Frank Stanford: A poet’s dreams, death and legacy

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Stage & Scream in Kansas City

By ROBERT TRUSSELL

He lived a poet’s life and died a poet’s death.

Poets see the word in ways the rest of us do not. Within the mundane they find mystery. Within the grotesque they find beauty.

So it was with Frank Stanford, a Southern writer whose life ended abruptly in a small rental house in Fayetteville, Ark., one evening in 1978 — freezing him in time as a gifted, 29-year-old poet who lived and died on his own terms. He had cultivated the image of an outsider, an artist who never compromised, and that aura continues to this day.

Frank Stanford (photo by Ginny Stanford)

His work is highly respected, as it was in his lifetime. In the decades since Frank Stanford died by gunshot he has been the subject of poems, essays, pop songs and short stories. His out-of-print books are guarded jealously by his admirers. Some are…

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