|Born||Francis Gildart Smith
August 1, 1948
|Died||June 3, 1978
|Subject||Death, Injustice, The Moon|
|Notable works||The Battlefield Where The Moon Says I Love You|
|Spouse||Linda Mencin (1971), Ginny Stanford (1974-1978)|
Frank Stanford (August 1, 1948 – June 3, 1978) was a prolific 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.
Just shy of his 30th birthday, Stanford died on June 3, 1978 in his home in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the victim of three self-inflicted pistol wounds to the heart. In the three decades since, he has become a cult figure in American letters.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Legacy
- 3 Bibliography
- 4 Notes
- 5 External links
It wasn't a dream, it was a flood.
Early life and education
Frank Stanford was born Francis Gildart Smith on August 1, 1948 to widow Dorothy Margaret Smith at the Emery Memorial Home in Richton, Mississippi. He was soon adopted by a single divorcee named Dorothy Gilbert Alter (1911-2000), who was Firestone's first female manager. In 1952, Gilbert married successful Memphis levee engineer Albert Franklin Stanford (1884-1963), who subsequently also adopted “Frankie” and his younger, adoptive sister, “Ruthie” (Bettina Ruth). Stanford attended Sherwood Elementary School and Sherwood Junior High School in Memphis until 1961 when the family moved to Mountain Home, Arkansas following A. F. Stanford's retirement; Stanford finished junior high school in Mountain Home. The elder Stanford died after the poet's freshman year at Mountain Home High School.
In 1964, as a junior, Stanford entered Subiaco Academy — a boys' prep school — near Paris, Arkansas in the Ouachita Mountains. After graduating in May 1966, he entered the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville in the fall, first studying business, but soon switching to the College of Arts and Sciences. In fall 1968, Stanford took a poetry class from instructor James Whitehead who — quickly impressed with Stanford's talent — let the undergraduate poet into the graduate poetry-writing workshop for the following semester, spring 1969. Stanford soon became known throughout the Fayetteville literary community and published poetry in the student literary magazine, Preview. However, he left the university in 1970, never earning a degree.
Over the next several years, Stanford kept writing, publishing in a wide range of literary journals and magazines around the world. In 1969, he met Linda Mencin, the daughter of a retired Naval Commander and World War II ace, through a mutual friend. The two soon moved into a house in Fayetteville's Mt. Sequoyah neighborhood together, Mencin working for the War on Poverty and Stanford writing poetry— often all day long. In Mt. Sequoyah, Stanford worked away on his magnum opus, The Battlefield Where The Moon Says I Love You — which he had likely begun as a teenager — handwriting the poem in pen on his and Mencin's dining room table. The full chronology of the creation of the poem is unclear, but consensus is that Stanford worked on the manuscript sporadically over many years until late 1974 or 1975, by which time the book was finished.
If I press
|Frank Stanford, ©1971.|
In June 1970, he met Irv Broughton, the editor and publisher of Mill Mountain Press, at the Hollins Conference on Creative Writing and Cinema. Broughton read Stanford's work at the conference and agreed to publish the poet's first book, The Singing Knives. Five of Stanford's poems appeared in The Mill Mountain Review later that year, and in 1971, The Singing Knives was published as a limited edition chapbook. That summer, Stanford and Mencin married, but, after having lived together for two years, Mencin left the poet after only three months of marriage.
Stanford spent much of 1972 traveling through the South and New England with Broughton, a communications teacher and filmmaker. Together, the two interviewed and filmed poets/writers Richard Eberhart, Malcolm Cowley, and John Crowe Ransom. (These interviews appear in The Writer’s Mind: Interviews With American Authors, a three-volume set.) Broughton tutored Stanford in the technical aspects of camera work, and the poet developed an interest in filmmaking. Moreover, he briefly lived in New York City, if perhaps for merely a few weeks, but only, he would later write, "to go to the movies." Returning to Arkansas from New York, he moved to the old spa town of Eureka Springs and took a room in the New Orleans Hotel.
At the New Orleans Hotel, Stanford continued work on The Battlefield Where The Moon Says I Love You. In March 1973 in Neosho, Missouri, on a weekend away from Eureka Springs, Stanford met painter Ginny Crouch and they soon began living together, settling first in a cabin (and then a house) on the White River near Eureka Springs and later in a house near Rogers, Arkansas on Beaver Lake, merely a few miles from Mencin's parents. Stanford and Crouch married in October 1974 while living on Beaver Lake.
