[N.P.]: [c.1972]. 3 page Autograph Letter Signed on three sheets of yellow legal paper in black marker. Composed at the end of his trip along the East Coast with his publisher Irv Broughton, during which time they were gathering interviews for their project The Writer's Mind: Interviews with American Authors.
Frank Stanford was a man who rarely traveled, being closely tied to the land and people of Arkansas. "But Stanford spent much of 1972 traveling through the South and New England with [Irv] Broughton, a communications teacher and filmmaker. Together, the two interviewed and filmed poets/writers Richard Eberhart, Malcolm Cowley, and John Crowe Ransom...Moreover he briefly lived in New York City, if perhaps for merely a few weeks...Returning to Arkansas from New York, he moved to the old spa town of Eureka Springs" (People).
The present letter occurs at this time, as he and his publisher Irv Broughton parted ways and found their paths home. "Dear Irv, Tried to get in touch with you several times. Guess you've already left, but I'm sure this address is correct. Waited to hear if you were coming back with more film. In the other letter I mentioned I met a German camera man...he would have done any filming in or around the East Coast for a ride, food, to the west coast...Guess you ran out of money." At its opening and close, Stanford's letter deals with the practicalities of their collaborative project -- the financial struggles, the efforts to get manpower and equipment.
But in the middle of the letter, Stanford shifts out of his project-driven business mindset and into the role of a poetic observer of human behavior and an active adventurer. He reports to Irv that in New York he "went to see Bergman films" and that "Tenn. Williams opened a door for me, as I was entering a bar." He also met a "rich English girl named Diedre, who let me in the Museum of Modern Art free every day...she wanted to quit her job, rent a car, and go to Arkansas with me, but I was unwilling to get that involved. Sure, I could have got a ride, then dumped her, but she was nice." As he imagines different possibilities for how he might have gotten home -- debating whether to use the wild stories -- he concludes, "I'm in the highest spirits I've been in for a long, long time...I don't have time to thank you for all you've done, given me the opportunity to do. Tell me what's going on with the footage. How broke are you?"
A quintessentially Stanford letter, blending his investment in the practicalities of a project with his poetic vision of them; it is a revealing document at the start of his career, and in the beginnings of his collaboration with Broughton. (Item #3012)