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The Delicacy and Strength of Lace Paperback – November 1, 1985

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Editorial Reviews Review

This tender volume follows the blossoming friendship through letters between Pulitzer Prize-winning poet James Wright and the then-young poet and novelist Leslie Marmon Silko. The charming correspondences, which unfurled over the final year and a half of Wright's life (1978-1980), are all about the difficulties and sweet pleasures of life, work, writing, and encounters with mean roosters. Silko considers the ways in which her work is imbued with the spirit of her Laguna Pueblo Indian heritage. Wright discusses the need to let a poem sit for a while before showing it to the world, as a poem "goes through changes ... when you leave it alone patiently, just as surely as a plant does, or an animal, or any other creature." Together they 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.

From Publishers Weekly

Laguna Pueblo Indian writer Silko met Pulitzer Prizewinning poet Wright at a writers' conference and the two subsequently struck up an extraordinarily intimate 18-month correspondence that ended with Wright's death of cancer in 1980 at the age of 52. While the writers comment upon one another's work, and several of Silko's poems are included, neither author addresses literary concerns in other than the broadest terms. Early on, Silko writes: "I remember the poems you readnew ones . . . It was those that moved me." But the reader is never given enough specific comment to speculate upon the writing to which she refers, even if a clear assessment was offered. Wright is equally vague in his evaluations, and the result is a vapid reciprocity of discourse that delivers little insight into either writer's ouevre.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press; 1st edition (November 1, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0915308746
  • ISBN-13: 978-0915308743
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,503,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 10, 1997
Format: Paperback
_The Delicacy and Strength of Lace_ is an incredibly moving exchange between two great American poets who only met briefly on two occasions: Wright heard Silko read from her work which initiated the correspondence; Silko visited Wright on his deathbed. In between they exchanged letters about their everyday existences, everything from Silko's rooster to the nature of another animal, the human animal.

Wright's inititial letter told Silko of his high regard for her book, _Ceremony_ and it's importance and stature in American literature. The letters quickly take on the knowing, personal feel of two people who have known each other for years. The reader is drawn into their lives and, especially, their visions. I recently re-read the book, and once again found myself examining along with the writers the very heart and nature of our existence in this vale of tears.

Fans of the poetry of either will find this exchange especially enlightening, but I came to it unfamiiliar with either and found its simplicity and yet its warmth and vision compelling. I often give it as a gift. My copy has been around the world.

This is a book to read, relish and re-read. Most readers will probably move next to the works of these two wonderfully compassionate soulmates. Many of Silko's poems appear in the letters.
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By Joseph M Shea on January 14, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of the most touching love stories I have read in recent years. It's a rare thing to be able to glimpse the hearts of two noted poets who fall in love through an exchange of letters; especially so since the letters are spontaneous and unrevised. I don't know how it took me so long to find this book.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By G. Pilcher on February 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is only the second time I have tried buying a used book through Amazon. The first time I bought a used book that was listed in "good" condition, the book arrived within a week and it looked like a brand new copy. I ordered this book, which happens to be a collection of letters between my older sister (I lost my inscribed edition) and poet James Wright, because I saw it was available in "good" condition. It took almost four weeks for it to arrive and it's condition was not described accurately. It had the last two or three pages at the very back of the book torn out. While these pages may be blank, they are still part of a "whole" book which what I thought I was buying. Next, there was writing all over the inside cover pages, over the second inside pages, underlining and "notes" through out the book, and writing on the inside of the back cover. If I had known this, I would not have purchased this book as there were other copies listed for sale that were advertised in better condition than what this "good" copy was. Maybe the first time I bought a used copy I was just lucky. It was a different seller who was more than honest about the condition of those books. They were in what I would call "pristine" or "mint" condition even if the seller called them "good.". This copy I just received today was not in good condition.....maybe fair condition with pages torn out and writing all though the book. I will not buy from this seller again.
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