For several years – beginning as early as 1970 – Stanford meagerly supported himself (and his second wife) by working as an unlicensed land surveyor. The profession permeated his poetry in numerous instances, perhaps most notably in the poem "Lament Of The Land Surveyor". Broughton and Stanford made a 25-minute documentary about Stanford's work and life — filmed in Arkansas and Mississippi, discussing the land surveyor's experiences, and interviewing friends on whom Stanford's literary characters were sometimes based — titled, It Wasn't A Dream, It Was A Flood, which won one of the Judge's Awards at the 1975 Northwest Film & Video Festival.
Death In The Cool Evening
|Frank Stanford, ©1974.|
Based in Washington, Broughton received manuscripts from Stanford, sometimes transcribing additional poems via telephone from him in Arkansas, Missouri, and the East Coast. Following the publication of The Singing Knives, Broughton's Mill Mountain Press published five more of Stanford's chapbook-length manuscripts between 1974 and 1976. Ladies From Hell appeared in 1974, followed by Field Talk, Shade, and Arkansas Bench Stone in 1975; all four books included drawings by Ginny Stanford. Perhaps the strongest of the chapbooks, Constant Stranger, was released the following year.
Returning to Fayetteville in 1975, Stanford reestablished relationships with local area writers and met poet C. D. Wright, a graduate student in the MFA program at the University of Arkansas. The two poets began an affair which would last the rest of Stanford's life. In 1976, Stanford rented a house in Fayetteville on Jackson Drive with Wright and established the independent publishing operation Lost Roads Publishers to publish the work of talented poets without ready access to publishing; he said that his purpose with the press was to "reclaim the landscape of American poetry." That fall, the Stanfords moved from Beaver Lake to the Crouch family's farm in southern Missouri, Stanford continuing his double life between his wife in Missouri and Wright in Fayetteville.
In 1977, Lost Roads' first title, Wright’s Room Rented By A Single Woman, appeared, and more titles soon followed. The press would issue twelve books under Stanford's direction. Early in the year, in an article on Arkansas arts in The New York Times, Stanford's teacher, Jim Whitehead, referred to Stanford as "the most exciting young Arkansas poet he knows."
The Battlefield Where The Moon Says I Love You
The year 1977 also saw the publication of Stanford's most substantial and influential book, The Battlefield Where The Moon Says I Love You. A joint publication by Mill Mountain Press and Lost Roads (taking up numbers 7-12 in the Lost Roads catalog), the published version of the epic (which had, at one point, according to Stanford, reached over 1,000 pages and 40,000 lines) settled at 542 pages (383 pages in the second, 2000, edition) and 15,283 lines. Friends and poets — some prominent — had read parts or all of the manuscript, at least in earlier forms, years before its publication. In an April 1974 letter, Stanford comments that poet Alan Dugan had written to him with the response, "This is better than good, it is great ... one day it will explode." The poem, perhaps surprisingly, has yet to "explode," but has achieved almost mythic status.
Final months and days
By 1978, Stanford was heavily occupied with Lost Roads' publishing endeavors. Father Nicholas Fuhrmann, Stanford's former English teacher and longtime friend, has noted that Stanford was, during this period, visiting his mother (who lived in Subiaco) more often than had seemed usual. Stanford spent his last two and a half weeks in New Orleans before returning to Fayetteville on June 3. In New Orleans, he wrote a suicide note, which included a will. On June 3, Stanford's friend, Sherman Morgan, met him at Fayetteville's Drake Field and drove him from the airport to his home at 705 Jackson Drive.
On the Saturday evening of June 3, 1978, Stanford committed suicide in his home in Fayetteville. In her essay, "Death In The Cool Evening," widow Ginny Stanford notes that, having discovered her husband's infidelity, they argued about the matter; subsequently, Stanford retreated to his bedroom, and moments later, gunshots were heard: Stanford had thrice shot himself in the heart with a .22-caliber target pistol. Both Ginny Stanford and C. D. Wright were in the house at the time of his death. Stanford's funeral was held on Tuesday, June 6 at Subiaco Abbey Church; he was buried in St. Benedict's Cemetery at Subiaco beneath a stand of yellow pines, five miles (eight km) from the Arkansas River.
