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The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You

4.66  ·  Rating details ·  440 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Poetry. Frank Stanford was called by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Alan Dugan a brilliant poet, ample in his work, like Whitman. He was the founder of Lost Roads Publishers and the author of a number of important works, among them the epic THE BATTLEFIELD WHERE THE MOON SAYS I LOVE YOU, reprinted by Lost Roads under the editorship of Forrest Gander and C.D. Wright. Frank S ...more
Paperback, 2nd, 383 pages
Published June 1st 2000 by Lost Roads Publishers (first published January 1st 1977)
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Average rating 4.66  · 
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 ·  440 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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Jan 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing

This book used to be very hard to find ( I think it's easier now), but is completely amazing. It's a 542 page poem, but don't let that put you off. Some says it's the Great American Novel, even tho' it's a poem, and in many ways, it completely beats On The Road. The JK book is not a good reference point. TBWTMSILY is visionary swamp narrative... Maybe Huckleberry Finn, William Blake, plus Ulysses, set in the Mississippi Delta, not like Faulkner tho'... Stanford's writing is as powerful as Waits' and
Peter Landau
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Here's a secret to my ratings. If I know you, the book is going to get five stars. That’s because you deserve it and I can’t be critical with my friends. If I don’t know you and can’t understand your book, then I’ll also give you five stars. Because, who knows? Not me. Otherwise, I’m more of a four-star guy. I’ve got a good sense for what I’ll like and won’t often put a book down without finishing it, so that’s worked well for me. Three stars and I’ve got a problem. Less than that, I can’t be bo ...more
Chris Ebert
Jun 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: readers of enduring patience
The best text I've ever read, but it's not for the faint of heart. Stanford's epic poem is best read as slow as possible and as many times as you can. It's written without punctuation, sentences, or structure, and the style makes you feel like you're being swept away by a flood. It's as dark as any material you'll ever find, but humorous at times; it shifts jaggedly between cerebral existential thought and loose narratives, all woven into a cohesive stream that transpires in a blink.

The poem is
Oct 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
this book castrated me.
Sean A.
Jun 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, surreal
I really might as well never read another book after this one.
It might have been a mistake to begin this book at the beginning of my first semester back to college in 5 years. the semester's almost through, and now I have at last fought my way, outside of school reading, through The Battlefield Where The Moon Says I Love You. The overwhelming gumption of this book cannot be understated. My edition was 383 pages, which is all good and well, except that it, as advertised, is one long poem wi
Morgan McComb
Jul 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
At this risk of sounding very melodramatic and unnecessarily intense, this book/poem is everything. Though the book is obviously best understood after having read it in its entirety, open it to any page and began to read and this poet's words will move you. It (as well as the rest of Stanford's work, which I highly recommend) found me at a time where I needed to believe in the power of words to uplift and inspire. It has been doing that for me ever since.
May 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is the sort of poetry we need in high schools, not that those older won't also LOVE IT, I'm just saying THIS is the kind of poetry that can open kids up to poetry! And keep them open! It never lags, it's a constant whiplash!


Allan MacDonell
Feb 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I give up. Literally two-plus months have been invested in reading The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You, to the exclusion of all other books, and I have reached only page 258 out of 383. I am beaten and will go no further. Delivered in an idiom as unique to its author as Huck Finn’s voice is to Mark Twain, Frank Stanford’s sprawling prose poem is rich in Southern Gothic ambiance and incidence, and stingy with literary niceties—such as punctuation and stanza breaks—that afford a reader cont ...more
Jul 27, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: poets
He's a great writer and I love his selected, but this is one long poem, and I don't do too well with epics. I got maybe halfway through it and occasioanlly I'll just open to a random place and read a few pages. Blame the 3 stars on my own limitations as a reader.
Apr 04, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
So, I'm almost halfway through this epic 400 pg book, which entitles me to say: WTF.

Some of it's pretty sweet, granted, but...
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
this was the most difficult thing I've ever read
Josh Boardman
Mar 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was a lot of fun in the beginning. It was actually a lot of fun until the last hundred pages. Then, it lost any sense of narrative. This would be okay, if the language had held it up... but it didn't. I want to ctrl+f how many times Stanford said the words "moon" and "dream"-- god I hate those words to begin with. The narrative of the first 300 pages, though, was worth the read. Unlike other epic readz, however, this one doesn't have me constantly thinking about it for weeks to follow. ...more
Mike Soto
It's hard to think of another work so unrestrained and daring. Stanford will leap from narrative sometimes for 6 straight pages of metaphor- I felt i was making a giant circle in my mind while reading.

