"Joe Stanco...an energy field of poetry..."
Random notes and links about late great Dallas poet
Compiled and edited by Marquetta P. Herring, June 20, 2002.         Visit Joe's page at Dallas Arts Revue!
Last update: May 29, 2006. Scroll down for new note
and/or visit http://allpoetry.com/poem/2039144
to read Toni Christman's column dedicated to Joe oOo--------oOo--------oOo

Dallas poet Joe Stanco (center) with VICTOR DADA performance ensemble at Paperbacks Plus bookstore in Mesquite, Texas, 1981. Photo by Ron DeJulius.
Above photo: Joe Stanco (center) with "Victor Dada" performance ensemble on July 1, 1981, at Paperbacks Plus in Mesquite, Texas.
From left to right: Gary Deen, Ken Shaddock, Joe Stanco, Chris Stanco, and Tom Henvey (names provided by Tommy Stanco). Photo ©1981 by Ron DeJulius.

Joe Stanco was one of the founding board members of the Writer's Garret, a full-service 501(c)(3) nonprofit literary center in North Texas, dedicated "to fostering the development of writers and audiences by putting them in touch with quality literature, each other, and the communities in which they live and write." The Writer's Garret office is located upstairs at Paperbacks Plus, 6115 La Vista Drive, Dallas, Texas.

I couldn't get a good scan of the most excellent photo they ran with it so I've made do with the following which was given out at the memorial service at St. Pius Catholic Church on the evening following Joe's funeral at a local national cemetery where he was buried, much to my surprise, with other veterans. Didn't know he was a vet. Anyway, the little photo is laminated, and on my monitor the skin tones look a bit too red but what the heck. We're making do. That's what we always do. Here's what's printed on the back:
Joseph Martin Stanco
7/4/1947 - 6/5/2002
Listen to Joe Stanco
"Thinking About Language"

(2.7 megabyte MP3 - Track 11
from Victor Dada's Chants of a Lifetime
CD featuring Joe Stanco and the band.
MP3 is a direct link from
Dallas Arts Revue.)

Loving Husband & Father
Conscientious Teacher
Loyal Friend
Accomplished Poet
Fine Intellect
Pleasant Company
Barbecue King
& All-Around Good Guy
Joe was loved by many
and will be missed
by us all.

Joe Stanco http://www.dallasnews.com/obituaries/stories/060702dnmetstanco.526d8.html
Joe Stanco: Poet, musician and teacher
06/07/2002 By JEROME WEEKS / The Dallas Morning News

Dallas poet, musician and teacher Joe Stanco died Wednesday evening in his East Dallas home with his family. He suffered from malignant melanoma cancer, which had been operated on nine years ago but which had spread to his lymph system.

Making witty lyrics and silly sounds was something that Joseph Martin Stanco, 54, inherited – and passed on. Mr. Stanco's grandfather was a drummer in vaudeville. Mr. Stanco joined his four brothers in the late '80s in Stanco and Co., a local band with an eclectic, oddball style.

He was also the father of Natalie, Gabrielle and Hilary, three members of the Ideal Females, an all-girl group that enjoyed local popularity in the '90s. His daughters were still in elementary school when they began playing clubs, so he and his wife, Michele, had to enforce a school-night ban on gigs.

Perhaps most famously, Mr. Stanco was a founding member of Victor Dada, the comedy-poetry-music troupe that in 1986 had something to do with the founding and development of Club Dada, a mainstay of the Deep Ellum scene.

"It all goes back to that little red shed in back of Joe's house on Victor Street," Mr. Stanco's brother Tommy said Thursday of Victor Dada's early experimentation with sound poetry and performance art. In the '70s, "they were just banging on pots and pans in the living room with mikes strung from the ceiling. Then they moved to the shed and started writing on the walls with Marks-A-Lots." That's where the idea took hold of re-creating the efforts of dadaism, the post-World War I "anti-art" movement. Hence, the name, Victor Dada.

