Frank Stanford was born in Mississippi in 1948, and adopted the day he was born. Four years later, his mother married A.F. Stanford, a much older contractor in Memphis. Until his death eight years later, Stanford raised the young boy as his own. When he was 21, Frank discovered that his mother had adopted him – he had always believed, or been led to believe, that she was his birth mother.
We can smile at William Wordsworth’s line “The Child is father of the Man,” but poet Frank Stanford embodied it in both his life and his poetry.
I discovered Stanford while reading poet Leon Stokesbury’s most recent collection You are Here. Stokesbury, who teaches in the creative writing program at Georgia State University, received his M.A. and MFA degrees from the University of Arkansas, and there is his connection to Stanford. Stanford and his mother moved to Arkansas after his stepfather’s death, and in 1966 he entered the University of Arkansas. He was enrolled in the graduate poetry workshop at the university at the same time Stokesbury was in the MFA program.
To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.