Aside from conceivable shame, other potentially oppressive factors may have motivated Stanford's suicide. For instance, some of his peers and others have suggested that he may have intended to die before the age of 30. Furthermore, Father Fuhrmann, who had met with Stanford shortly before his death, feels that the poet had "a lot on his mind," and Wright and Ginny Stanford reported that he was depressed and withdrawn on the day of his suicide. Stanford had also spent time at the Arkansas State Hospital (the state psychiatric hospital) in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1972 and may have had prior suicide attempts.
Frank Stanford's legacy is one shrouded in (and perhaps tainted by) legend, mystification, and inaccuracies. Stanford frequently embellished his letters and personal anecdotes, and numerous misprints rampant throughout published articles and essays have confused even the most elemental details, hindering potential for critical scholarship. For example, a 2002 misprint in Poets & Writers credits Stanford, not Broughton, as the founder of Mill Mountain Press. Even Stanford's very books have printed biographical and bibliographical errors; for instance, the biographical note for the posthumously published book, Crib Death, states that Stanford was "born in 1949 in Greenville, Mississippi," when in fact he was born in 1948 in Richton, Mississippi, some 240 miles (390 km) away, and the table of contents for The Light The Dead See: Selected Poems of Frank Stanford lists The Singing Knives as having been published in 1972 and Crib Death as having been published in 1979, when in fact they were published in 1971 and 1978, respectively. It should be noted, though, that many inaccuracies surrounding Stanford's legacy are result of Stanford's own self-mythology, his own fabrications.
Perhaps the most perceptive essay on Frank Stanford was published in 2008 by Ben Ehrenreich on Poetry magazine's website and was reposted in 2015 on the occasion of the publication of What About This: Collected Poems of Frank Stanford (Copper Canyon Press, 2015)
Death is a good word.
When the rest of you
The moon throws the knives.
Sadness and whiskey
|Frank Stanford, ©1979.|
Ironwood Press published Stanford's chapbook, Crib Death, in 1978, shortly after his death. Lost Roads, editorship succeeded by C. D. Wright, published a posthumous chapbook of yet more of Stanford's poems, titled You (as well as a limited edition reprint of The Singing Knives), in 1979. In 1990, the press released a collection of Stanford's short fiction, titled Conditions Uncertain And Likely To Pass Away. A slim volume of selected poems, The Light The Dead See: Selected Poems of Frank Stanford, was published the following year by the University of Arkansas Press. Furthermore, much of Stanford's work is as yet unpublished, including the manuscripts: Flour The Dead Man Brings To The Wedding and The Last Panther In The Ozarks (which combine to make one manuscript), Automatic Co-Pilot, Plain Songs (after Jean Follain), and Wounds, among others. In April 2015, Copper Canyon Press released a new collection of Stanford's poems, entitled What about This: Collected Poems of Frank Stanford, half of which includes previously published work, as well as previously unpublished manuscripts, facsimiles and drafts of Stanford's work, as well as excerpts (and outtakes) from his 15,283-line poem The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You.
Despite flourishing interest in Frank Stanford's work, large publishing houses have yet to develop interest in the poet. Stanford's small press publishers to date — Mill Mountain, Ironwood, and Lost Roads — have faced variable limitations with respect to production and distribution, most of Stanford's titles having been released as limited edition chapbooks, long since out of print. In October 2000, Lost Roads republished The Battlefield Where The Moon Says I Love You in a corrected edition with numbered lines, and the press reprinted the book again in 2008. In February 2008, Lost Roads reissued The Singing Knives and You.
Frank Stanford's poems — tall tales of wild embellishment with recurring characters in an imaginary landscape, drawn from his childhood in the Mississippi Delta and the Ozark mountains — are immediately recognizable, and his oeuvre continues to be influential and well received.
In the 1990s, Ginny Stanford and C. D. Wright published accounts of their respective relationships to Stanford, both during his life and afterward. Ginny Stanford published two essays: “Requiem: A Fragment,” in The New Orleans Review in 1994, and its companion piece of sorts, "Death In The Cool Evening," in The Portable Plateau in 1997. Photos of Frank Stanford by the widow accompanied her essays in both publications. Also in 1997, Conjunctions published C. D. Wright’s essay, “Frank Stanford, Of The Mulberry Family: An Arkansas Epilogue.”
