Frank Stanford

Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 7:15 PM

Frank Stanford: A Talk by John Amen, Greg Brownderville, & John Erwin

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John Amen, Greg Brownderville, & John B. Erwin join to talk about the life and work of the poet, Frank Stanford. Frank Graham hosts this talk by three scholars of the poet, including two fine poets in their own right, and a filmmaker, currently at work on a documentary of the subject, Frank Stanford.

Stanford once wrote a thousand-page epic poem for publication, only to have it shortened by about five-hundred pages. In his short life, Stanford published a considerable amount of work, and his poems were beautiful pieces, uniquely composed. Join the Zoom room for this free conversation about Frank Stanford.

Enjoy our next Literary Lecture!

They caught them.
They were sitting at a table in the kitchen.
It was early.
They had on bathrobes.
They were drinking coffee and smiling.
She had one of his cigarillos in her fingers.
She had her legs tucked up under her in the chair.
They saw them through the window.
She thought of them stepping out of a bath
And him wrapping cloth around her.
He thought of her walking up in a small white building,
He thought of stones settling into the ground.
Then they were gone.
Then they came in through the back.
Her cat ran out.
The house was near the road.
She didn't like the cat going out.
They stayed at the table.
The others were out of breath.
The man and the woman reached across the table.
They were afraid, they smiled.
The other poured themselves the last of the coffee.
Burning their tongues.
The man and the woman looked at them.
They didn't say anything.
The man and the woman moved closer to each other,
The round table between them.
The stove was still on and burned the empty pot.
She started to get up.
One of them shot her.
She leaned over the table like a schoolgirl doing her lessons.
She thought about being beside him, being asleep.
They took her long gray socks
Put them over the barrel of a rifle
And shot him.
He went back in his chair, holding himself.
She told him hers didn't hurt much,
Like in the fall when everything you touch
Makes a spark.
He thought about her getting up in the dark
Wrapping a quilt around herself.
And standing in the doorway.
She asked the men if they shot them again
Not to hurt their faces.
One of them lit him one of his cigarettes.
He thought what it would be like
Being children together.
He was dead before he finished it.
She asked them could she take it out of his mouth.
So it wouldn't burn his lips.
She reached over and touched his hair.
She thought about him walking through the dark singing.
She died on the table like that,
Smoke coming out of his mouth.

From "The Light the Dead" See: Selected Poems of Frank Stanford

Frank Stanford (born Francis Gildart Smith; August 1, 1948 – June 3, 1978) was an American poet. He is most known for his epic, The Battlefield Where The Moon Says I Love You – a labyrinthine poem without stanzas or punctuation. In addition, Stanford published six shorter books of poetry throughout his 20s, and three posthumous collections of his writings (as well as a book of selected poems) have also been published.

John Amen is the author of five collections of poetry, including Illusion of an Overwhelm, finalist for the 2018 Brockman-Campbell Award. His poems and prose have appeared in journals nationally and internationally. He founded and is the managing editor of Pedestal Magazine.

Greg Brownderville’s third book, a collection of poems entitled A Horse with Holes in It, was released by LSU Press on Dave Smith’s Southern Messenger Poets series in November of 2016. In 2011 Brownderville published his first collection of poems, entitled Gust (Northwestern University Press/TriQuarterly), which made the Poetry Foundation’s Best-Seller List and was included among “Top Picks” by Library Journal. In 2012 he published Deep Down in the Delta (Butler Center Books), a collection of poems based on folktales he gathered in and around his home community of Pumpkin Bend, Arkansas. Collaborating with composer Jacob Cooper, Brownderville wrote the words to “Jar” (Silver Threads, Nonesuch Records, 2014) and Ripple the Sky, which premiered with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2016. Brownderville has been awarded prizes and fellowships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, The Missouri Review, Prairie Schooner, New Millennium Writings, and the Porter Fund. He has been a Murphy Visiting Poet at Hendrix College and a writer in residence at the Lemon Tree House in Camporsevoli, Italy. In 2012 Brownderville joined the faculty of Southern Methodist University, where he serves as an associate professor of English, editor-in-chief of Southwest Review, and director of creative writing.

John Burcham Erwin is a filmmaker from Fayetteville, Arkansas, where he lives with his two cats, Prospero and Fortinbras. Erwin holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing with an Emphasis in Poetry, and a Master’s degree in Journalism with an Emphasis in Documentary Film, from The University of Arkansas. He creates films in a wide array of genres, such as video poems, horror shorts, improvisational comedies, and documentaries. He works with non-profit organizations such as the Northwest Arkansas Historical Society, as a researcher, videographer, and media specialist, and The Open Mouth Reading Series, a community-driven series meant to promote accessibility and diversity in the world of poetry, as media director. Erwin’s work has been screened at The T Tauri Film Festival, The Ozark Foothills Film Festival, The Little Rock Film Festival, The Fayetteville Film Festival, The Made In Arkansas Film Festival, and The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, and has been showcased or honored with special programs by Boaat Press, The University of Arkansas, The Washington County Historical Society, The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, and at The Shiloh Museum of Ozark History—where his film, “Every Father a Son,” is also on permanent display. Erwin is the founder of At Home Pictures, a film production company located in Fayetteville. Currently, he is producing and directing the first feature-length film under the At Home banner: Frank Stanford: “YOU”, a documentary on the life and work of the legendary Southern poet.