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What About This
Frank Stanford
$40.00 hardbound
978-1-55659-468-7
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What About This
Collected Poems of Frank Stanford
Frank Stanford

“The big event in poetry for 2015 will likely be the long-awaited resurrection of Frank Stanford."—NPR.org

Largely out of print and unavailable for decades, the singular poetic voice of Frank Stanford has been propelled to mythic status in the years since his death in 1978. Upon his suicide at age 29, the poet left behind dozens of unpublished manuscripts, as well as uncollected poems, stories, and fragments--to augment 10 published books of poetry and a collection of short stories. The amount of writing Stanford generated in such a short life is staggering, and his poetry is further solidified beyond its quantity by a confident, ungovernable voice that moves effortlessly among surrealism, colloquial speech, racial politics, cultural memory and "the things which can pass through / your mind when the fish don't bite." 

This long overdue, comprehensive retrospective collects from all of Stanford's previously published work, together with unpublished manuscripts, ungathered poems, and carefully chosen drafts and fragments. Excerpts (and outtakes) from his 15,283-line poem "The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You," are included to punctuate the collection, alongside sample of rare archival material never before seen in print. 

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National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist

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reviews
For What About This, Frank Stanford

“The big event in poetry for 2015 will likely be the long-awaited resurrection of Frank Stanford."—NPR.org

What About This… introduces to a broader audience an important and original American poet — sensitive, death-haunted, surreal, carnal, dirt-flecked and deeply Southern — whose promise, only partly fulfilled, it hurts to contemplate. His poems flick on a heretofore unnoticed porch light in your mind.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times

* ”Stanford fearlessly explored the terror and wonder of the mind and the physical world.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

* "Highly recommended work from an American original."—Library Journal, starred review

"The book [What About This], layered with north Delta dialect and superstition, departs again and again on dream-like thought sequences in which unpredictable imagery continually startles the imagination and overwhelms it with visceral beauty."—Matthew Henricksen, Arkansas Times

“Frank Stanford's What About This is a monumental achievement. So much of Stanford's work was unpublished, scattered about in limited-edition, hard-to-find volumes, but now it has been collected and readers will rejoice to discover (or rediscover) a distinct poetic voice…. He was a voracious reader and was heavily influenced by Thomas Merton and French writers. He loved the Surrealists and Rimbaud, Mallarme, Follain and the French filmmakers Cocteau and Buñuel. His poetry is wildly imagistic, imbued with Southern folklore and culture, and it's—to use Stanford's own word—‘strange.’"—Tom Lavoie, Shelf Awareness

“The big event in poetry for 2015 will likely be the long-awaited resurrection of Frank Stanford, a legendary badass from Arkansas, much of whose poetry has been unavailable since his suicide at the age of 29 in 1978… Stanford was a hell of a metaphor-maker and simile-slinger, and could cast a spell of extreme intensity with a flick of his wrist.”—NPR.org

What About This marks a rare moment, when a critical and completely original American voice is recovered after decades and takes its rightful place in the canon…Now that the work is finally available, the real risk is that Stanford’s poetic legacy will play second fiddle to the myth of his life and death. The beautiful young suicide is a hard narrative to shake….What About This offers the fullness of both the work and the image, and leaves it to readers to decide what they will value most.”—Jay Deshpande, The New Republic

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