Stanford has also been written about in at least two novels — Steve Stern's The Moon & Ruben Shein and Forrest Gander's As A Friend — and two folk songs — the Indigo Girls' "Three Hits" and Lucinda Williams' "Pineola;" the latter is a eulogy of sorts for Stanford, who was a family friend of the Williamses.
Stanford's impact on poetry was profound and lasting, and celebrations of his work frequently take place. A July 1997 tribute to Stanford in Fayetteville featured readings of Stanford's poetry and a screening of It Wasn't A Dream, It Was A Flood. All-night readings of The Battlefield Where The Moon Says I Love You have also occasionally occurred, such as one organized by Brown University students in 1990 and another at New York's Bowery Poetry Club in April 2003. An October 2008 Frank Stanford Literary Festival in Fayetteville featured panel discussions of Stanford's work, a screening of It Wasn't A Dream, It Was A Flood, and an all-night reading of The Battlefield Where The Moon Says I Love You.
Despite continued interest in Stanford's work, his legacy has been largely overlooked in the canonization process of poetry anthologies and university literature courses. He is one of the least known of the significant voices of latter 20th century American poetry, despite being widely published in many prominent magazines, including The American Poetry Review, Chicago Review, FIELD, The Iowa Review, Ironwood, kayak, The Massachusetts Review, The Mill Mountain Review, The Nation, New American Review, The New York Quarterly, Poetry Now, and Prairie Schooner.
However, Stanford's work has received significant critical praise. Alan Dugan — Pulitzer Prize winner and National Book Award recipient — called Stanford “a brilliant poet, ample in his work,” comparing him to Walt Whitman. Poet Franz Wright called him "one of the great voices of death." Poet Lorenzo Thomas called him "amazing ... a swamprat Rimbaud, poet James Wright referred to him as a "superbly accomplished and moving poet," and poet Richard Eberhart praised the "strange grace of language in the poet’s remarkable, unforgettable body of work." Leon Stokesbury introduces The Light The Dead See by claiming that Stanford was, "at the time of his death, the best poet in America under the age of thirty-five." Other contemporaries remarked his “perfectly tuned” ears, the “remarkable acuity” of his “clear-cut imagery and spring-tight lines,” and his “remarkable talent” as a “testimony to [his] place in American letters.”
In his introduction to What about This: Collected Poems of Frank Stanford (Copper Canyon Press, 2015), the poet Dean Young described Stanford's poetry as, "something authentically raw, even brutal, which seems both very old and utterly new, its vitality coming from roots that sink deep into the primitive well-springs of art and the mud of the human heart and mind."  In a 2015 review for the New York Times, Dwight Garner says "Since Mr. Stanford's death, his cult has grown, but it's never come close to metastasizing. In large part, that's because his work has been hard to find, issued by tiny presses and often out of print. The long-awaited publication this month of What About This: The Collected Poems of Frank Stanford gives us a chance to see him whole. It introduces to a broader audience an important and original American poet."
- Ehrenreich, Ben. "The Long Goodbye", The Poetry Foundation, 2008.
- Wright, C. D. "Frank Stanford: Blue Yodel Of A Wayfaring Stranger," Oxford American, Issue 52, pp 98-105. Winter 2006.
- Frank Stanford at the Social Security Death Index. Confirms August 1, 1948 birth.
- Dorothy Stanford at the Social Security Death Index.
- Stanford, Frank. The Battlefield Where The Moon Says I Love You, biographical note and C. D. Wright's preface. No place given: Lost Roads no. 50, 2000. ISBN 978-0-918786-50-0.
- Albert Stanford at the Social Security Death Index.
- Subiaco Academy records, Registrar's office. Accessed by Registrar Lou Trusty at Subiaco Academy on November 19, 2008. Stanford attended Sherwood Junior High School for 7th grade (1960-1961), Mountain Home Junior High School for 8th grade (1961-1962), Mountain Home High School for 9th and 10th grades (1962-1964), and Subiaco Academy for 11th and 12th grades (1964-1966). Stanford graduated from Subiaco on May 27, 1966.
