Constant Stranger - Frank Stanford

In: English and Literature

Submitted By esmepaige
Words 1012
Pages 5
The poems in Frank Stanford’s Constant Stranger do not adhere to a fixed form or pattern, ebbing into big stanzas and switching abruptly to small stanzas as the tone and narrative of the poems change. I thoroughly enjoyed how Stanford used these arrangements to give the poems a certain rhythmic beat, pace quicker and almost staccato when the stanzas were long, and drawn out when the stanzas were short. I also noticed how he employed single-line stanzas to punctuate the tempo of the poem. This can be seen in the following lines:

1. “I wanted his legs.” in The Boathouse
2. “You cast your shadow like dice” and “I got sick on the voyage” in Blue Yodel Of The Desperado
3. “Death let a bid” and “Death can afford whatever he wants” in Death And The Arkansas River
4. “Your bed is a sad café” in Eyelids Noticed Only In The Seventh Minute Of Twilight

There were many more, but these were the most striking lines to me.

Stanford’s mildly chaotic arrangement of stanzas in Directions From A Madman was rather interesting – it seemed to display the disorderliness the title of the poem implied. I noticed how the 7th to 10th stanzas were couplets, lending the poem this degree to uniformity amid the commotion that was the general arrangement. It is also interesting to note how all the couplets’ first line focused on a single person: love, you, an old man and a young girl, while the last three couplets incorporated the word love into it.

Almost half the poems in Constant Stranger were written after other authors, which is something I have never seen before. The poems are:

1. Blue Yodel of the Desperado after Pier Paolo Pasolini
2. In These Rooms and Eyelids Noticed Only In The Seventh Minute Of Twilight after Bernardo Bertolucci
3. No Sign of Life: A Tragic Gag of Raymond Radiguet after Jean Cocteau
4. The Forgotten Madmen of Menilmontant after Jacques Prévert…...

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