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The Delicacy and Strength of Lace: Letters Between Leslie Marmon Silko and James Wright
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The Delicacy and Strength of Lace: Letters Between Leslie Marmon Silko and James Wright

4.5  ·  Rating Details ·  162 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
This moving, eighteen-month exchange of correspondence chronicles the friendship-through-the-mail of two extraordinary writers.
Leslie Marmon Silko is a poet and novelist. James Wright won the Pulitzer Prize in 1972 for his "Collected Poems." They met only twice. First, briefly, in 1975, at a writers conference in Michigan. Their correspondence began three years later, aft
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Paperback, 106 pages
Published April 1st 1986 by Graywolf Press (first published November 1st 1985)
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Community Reviews

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Greta
Aug 16, 2012 Greta rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
this book of letters is so exquisite! i've devoured it-- watching the intimacy grow between these two poets over the sharing of the small things that become profound is so, well, extraordinary really-- from the cautious formality of the first handful of letters to the movement toward the familiar and fond-- nicknames and "love" to close--and then the beginning to reveal personal crises and preoccupations--
to share hearts and the pain in them-- as silko writes: " i believe more than ever that it
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Jeff
Nov 11, 2012 Jeff rated it it was amazing
James Wright had only recently happened upon a renewal in his patterns of work when he met Leslie Marmon Silko at an academic conference, then wrote her essentially a fan letter in response to reading her fine novel, Ceremony; returning his letter, Silko suggested that she might hear him out in his implicit offer to mentor her, and gently bring along a career that probably anyway did not require his mentorship. None of which turned out to be pertinent, for before the friendship had grown much be ...more
Art
Mar 22, 2008 Art rated it it was amazing
This book was great to stumble upon, really timely for me, and inspiring. Its the letter correspondence between Leslie Marmon Silko ("Ceremony", "Laguna Woman" and other great books) and James Wright ("The Branch Will Not Break" among other poetry collections) and they write about their lives, writing, story telling, the nature of solitude, and the vitality of spirit that informs both of their writings. The letters are longer from Leslie, and really let you into her thought process and character ...more
Kerry
Jan 30, 2008 Kerry rated it liked it
"I am overwhelmed sometimes and feel a great deal of wonder at words, just simple words and how deeply we can touch each other with them, though I know that most of the time language is the most abused of all human abilities or traits. But as you said, you can't or won't be indifferent. I realize many wonderful things about language--"realize" in the sense of feeling or understanding intuitively: I realize such things most often when I am greatly concerned with another person's feelings. I think ...more
Carolyn
Dec 28, 2015 Carolyn rated it really liked it
I’ve always been a sucker for the epistolary, whether fiction or not (as here).

These are really quite lovely, however, in their own right. Poets with great command of language, imagery, sensory. Their friendship grows across the page and their words become quite magical as they get to the nitty gritty of their lives.

Lovely, and sometimes, sad to read. I can’t remember where I saw this book recommended now, but I’m so glad I did.

Really makes you want to do nothing else but curl up with collection
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Monica Madaus
May 04, 2016 Monica Madaus rated it really liked it
I have occasionally seen someone say in print Keats' in loved in part for his letters as well as his poems. Some of the off-hand anecdotes here would suggest it. And it is fun to listen in on writers of this caliber musing about the things they have written, where, why and the things they plan to do next. The fact there wasn't much next left for Wright at this point is handled as an incidental. Which will recommend it to some and not others, I suppose.
Elaine
Mar 27, 2008 Elaine rated it it was amazing
Again, an oldie that I have to dig deep in the memory banks to conjure up details for -- but a book that I truly loved that left a deep imprint in my mind. In this book Leslie Marmon Silko (famed author of Yellow Woman, among others) corresponds by letter with author James Wright as he is dying of cancer. Their letters are beautiful and moving, because of their writing abilities and the deep connection they create. This is a very moving book.
Mark Valentine
Mar 01, 2016 Mark Valentine rated it it was amazing
My goodness! I am glad I read this book sitting down. The exquisite language expressed in the exchanged letters between Silko and Wright exceeds my expectations. The book has an expert title: perfect.