- University of Arkansas records, Registrar's office. Accessed by Alexis Leppich at the Registrar's office on February 26, 2008. Leppich confirmed that Stanford began in fall 1966 (as opposed to the commonly misprinted 1967) in the College of Business (not Engineering, which is most commonly printed) and later switched to the College of Arts and Sciences. Leppich confirmed that Stanford took only undergraduate courses through fall 1968 and that his first graduate course was in spring 1969 (as opposed to commonly misprinted dates of 1968 or 1967). Leppich also confirmed that Stanford took classes in 1970 but not 1971 (as opposed to common misprints of Stanford dropping out in 1969 or 1971 [this corresponds to Leon Stokesbury's comments; see footnote for phone conversation with Stokesbury on February 25, 2008]), and Leppich confirmed that Stanford never received a degree.
- Stanford's best friend, Bill Willett, in Mountain Home, AR by phone on February 20, 2008. Re: Stanford starting college in fall 1966, some sources have misprinted as 1967, but Willett confirmed 1966; Willett and Stanford lived together and joined the same fraternity together (they dropped out together shortly thereafter) that fall. Re: summer 1971 marriage to Mencin, Willett is sure that the wedding was in either July or August. Re: Stanford working on Battlefield as a teenager, Bill believes Stanford worked on the book during their freshman year at the University of Arkansas and that he had started it at Subiaco if not before.
- Leon Stokesbury in Atlanta, GA by phone on February 25, 2008. Re: Stanford joining the graduate writing workshop, Stokesbury is confident that Stanford's first semester in the workshop was spring 1969. Stokesbury is also confident that Stanford dropped out in fall 1970 (not 1969 or 1971). Re: publication date of The Singing Knives, Stokesbury said that he was in Fayetteville in 1972 until August and left for a couple of months; when he returned in November, the book had appeared on the scene. When asked why Stanford would have published the book in 1972 with a date of 1971, Stokesbury commented that Stanford never claimed to be older than he was, only younger.
- Wright, C. D. Epilogue, The Singing Knives (Lost Roads,1979). Re: unpublished manuscripts, Wright's epilogue notes the existence of fifty complete manuscripts of poetry, short fiction, screenplays, and essays.
- Stanford's poetry in three issues. 1) Stokesbury, Leon, ed. Preview. 1968-1969; 2) Stokesbury, Leon, ed. Preview: The Literature. 1970; 3) Stanford, Frank, ed. Preview: Eight Poets. 1971. College of Arts and Sciences, University of Arkansas. Stanford was Associate Editor for the 1970 issue and Editor for the 1971 issue.
- Wright, C. D. "Frank Stanford", The Before Columbus Poetry Anthology. W. W. Norton. 1991.
- By 1975, Stanford's work had appeared in no less than the following international publications: The Far Point (Canada), The West Coast Review (Canada), The Hunchback In The Park (Wales), Ghost Ship (Ireland), The Circular Ruins (Scotland), La Bell Et La Bete (France), La Notte (Italy), Poetry: Australia (Sydney, Australia), and Edge (New Zealand).
- The former Linda Mencin in Austin, Texas by phone on February 22, 2008. Mencin's father is the late Adolph Mencin (1916-1998) of Rogers, Arkansas. Re: common misprints of her mother being a "society lady" or "socialite," she said this was untrue, that her mother was "glamorous," but raised on a farm and not a "society lady."
- The former Linda Mencin in Austin, Texas by phone on February 23, 2008. Re: Stanford and Mencin's introduction, they met through Keith Mills (Mencin's boyfriend at the time), whom Stanford knew from the university.
- Battlefield wasn't complete before September 1974 because Stanford mentioned in a September 1974 letter to Alan Dugan that he was "going to hire a typist to do a [sic] 800-1000 page manuscript ... of which Dugan had seen "ahout [sic] 500 pages."
- C. D. Wright by email on February 17, 2008.
- Stanford, Frank. The Singing Knives. Seattle, WA: Mill Mountain Press. 1971. ISBN 0-912350-50-4. "The Minnow" reprinted here with permission from C. D. Wright, rights holder. Re: publication date, some sources have listed book's publication date as 1972 (such as stated on the copyright page in the 2008 reprint; also see footnote for phone conversation with Leon Stokesbury on February 25, 2008), but book itself lists 1971.
- Mississippi Quarterly, Vol. 24, No. 4, Fall 1971, p. 405. Mississippi State, MS: Mississippi State University. The Hollins Conference on Creative Writing and Cinema took place June 15-June 28, 1970.
