYS I LOVE YOU, reprinted by Lost Roads under the editorship of Forrest Gander and C.D. Wright. Frank Stanford said his purpose in his writing and with his press was to 'reclaim the landscape of American poetry' - The Arkansas Times. Stanford ended his own life in 1978 when he was 29. The reprinting of this major book is a truly important, much anticipated literary event., Between 1972, when he published his first book, The Signing Knives, and 1978, when he died at the age of twenty-nine, Frank Stanford published seven volumes of poetry. Within a year of his death, two posthumous collections were published. At the time of this death, as Leon Stokesbury asserts in his introduction, Stanford was the best poet in America under the age of thirty-five.
The Light the Dead See collects the best work from those nine volumes and six previously unpublished poems. In the earlier poems, Stanford creates a world where he could keep childhood alive, deny time and mutability, and place a version of himself at the center of great myth and drama.
Later, the denial of time and mutability gives way to an obsessive and familiar confrontation with death. Although Stanford paid an enormous price for his growing familiarity with Death as a presence, the direct address to that presence is a source of much of the striking originality and stunning power in the poetry.