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The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You Paperback – June 1, 2000
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Top Customer Reviews
I first read Frank Stanford and an exerpt from The Battlefield when I purchased the Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award Anthology. I was immediately captured by the immense narrative form that I found. I later bought The Light the Dead See and was amazed yet again. Upon finally getting my hands on this book I can say without a doubt that I am in love with the words of Frank Stanford.
The new edition is not 542 pages long, but this is a result of the enlarged book format that the publishers chose. However, the poem is a single, 15,000+ line stanza of poetry that can seem most daunting any way you look at it. What got me going is my anticipation. I just dove into the book and didn't look back.
Within the narrative, you find Francis, who is an amazing guide through a rural, Southern landscape, filled with adventure and figurative language that at times cause me to catch my breath. Francis narrates from both an observational and personal point of view, and it is up to the reader to catch up with him. At times he is telling you what happened to him, what he heard about someone else, what he was/is dreaming, and what he plans on doing.
The text is full of allusions and references to other epic stories. Francis and the events and people who surround him culminate with these allusions into an Epic for the modern reader. At times the writing looks too unorganized to be an epic, but this is not the case. I am convinced that Stanford knew what he was doing every single line and word of the way. This truly is poetry with every line a composition in itself.
At every turn of the page there is a new secret, a new wonderful discovery to be found. I urge you to read this book and help to re-discover a lost American poet. I was so impressed, I bought a second copy as a gift and would not hesitate to do so again for the right person.
Populated by the most bizarre and incongruous figures I have ever encountered in one same body of text (Muhammad Ali, Thomas Merton, Elvis Presley), it is clearly meant to be a verbal sculpture of a kind: one to be excavated from the ugliest and most fly ridden region of the South.
When most poets sympathize deeply with another culture or race it can seem affected and strained, even corny (I won't name anyone, but there are thousands). Stanford's constant use of Southern African American language is completely convincing and the "hero" Francis has obviously lived around them so long that it is simply his culture.
Stanford's raison d'etre here (I think) is to shove our faces in the lives of the downtrodden, criminal, and those rejected by society. From castrating carnival midgets to one legged black felons spit upon by "Johnny Law", the cascade of surreality and the dank smell of mud is enough to throw any reader off the course of certitude. This is like William Faulkner having a really bad day and enjoying the hell out of it.
Resurrecting the monster of Southern machismo, racism, and madness is not the whole thing. Death is. Death follows Francis Gildart (Stanford's real name) everywhere, and nearly all the antiheroes in the book die.
Francis comes so close so many times one wonders if he's interested
Stanford did the world of poetry a disservice by ending his own life. This brilliant work reflects clearly that Stanford had an ongoing dialogue with Thanatos and it fuelled a lot of his poetry. A must.
"...an angel with the right hand extended slightly palm open means guardianship of human beings the blood sprinkled upon the doorposts of Egypt was a symbol and.."
tough. tender. tragic rant of the isolated spirit whose lonliness is interrupted by language and the potential of song in a world seemingly made by someone else who doesn't seem to be available.
the trauma of seem.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
this is the greatest poem ever wrote. past, present & future. period. end of story. read it if you give a s*** about art.Published on May 27, 2013 by nicholas spence
I don't really know how to describe this other than to say its very beautiful and full of pregnant phrases, as the surrealists might say. Read morePublished on July 7, 2009 by winternight
this book is a must have for anyone studying southern writers. This is a book you will never finish reading. Read morePublished on November 16, 2008 by Amazon Customer
the book is simply massive music... Robert Johnson's lost Gregorian chants scored by Beethoven... performed as if Wynton Kelly was Chopin's shadow figure (or vice versa)... Read morePublished on April 1, 2004
There's no fooling in Stanford's poetry, no cheap catharsis, no worn-out middle class longing. Like the wide, roiling waters on a flood plain, Stanford's work stops you dead. Read morePublished on March 10, 2004