I have to say though, the new edition put out by Lost Roads is pretty boring. CD Wright and Forest Gander added their intros to a flat, conventional edition set in Times New Roman. Though the original had unnumbered lines, it was set in Georgia (I believe) and the art and experience of reading it
Oct 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't believe nobody's reviewed this. It's like the best book ever written.
Feb 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry-drama
"the spirit of these words defy translation"
Prince Jhonny
Nov 01, 2016 rated it liked it
The appeal is in the sprawl: to be overwhelmed by the sheer immensity of the thing. Problem is, sifting through said sprawl takes persistence, and a willingness to trust the editorial judgment of Stanford's 25 year-old mistress, who I'm sure was telling him "no" all the time, keeping this at a svelte 500-something pages. Most admirable to me is Stanford's sense of mythology, connecting the frayed ends of a temporally ambiguous, death-haunted, hypnagogic Deep South, uniting the quotidian and the ...more
Nathaniel Klaung
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have never read a book that's rating simply speaks for itself.

From page 28 of The Battlefield:

after a while it is my turn to stand up and recite fractions
instead I play a character from The Tempest by William Shakespeare
I get up on on the desk and yell I take off my shoes and break the lights I say
fuck arithmetic ...


now I'm going to write fuck all over the boards I yell out the windows at the
little grades playing I say this ai
Martinus Benders
Nov 23, 2016 rated it really liked it

This is a single poem cramming up 500 pages. It's a bit more of a curious artifact than a world class poem, though many people praise it as the latter. It doesn't matter. Stanford wrote elequent verse elsewhere and this 500 page automatic-writing revival is both an interesting experience and it also contains the necessary gems, here and there, and lots and lots of good old rambling. The work was less proficient than I expected but I still regard Stanford as one of the more eminent poets of the U
Lee Razer
Nov 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: abandoned, poetry
Surely a contender for the most remarkable book to ever come out of Fayetteville, Arkansas. Which is not to say this dense 15,000 long-lined "poem" with no punctuation marks is very readable, in fact its a terrible challenge. I read 3,500 lines and feel that's enough for awhile. This is an hallucinatory stream of dreamtime images sometimes coalescing into an identifiable narrative for a bit before dissolving back into the torrential flood of passing language, taking their shapes from the African ...more
Aug 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Hello Stanfordites!

I'm writing a Master's Thesis on Stanford and can't fucking find where this quote is in this book: "Because none of you know what
you want follow me/ because I'm not going anywhere/ I'll just bleed so the stars can have something dark to
shine in."


Thank you for your help and for keeping Frankie alive.

Hope everyone is buying the re-issued books (The Singing K
Sep 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Hands down the best American book of the 20th century. A bold claim I know, but I stand by it. There's a great little essay on Frank Standford at Alsop Review "It was Lorca who noted that poets have to be able to use the image to fuse details of the infinitesimally small with astronomic intuitions."

By the way if you go to buy this, don't do it through Amazon, way way too expensive. Try Amherst Books, the sometimes get it in stock.
Carmelo Valone
Probably the purest form of Southern Gothic poetry you'd even want to find and or read. I'm sure that this comment will piss off nearly every academic from here to Zurich, but this epic poem is better than the fucking Iliad by Homer.

A postmodernist Southern poet's take on the epic poem. Bleak and beautifully rendered, not unlike any finely crafted and or prepared corpse for an open casket viewing.

Be unafraid to wear black while reading this.
Molly Moore
Jun 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Absolute perfection in print. Frank Stanford was, in my semi-humble opinion, one of the most brilliant minds in (and one of the most important contributors to) the history of the written word. Highly underrated, wholly life changing... I'm still shocked this book isn't on every high school's reading list.
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poems
"all of this/ is magic against death/ all of this ends/ with to be continued/ I wave so long with a handkerchief/ to the horses on the range of my dreams".......... this book completely destroyed me. wrecked.
Jun 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
some of the most beautiful poetry i have ever read, so very sad that Stanford did not live on to write more, his portraits of the South show his sensitivity and perhaps hint at his pending suicide, intense.
Mar 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
absolutely delicious so far...
Feb 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is rough around the edges, but this is a poetry with images that are truly amazing, hence five stars.
An example: "I'll just bleed so the stars will have something dark to shine in."
Guion Pratt
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
THE feelgood summer romantic page turner of 1977. Excellent beach reading.
Jan 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, long-poems
This poem will drag you under its lines like the Mississippi drowning in darkness a child fallen from the bank. You will be glad for the burning in your lungs.
Aug 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Epic, violent, sexual, hilarious...a tome of a book that never has a dull moment. Stanford's lines are all spectacular.
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Frank Stanford was a prolific American poet. He is most known for his epic, The Battlefield Where The Moon Says I Love You— a labyrinthine poem without stanzas or punctuation. In addition, Stanford published six shorter books of poetry throughout his 20s, and three posthumous collections of his writings (as well as a book of selected poems) have also been published.

Just shy of his 30th
“tonight the gars on trees are swords in the hands of knights
the stars are like twenty-seven dancing russians and the wind
“before men could speak they enjoyed confounding another with signs
they enjoyed this as much as a mirror enjoys an image
as much as the evening like a ship enjoys a sapphire grave”
More quotes…