- Irv Broughton in Spokane, Washington by phone on February 18, 2008. Re: writers interviewed, misprints have included others, but Broughton clarified that, with Stanford, only Eberhart, Cowley, and Ransom were interviewed. Re: film festival, some sources have printed "West Coast Film Festival," but Irv clarified, confirming Northwest Film & Video Festival; he also corrected that the award was not for "experimental filmmaking," as Rain Taxi misprinted.
- Broughton, Irv. "Tracing The Tale" (Letters To The Editor), Poets & Writers, September 2002.
- Stanford's poetry in three issues. The Mill Mountain Review, Vol. 1, No. 2; 1970. Vol. 1, No. 3; 1971. Vol. 1, No. 4; 1971. Seattle, WA: Mill Mountain Press.
- Broughton, Irv, ed. The Writer's Mind: Interviews With American Authors. 3 vols. Fayetteville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas Press. 1989-90.
- Stanford, Frank. "Blue Yodel Of The Desperado." Constant Stranger, p 29. Seattle, WA: Mill Mountain Press. 1976.
- Ginny Stanford by email on March 4, 2008. Stanford and Crouch met on the morning of March 3, 1973 in Neosho, Missouri at mutual friend Robert Carter's farmhouse. Re: Shade's publication date, Ginny Stanford confirmed that the 1975 "Second Edition" is, in fact, the first edition (she couldn't recall Stanford's reason for publishing the book with the discrepancy).
- Stanford worked with R. S. Gwynn at Kemp, Christner and Associates, a land surveying company, in summer 1970.
- Father Nicholas Fuhrmann at Subiaco Abbey and Academy by phone on February 15, 2008. Re: his last meeting with Stanford, Fuhrmann remembered it as being approximately ten days before Stanford died, but Stanford was in New Orleans for his last two and a half weeks, so the Stanford/Fuhrmann meeting was probably at least a few weeks before his death.
- Stanford, Frank. Arkansas Bench Stone. Seattle, WA: Mill Mountain Press. 1975.
- Ted Hurliman at the Northwest Film Center (which runs the Northwest Film & Video Festival) in Portland, OR by phone on February 21, 2008. Accessing records, Hurliman confirmed that the film screened at the 1975 festival (as opposed to the commonly misprinted "1974"), that the film was 25 minutes on 16 mm, that the director was listed as Irv Brougton, that the description was "A dreamlike documentary about poet Frank Stanford, filmed in Arkansas and Mississippi," and that the film won "one of the Judge's Awards."
- Bachar, Greg. "It Wasn't A Dream, It Was A Flood: Constant Stranger", Rain Taxi, Vol. 3, No. 3. Fall 1998.
- The film includes possibly the only recording of Stanford reading his work, his poem, "Linger," from Ladies From Hell (Mill Mountain Press, 1974).
- Stanford, Frank. Ladies From Hell. Seattle, WA: Mill Mountain Press. 1974. "Death In The Cool Evening" reprinted here with permission from Ginny Stanford, rights holder.
- Stanford, Frank. Field Talk. Seattle, WA: Mill Mountain Press. 1975.
- Stanford, Frank. Shade. Seattle, WA: Mill Mountain Press. Limited Edition. Second Edition. 1975. The publication date of Shade is a source of much confusion. The book's title page notes 1975, the copyright page reads "Copyright 1973, 1975 by Frank Stanford," "Second Edition," and the book's front matter lists "SHADE 1973" under "Books By Frank Stanford." However, the supposed 1973 first edition was never published (see footnote for Ginny Stanford's email of March 4, 2008), the upshot being that the "Second Edition" is, in actuality, the first edition.
- Stanford, Ginny. "Death In The Cool Evening", The Portable Plateau, 1:1. Joplin, Missouri: Ridgerunner Press. 1997; The Alsop Review (reprint). The essay as published in The Portable Plateau differs by two additional sentences.
- Wright, C. D. "Finishing The First", Poets & Writers, December 2006.
- Hall, R. C. "Death Of A Major Voice In Arkansas", The Arkansas Times, December 1978.
- Ginny Stanford by email on March 6, 2008.
- DuVal, John. C. D. Wright (1949-), The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History And Culture, November 26, 2007.
- Roy Reed. “Arts in Arkansas: They Make Music, Poetry, Even Movies.” The New York Times. February 2, 1977.
