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The Delicacy and Strength of Lace

Letters Between Leslie Marmon Silko and James Wright
Edited by Anne Wright; New Afterword by Joy Harjo
Dear Leslie: Of course I can’t know whether or not the world looks strange to God. But sometimes it looks strange to me.

Leslie Marmon Silko and James Wright met only twice. First, briefly, in 1975, at a writers’ conference in Michigan. Their correspondence began three years later, after Wright wrote to Silko praising her book Ceremony. The letters began formally, and then each writer gradually opened to the other, sharing his or her life, work, and struggles. The second meeting between the two writers came in a hospital room, as Wright lay dying of cancer.

The New York Times wrote something of Wright that applies to both writers—of qualities that this exchange of letters makes evident: “Our age desperately needs his vision of brotherly love, his transcendent sense of nature, the clarity of his courageous voice.”

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The timeless exchange of advice and friendship between two of our greatest literary talents

About the Author

James Wright was born in Martins Ferry, Ohio. He was well known for his translations of Vallejo, Trakl, and Neruda, as well as for his poems about the Midwest. His Collected Poems won the Pulitzer Prize in 1972. He died in 1980, at the age of 52.
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Leslie Marmon Silko’s books include Ceremony, Almanac of the Dead, Storyteller, and Gardens in the Dunes. She is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Grant, among numerous other awards and fellowships. She lives in Tucson, Arizona.
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  • “This moving volume is a testament to the value of epistolary literature. There could not be a more apt title for these letters, which trace the strength of a loving friendship conducted with the utmost delicacy.”—Pleiades
  • “[Wright and Silko] explore the catharsis of storytelling, the overwhelming power of words (‘how deeply we can touch each other with them,’ writes Silko), and the beauty of a gentle yet passionate friendship between like-minded souls.”—
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