Tom Henvey, another Victor Dada member, said that instead of standing around and being serious, the poets and artists "got up with whips and pop guns and blew bubbles."

Mr. Stanco was not involved in the running of Club Dada. Instead, he taught at Richland College, heading the honors program.

Mr. Stanco's poems were included in DART's Poetry in Motion program. His CD and book, Dallason, includes "Roll on, Trinity." Mr. Stanco said in 1999 that he'd watched the city try to kill the Trinity River over the years, so he decided to give it an elegy.

Tommy Stanco said that his brother had been at work on a second CD inspired by the car-accident deaths of their sister and her husband in 1980.

A memorial for Mr. Stanco will be 7 p.m. Saturday at St. Pius Catholic Church. A benefit for his family will be June 18 at Club Dada. Another benefit June 25 at Poor David's Pub will feature performances by Sara Hickman and Randy Erwin. On July 4 – what would have been Mr. Stanco's 55th birthday – a celebratory reading of his writings will be held at Paperbacks Plus.

E-mail Jerome Weeks

Date: Sat, 08 Jun 2002
From: Amy Martin (aka "Moonlady")
Joe Stanco was a long-time contributor to JR Compton's Dallas Arts Revue. There is a page on Joe at the DAR web site, including a photo and an MP3 of him performing Thinking About Language.
Literary Works by Joe Stanco
On this page:
My Children
recollection #5281
The Pantheist's Gardens
Pagan Poets
recollection #860
Other works by Joe Stanco on DallasArtsRevue.com:
The Fairfield Journal
Joe's Biased Review of Viva La Vulva
Thinking About Language ( 2.7 megabyte MP3 - Track 11 from Victor Dada's Chants of a Lifetime CD featuring Joe Stanco )

Amy Martin, aka "Moonlady," sent
this additional sad news about the death of Joe's father.

Strange. I thought he'd been dead for years.
So much for that bit of misinformation.

Date: Wed, 12 Jun 2002 10:01:56 -0500
Joseph Orlando Stanco: Former Morning News pressman
By LAKISHA LADSON / The Dallas Morning News

Joseph Orlando Stanco, a former Dallas Morning News employee, died Sunday, four days after the death of his son, Joseph Martin Stanco, a founding member of Victor Dada.

The comedy-poetry-music troupe led to the development of Deep Ellum's Club Dada.

"It seemed like my brother's death precipitated my dad going downhill," said the elder Mr. Stanco's son, Chris Stanco of Pleasant Grove.

Services for Mr. Stanco, 81, who died at his Pleasant Grove home, were Tuesday at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.

Mr. Stanco was born Oct. 21, 1920, in Philadelphia. He served during World War II in the Army as a staff sergeant and USO singer.

After his service in the Army, Mr. Stanco worked in The Dallas Morning News pressroom from 1946 until he retired in 1966.

Throughout illnesses that included tuberculosis, a stroke, congestive heart failure and chronic stomach problems, Mr. Stanco was able to be a leader in his family.

He "had a real commanding presence but was real honest and straightforward with people," Chris Stanco said.

"He was strong through the whole time, but he was there for people ... and was still the father and demanded respect from people."

Mr. Stanco was a pinochle enthusiast, mechanic and 1930s music lover.

He is also survived by daughters Linda Jobe of Plano and Mae Whitten of Farmers Branch; sons Tony Stanco of Alexandria, Va., Philip Stanco of Fairfield, Texas, and Tommy Stanco of Dallas; 14 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

NOW WE END UP RIGHT BACK WHERE WE STARTED FROM with the Paperbacks Plus Calendar entry for the July 4, 2002, Celebratory Reading honoring Joe Stanco who, as Texas poet Naomi Shihab Nye wrote, was "an energy field of poetry."

Thursday, July 4, 2002, from 7:00-8:30 pm.

Dallason cover DALLASON (book & CD set) by Joe Stanco is available for $12 at or from Paperbacks Plus, 6115 La Vista Drive, in East Dallas. You'll find it prominently displayed at the checkout counter.

