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Toward Innumerable Futures: Frank Stanford & Origins


  • Adam Walton

Summary, in English

This thesis is a combined critical, biographical, and bibliographical study of American poet Frank Stanford (1948-1978). A prodigious, prolific poet's poet, Stanford is a long-underappreciated artist whose unwavering legacy, in recent years, has grown to be an undeniable force in contemporary American poetry. Stanford was an adoptee, and this study investigates his preoccupation with his loss of identity—and his perpetual quest for identifying origins—as manifested across his poetry.

My introduction contextualizes the dichotomous state of Stanford's legacy (i.e., neglected yet formidable) and broaches the subject of origins. A biographical-bibliographical background chapter chronologically pieces together the complicated fragments of his life and publications. Three critical chapters follow: respectively, excavations into Stanford's poetic portrayals of his biological and adoptive parents, children and orphans, and his own chameleonic—yet typically autobiographically presented—self. An appendix—a first-ever compendium of characters in Stanford's poetry—functions as a reference guide for readers, and extensive endnotes augment biographical/bibliographical points, clarifying prior discrepancies and confusions.

Frank Stanford was an imaginative virtuoso—one of the preeminent American poets of the latter 20th century. This study aims to help advance his literary legacy to its right place.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Master's degree (two years)


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Parents
  • Adoption
  • Origins
  • Poetry
  • Poet
  • Children
  • Orphans
  • Identity
  • Compendium of Characters
  • The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You
  • Bibliography
  • Critical
  • Biography
  • Francis Gildart
  • Frank Stanford


  • Paul Tenngart (PhD)