On letter writing

Debra sent this beautiful essay to me, so I thought I would share it. It echoes much of what I feel about the art of letter writing, and of course, it is related to the book we are reading for this month.



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The Delicacy and Strength of Lace


For this month we are reading The Delicacy and Strength of Lace, which is the correspondence between the poet James Wright and the novelist Leslie Marmon Silko. Here is the synopsis from Amazon:

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.

We will meet again on February 9th, 8:30 pm. Hope to see you all then. And remember that we would still like to a add a few new members to the group. Perhaps some guys? So invite some like-minded literary friends to come along.

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Owen Meany reminder

Just a reminder that we are meeting tomorrow, Thursday, the 12th, 8:30 at my place to discuss John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany. Hope to see you all there. Not sure what kind of treat I’ll have; feel free to bring anything.

Bring along whatever else you have been reading to share with the others, and bring ideas for next month’s book.

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John Irving: A Prayer for Owen Meany


For this month we are reading A Prayer for Owen Meany by  John Irving. We will meet again on Thursday evening, January 12. More details to follow. Happy reading and Merry Christmas to you all.

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November 30 Poem

Angle of Repose

The angle of repose, or critical angle of repose, of a granular material is the steepest angle of descent or dip relative to the horizontal plane to which a material can be piled without slumping. At this angle, the material on the slope face is on the verge of sliding. The angle of repose can range from 0° to 90.

 I’m slumping,

clawing at the earth

as it tilts, and I’m slowly

sliding toward the abyss.

What is my angle of repose?

When I’m not slumping and sliding

the earth stops abruptly and I’m off balance,

like stepping off a merry-go-round,

I’m weaving around like a drunk,

off balance and disoriented.

This life is a slag heap

thrown in my path

blocking my way,

one step up

two back.


I’m slumping,

clawing at the slope

as it tilts away and I’m

off balance, sliding

toward the abyss.

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Rick Bass and Salt

Just a reminder that we are meeting tomorrow night (Dec. 1, 8:30 pm) to discuss the works of Rick Bass. I am also planning a little salt tasting. If you have any interesting salts, bring them to add to the 5 or 6 that I have. You might also consider bringing something sweet to balance out the night.

As usual, feel free to share with the others what you have been reading, and if you are a writer, we can even do a little workshopping if you like.

See you tomorrow.

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November 29 Poem

Sometimes I try to remember

what her body felt like lying

next to me in bed, or how

her voice sounded when we

were alone and she spoke softly.

I try to remember what she looked

like when she was happy,

and the smells that came from the kitchen.

You’d think these memories

would come easily—

just take them down from the

shelf like old familiar, loved books,

and browse through them with a smile,

but they’re lost now and I cannot

find them. I’ve searched everywhere

but they have simply vanished,

and I am left trying to imagine

what she was like in that

time before the sky fell upon us.

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