Synopses & Reviews
Bret and Kim Stafford, the oldest children of the poet and pacifist William Stafford, were pals. Bret was the good son, the obedient public servant, Kim the itinerant wanderer. In this family of two parent teachers, with its intermittent celebration of "talking recklessly," there was a code of silence about hard things: "Why tell what hurts?" As childhood pleasures ebbed, this reticence took its toll on Bret, unable to reveal his troubles. Against a backdrop of the 1960s — puritan in the summer of love, pacifist in the Vietnam era — Bret became a casualty of his interior war and took his life in 1988. 100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do casts spells in search of the lost brother: climbing the water tower to stand naked under the moon, cowboys and Indians with real bullets, breaking into church to play a serenade for God, struggling for love, and making bail. In this book, through a brothers devotions, the lost saint teaches us about depression, the tender ancestry of violence, the quest for harmonious relations, and finally the trick of joy.
"Kim Stafford tries to come to terms with his brother's death, through short poetic narratives about growing up together, and about his failure to notice his brother's hidden and not-so-hidden signs of depression." San Antonio Express-News
"Then, after so many years unable to work it all out, the encouragement of a new friend led to the remembering. And remembering led to the writing of this beautiful and brave story — a story in which Kim Stafford put his arm around his brother, once again. And as they walked together, everything was OK." The Eugene Register-Guard
About the Author
Kim Stafford is a writer and teacher living in Portland, Oregon. He is the founding director of the Northwest Writing Institute, a zone for exploratory writing at Lewis and Clark College. His books include Having Everything Right: Essays of Place (Sasquatch Books), The Muses Among Us: Eloquent Listening and other Pleasures of the Writers Craft (University of Georgia Press), A Thousand Friends of Rain: New and Selected Poems (Carnegie Mellon University Press), and Early Morning: Remembering My Father, William Stafford (Graywolf Press).
Read exclusive essays by Kim Stafford from 2012