Trinity University Press

Kim Stafford on Breaking the Silence

Portland writer Kim Stafford has struggled to make sense out of the suicide of his brother, Bret, for twenty-five years. Though Bret was just fourteen months older, Kim always looked to him as a leader and a teacher. When he shot himself at age forty in 1988, nobody in Bret’s family knew how much he was struggling.

Members of the Stafford family, even their father and poet William Stafford, couldn’t bring themselves to speak or write about Bret's loss. It was largely up to Kim Stafford to break the family silence. His memoir, 100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do, is the story of his brother’s life and death and its devastating and transformational effect on Kim and his family. Hear the story here.

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