Thomas James
Letters To A Stranger

Originally published 1973
Reissued by Graywolf Press, 2008
Jacket photo: Gil Ross | Jacket design: Kyle G. Hunter


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. 
Introduction by Lucie Brock-Broido
Read selected poetry from Letters To A Stranger


Praise for Letters To A Stranger

“Self-dramatizing, brilliantly imaginative, wildly sad, they long, with romantic futility, to be heard, reveling and wallowing in the wide spaces of their privacy.” 
—Publisher’s Weekly
, starred review read more

Letters to a Stranger is a book of dark intensities and deeply felt connections, both haunted and haunting, at once brooding, sensual and lucid . . . The voice in these poems – painfully lonely and filled with longing, estranged and religious – has stayed with me for more than twenty years. It deserves to be remembered.”
The Washington Post

"The triumph of the volume, and of the inner ear that tuned them, and of its recovery, is indisputable. It frequently stops a reader in her tracks, only to retrace them: “I have sketched the soft orchard, the whorl of time. / A gold leaf skips over the hardwood floor, / And nobody minds what these dark things have become.” 
—Tess Taylor, The Boston Review read more