- Stanford, Frank. "Letter to David Walker", April 1, 1974. The Alsop Review. The David Walker with whom Stanford corresponded is not the David Walker of FIELD, contrary to prior misprints, but, rather, a former co-editor of Edge.
- Stanford, Frank. The Battlefield Where The Moon Says I Love You. Fayetteville, AR: Mill Mountain/Lost Roads nos. 7-12, 1977. ISBN 0-918786-13-4. Re: publication date, C. D. Wright notes in her preface for the 2000 edition that, at the time of Stanford's death, the book was "printed but not bound"; as with other discrepancies in Stanford's bibliography, though, official date of publication is taken from book's title/copyright pages. Re: line count, some sources have incorrectly labeled the 15,283-line poem (as evident in the 2000 edition) as being over 20,000 lines (or over 21,000 lines) in the first edition (which suggests that the two texts are actually different), but the seemingly longer line count in the 1977 edition is merely resultant of the paper's octavo size, effecting many lengthy lines to be necessarily broken with indents employed.
- Ginny Stanford by email on March 5, 2008. Re: Stanford's "will/suicide note," Ginny Stanford noted that the first version was written on May 22. Re: Stanford's arrival date in New Orleans, Ginny Stanford is pretty sure that Stanford left Fayetteville for New Orleans on May 17 (in conversation with Ralph Adamo by phone on February 24, 2008, Adamo was confident that Stanford had been in New Orleans for at least his last two weeks [and felt it was closer to three]; in conversation with C. D. Wright by phone on March 4, 2008, she mentioned the visit to be "two weeks"). The trip's length has been misprinted in at least one publication as being one week in length.
- Sherman Morgan was proprietor of Sherman's — a bar frequented by Stanford (see Ehrenreich's article) in Tin Cup (Fayetteville's small black enclave, also known locally as "the hollow").
- Staff reports. "Gunshot Wounds Fatal," Northwest Arkansas Times, June 5, 1978. Police reported that Stanford was dead on their arrival to the home at 7:28 p.m.; Deputy Coroner Hugh Huppert subsequently ruled the death a suicide. Re: Ginny Stanford and C. D. Wright being in the house, the women were in different rooms at the time of Stanford's suicide. Re: Stanford's funeral, it was held at 1 p.m.
- Frank Stanford, Academy of American Poets, 2008.
- Stanford’s bio at the Alsop Review reports a “.22 revolver.” At least three other accounts describe a pistol: “The Long Goodbye” (Poetry Foundation, 2008) refers to a “.22-caliber target pistol”; in a 1997 essay, C. D. Wright describes a "target pistol"; newspaper accounts published at the time also referred to a “.22 caliber pistol.” Thus, information in Alsop Review is likely a misprint.
- Thomas, Lorenzo. "Finders, Losers: Frank Stanford's Song Of The South", January 2, 1979.
- Mencin, Justin Caldwell (a poet contemporary) by phone on February 28, 2008, and Stokesbury (among others) have stated that they believe this to be a potential motive.
- The earnestness of the suicide attempts cited in Ehrenreich's article is questionable; it's possible that Stanford may have been drunk, joking, or merely expounding on his own mythology.
- Holman, Bob. "Trace of a Tale: C. D. Wright: An Investigative Poem", Poets & Writers Magazine, May 2002.
- Stanford, Frank. Crib Death. Kensington, CA: Ironwood Press. 1978.
- Stanford, Frank. The Light The Dead See: Selected Poems of Frank Stanford, p ix. Leon Stokesbury, ed. Fayetteville, AR: The University of Arkansas Press. 1991.
- Stanford, Frank. You. Fayetteville, AR: Lost Roads. 1979. ISBN 0-918786-16-9. No place given: Lost Roads. 2008. ISBN 0-918786-56-8. "Instead" reprinted here with permission from C. D. Wright, rights holder.
- Stanford, Frank. Conditions Uncertain And Likely To Pass Away. Providence, RI: Lost Roads no. 37, 1990. ISBN 0-918786-42-8. Re: date of publication, some sources list "1991" (date on book's back cover), but title page and copyright page print 1990.
- C. D. Wright by email on February 18, 2008.
- Stanford, Ginny. "Requiem: A Fragment," The New Orleans Review. New Orleans, LA: Loyola University New Orleans, 1994.