I am moved by the sensitivity of the two artists; I sense that they held (and Silko still does) a magnanimous kindness and high regard for language and storytelling and delicate experience--I think this a marvelous book.
Raelene
Dec 24, 2007 Raelene rated it really liked it
A beautiful correspondence. The writing is quite engaging - and it's always fun to read someone else's letters (grin). It's made me want to read some of their published work - to continue the vein of the prose and bits of everydayness that they describe so eloquently. I wish we all wrote more letters - real, tear open the envelope, unfold the paper letters.
Allie
Apr 23, 2012 Allie rated it it was amazing
This is the first book in a long time that I have really loved. The letters between Silko and Wright are gorgeous and surprisingly touching, even when they are just writing about roosters or the difficulties of being both a teacher and a writer. It also made me appreciate them as writers even more than before. I want to buy copies for everyone.
Sally Brock
Nov 23, 2015 Sally Brock rated it it was amazing
Books like this make me terrifically nostalgic for handwritten letters. Here are two writers who'd met only briefly, who learn to develop a friendship with some real intimacy. Oh that it was so brief and that James Wright passed away so young. It seems to me that they needed each other for balance and support. I loved it.
Mark
Dec 15, 2007 Mark rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: WRITERS
SHORTLY BEFORE JAMES WRIGHT PASSED OVER, HE AND LESLIE MARMON SILKO BEGAN A CORRESPONDENCE ABOUT WRITING. WRIGHT'S WIDOW PUBLISHED THEIR CORRESPONDENCE. AFTER THE FIRST COURTEOUS EXCHANGES IN WHICH BOTH AUTHORS OFFER THEIR ADMIRATION FOR ONE ANOTHER'S WORK, THEIR LETTERS, ESPECIALLY SILKO'S, BECOME MORE DETAILED AND PERSONAL.

Rachel Wagner
Aug 07, 2007 Rachel Wagner rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs, topten
I love this book. It is kind of a fantasy for any letter writer. These 2 fabulous poets manage to create a powerful non-sexual relationship through the written word alone. The message this book espouses is that friendship is important and that it deserves to be prized and treated with reverance and care.
Cameron
Aug 26, 2007 Cameron rated it it was amazing
If you like Leslie Marmon Silko or James Wright, these letters back and forth, before Wright passed away, are one of the most amazing sets around. It follows a friendship unfolding, and the lives of two writers. Not sure if they even deserve to be in book form, they are incredibly intimate and... sacred. Truly amazing and touching.
Luisa
Aug 11, 2009 Luisa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biographies
This book is a gem displaying the friendship between two poets I admire, James Wright and Leslie Marmon Silko. The language in the letters is poetry itself and the friendship that develops between people who meet twice in their lives is beautiful to read.
Sharon
Oct 15, 2007 Sharon rated it it was amazing
21 years later, this conversation between Leslie Marmon Silko and James Wright is still an inspiring and poignant read.
Trina
Jun 24, 2008 Trina rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is a lovely and touching collection of letters between the old poet James Wright and the young writer Leslie Marmon Silko. Both down to earth and transcendent. Perfect title.
Nancy Nelson
Jul 02, 2009 Nancy Nelson rated it it was amazing
I love the poetry of Silko expressed through her letters to Wright. I love their friendship blooming through letters. A beautiful book.
Sitaphul
Jun 14, 2010 Sitaphul rated it it was amazing
Stunning. Letters from one of the most truthful writers ever to have written, with another writer who, by the strength of their words to each other, I hope to read soon.
Nathalie
Jan 03, 2008 Nathalie rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and tender letters between Pulitzer Prize-winning poet James Wright during the final year and a half of his life and the then-young poet and novelist Leslie Marmon Silko.
Michelle
Dec 12, 2009 Michelle rated it it was amazing
A moving collection of letters between two very talented and human writers. Beautiful and inspiring.
Julie
Mar 25, 2015 Julie rated it it was amazing
I reread this book to see if I would love it as much as I did when I was nineteen. I did. An amazing correspondence about writing and life.
Onnahill
Jan 15, 2009 Onnahill rated it it was amazing
The growth and development from acquaintance to dear friends, the power of words and trust, heartbreak in another sort of way.
Nicole
Aug 25, 2007 Nicole rated it liked it
something magical about this book that earns it its title - and who doesn't love the voyeurism of reading a 2-way correspondence?
Anne
Jan 11, 2013 Anne rated it liked it
I still like "84 Charing Cross Road" better but this is along the same lines. It has a couple of quotations that I like so I now know the source and context.
Maggie K
Maggie K rated it liked it
Jan 18, 2011
Debbie Griffith
Debbie Griffith rated it really liked it
Feb 21, 2016
Karen Sbrockeu
Karen Sbrockeu rated it it was amazing
Aug 24, 2016
Kelly Doddridge
Kelly Doddridge rated it liked it
Sep 27, 2014
Fennec
Fennec rated it it was amazing
Mar 17, 2014
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Leslie Marmon Silko (born Leslie Marmon; born March 5, 1948) is a Native American writer of the Laguna Pueblo tribe, and one of the key figures in the First Wave of what literary critic Kenneth Lincoln has called the Native American Renaissance.

Silko was a debut recipient of the MacArthur Foundation Grant, now known as the "Genius Grant", in 1981 and the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas Life
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