There's also a donation box for anyone who'd like to drop off some small or large change or a check made out to Michelle Stanco. The family could use an extra hand up after Joe's long illness. The last time I talked to him he said, "Michelle's gonna need some money." Special thanks to San Antonio based poet Naomi Shihab Nye whose check for Michelle arrived yesterday with a note of appreciation for Joe's "energy field of poetry." I read it to the folks at the Club Dada benefit last night (June 18, 2002), and I'll read it again on July 4th at the bookstore. For more information please call us at 214-827-4860 or see Tommy Stanco (Joe's little bro), at The Balcony Club.

Joe Stanco was a long-time contributor to JR Compton's Dallas Arts Revue, and there's a great page on Joe at the DAR web site, including a photo and an MP3 of him performing "Thinking About Language." http://www.dallasartsrevue.com/members/S/Stanco/Joe_Stanco.shtml

Another benefit featuring performances by Sara Hickman and Randy Erwin will be held on
Tuesday, June 25, 2002, at Poor David's Pub.

End note: June 20, 2002
I'm sorry it took me so long to put this together. Unlike Naomi Shihab Nye, I did know Joe, but more from a distance than up close and personal. Our literary paths crossed from time to time over a number of years, and as I told his wife, Michelle, whom I also knew slightly from my son's Montessori school, "The Stancos" just looked and sounded so very very good from where I stood. One of their daughters, Gabrielle, even worked at the bookstore once upon a time, like Roxy Gordon's kids, but not nearly as long.

Toni Christman (formerly Atchley) dedicates poems and column to Joe Stanco...

Date: Mon, 29 May 2006
To: marq@lonestarwebstation.com
From: "Christman-LeBlanc" (by way of Lucky Dog Books )
Subject: Personal to Marquetta: Regarding Joe Stanco

Dear Marquetta,

Although it has been many, many years since we last talked, I am hoping you will remember me as one of your performance poets and a good friend of Joe Stanco. I came to your store in Mesquite many times in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and at the time we discussed you publishing some of my work in an anthology you were preparing. I moved to Wisconsin shortly after that, but I now live in Houston.

I am writing to you to share a column I have written for Allpoetry.com. I intended to use Joe’s insights into Dada; perhaps to contact him again. Woefully I found that he had passed away almost 4 years ago. Accordingly, I have dedicated the column to him. I hope you will find the column interesting. Perhaps you will want to add it to your collection of memories of Joe. Please feel free to do so if you wish. It is my tribute to him.

If not for mentors and sponsors like you and Joe, I would not be the poet I am today. I remember all of you fondly.

Best regards,

Toni Christman (formerly Atchley)
Click on the above link to read Toni's complete column containing a brief history and description of the Dada Artistic Movement (1916-1923) and two of her poems, all dedicated to Joe (or scroll on down to look into image of eye and read the one which I have taken the liberty of copying and saving for the archives.

Here's lookin' at you, kid : ) oOo--------oOo--------oOo

Adios, Darling

Seven cities of Cibola
Gold and Shining Gemstones,
Bro bro cantos,
Soloy loy cantos,
Chick a chick a cantos.
Bro bro bones dried
At noonlight.
Nasty noise that,
Bones clicking in
Hawk talons at


Poem and image of eye © 2006 Toni Christman.

"Joe Stanco...an energy field of poetry..."
(From a letter from Naomi Shihab Nye, distinguished Texas poet.)

Listen to Joe "Thinking About Language"
(2.7 megabyte MP3 - Track 11 from Victor Dada's Chants of a Lifetime
CD featuring Joe Stanco and the band. MP3 is a direct link from Dallas Arts Revue.)

Questions? Comments? Click here to e-mail me.

© 2002-2006 Marquetta P. Herring. All names, images, music, text and other items contained within are copyrighted material of the respective artists and/or their representative agents, unless otherwise specified (where known). I hope that the material presented here will result in a higher awareness of the music and poetry of Joe Stanco. If anyone objects to the use of any of these, please e-mail me and said items will be removed.