- Wright, C. D. “Frank Stanford, Of the Mulberry Family: An Arkansas Epilogue,” Conjunctions, 29. Bard College, 1997.
- Stern, Steve. The Moon & Ruben Shein. Little Rock, AR: August House Publishers. 1984.
- Gander, Forrest. As A Friend. New York, NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation. 2008.
- Academy of American Poets. "Miller & Lucinda Williams: All in the Family", Poets.org, 2004. Williams' father is Miller Williams, a professor of creative writing at the University of Arkansas.
- Buford, Bill. "Delta Nights", The New Yorker, June 5, 2000.
- Lucinda Williams biography, allmusic 
- The tribute took place on July 26, 1997 at Vox Anima Artspace, a Fayetteville gallery formerly at 7 E. Mountain St. Leilani Law, Curator, with Brent Long coordinating the tribute.
- Collins, Billy. “The Ballad of the Ballad, Poetry's Bearer of Bad News” The New York Times. April 11, 2003.
- Stanford's poetry in two issues. The American Poetry Review, Vol. 4, No. 2; 1975. Vol. 8, No. 2; 1979. Philadelphia, PA: The American Poetry Review.
- Chicago Review, Vol. 23, No. 1. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago. 1971.
- Stanford's poetry in three issues. FIELD, Issue 10, Spring 1974; Issue 11, August 1974; Issue 12, Spring 1975. "Blue Yodel Of Her Feet" in Issue 12. Oberlin, OH: Oberlin College.
- Stanford's poetry in three issues. The Iowa Review, Vol. 3, No. 3; Summer 1972. Vol. 5, No. 2; Spring 1974. Vol. 5, No. 4; Spring 1974. Iowa City, IA: University of Iowa.
- Stanford's poetry in three issues while living. Cuddihy, Michael, ed. Ironwood, Issue 4, 1974; Issue 6, 1975; Issue 9, Spring 1977. Tucson: Ironwood Press.
- Hitchcock, George, ed. kayak, Issue 26. Santa Cruz, CA: Kayak Books. 1971.
- The Massachusetts Review Vol. xiii, No. 4. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Amherst. August 1972.
- The Nation, Vol. 213, No. 10. New York: The Nation Associates, Inc. 1971.
- Solotaroff, Theodore, ed. New American Review, No. 11. New York: Simon & Schuster. 1971.
- Packard, William, ed. The New York Quarterly, Issue 15. Summer 1973. New York: New York Quarterly Poetry Review Foundation. 1973.
- Poetry Now, Vol. 1, No. 2. 1975.
- Prairie Schooner, Vol. 48, No. 3. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. 1974.
- Frank Stanford bibliography, Verdant Press, 2008.
- Cuddihy, Michael, ed. The Ironwood Review, Issue 17, pp 105, 137. Tucson, AZ. 1981.
- At an October 16, 2004 reading at the Concord Poetry Center at 40 Stow Street in Concord, Massachusetts, Franz Wright dedicated a poem to Stanford, commenting that he had followed Stanford's poetry in publications in the 1970s.
- Lux, Thomas. "'Brother Leo Told Me The Bell Was Ringing': On Frank Stanford," FIELD, Issue 52, pp 49-55. Oberlin, OH. 1979.
- Upton, Lee. Review of The Light The Dead See, Mid-American Review, Issue 13.1-2, pp 207-10. Bowling Green State University; Bowling Green, OH. 1991.
- Bradley, John. Review of The Light The Dead See, The Bloomsbury Review, p 30, July/August 1991.
- Stanford, Frank (1 April 2015). Wiegers, Michael, ed. What about This: Collected Poems of Frank Stanford. Port Townsend, Washington.: Copper Canyon Press. p. XI. ISBN 1556594682.
- Appeared in The Little Review, Vol. 5, No. 1, Issue #9. McKernan, John, and W. G. Webster, eds. Little Review Press: Huntington, WV. 1974.
- Frank Stanford bibliography at Verdant Press
- Frank Stanford at the Poetry Foundation
- Frank Stanford at the Academy of American Poets
- "The Life And Work of Frank Stanford" at Rain Taxi, Fall 1998
- "The Light the Dead See" by Frank Stanford : Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Project
- "The Long Goodbye" by Ben Ehrenreich at The Poetry Foundation, 1/2008
- September 2012 Contemporary Poetry Reviews by Seth Abramson at Huffington Post