Letters to a Stranger: Poems
The searing collection, a cult favorite for decades, by the late Thomas James
I will last forever. I am not impatient—
My skin will wait to greet its old complexions.
I’ll lie here till the world swims back again.
—from “Mummy of a Lady Named Jemutesonekh” Thomas James’s Letters to a Stranger—originally published in 1973, shortly before James’s suicide—has become one of the underground classics of contemporary poetry. In this new edition, with an introduction by Lucie Brock-Broido and four of James’s poems never before published in book form, this fraught and moving masterpiece is at last available.
Letters to a Stranger is a new book in the Graywolf Poetry Re/View Series, edited by Mark Doty, dedicated to bringing essential books of contemporary American poetry back into print.
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Review: Letters to a Stranger: PoemsUser Review - Scott Wiggerman - Goodreads
Amazing collection--James' only--that brings to mind Plath and Sexton at their best. Yes, there's a tragic quality to the poems, but it doesn't interfere with their superb use of metaphor and imagery, which can actually be rather comic. This poet deserves a wider audience! Read full review
Review: Letters to a Stranger: PoemsUser Review - Joe Sullivan - Goodreads
This collection has haunted me since I've finished it. I've had dreams from the perspective of the narrator of a couple of the poems. It's probably not for everyone, since it deals quite a bit with death, decay and the end of things. But the language is very affecting. Read full review
Introduction by Lucie BrockBroido
The Chestnut Branch
Magdalene in the Garden
Letters to a Stranger