Thom Gunn

(29 August 1929 – 25 April 2004 / England)

Thom Gunn
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an Anglo-American poet who was praised both for his early verses in England, where he was associated with The Movement and his later poetry in America, even after moving toward a looser, free-verse style. After relocating from England to San Francisco, Gunn, who became openly gay, wrote about gay-related topics — particularly in his most famous work, The Man With Night Sweats in 1992 — as well as drug use, sex, and topics related to his bohemian lifestyle. He won numerous major literary awards. more »

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Quotations

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  • ''the slow passion
    to that deliberate progress.''
    Thom Gunn (b. 1929), Anglo-American poet. Considering the Snail (l. 17-18). . . Collected Poems [Thom Gunn]. (1994) Faber and Faber.
  • ''He
    moves in a wood of desire,

    pale antlers barely stirring
    as he hunts. I cannot tell
    what power is at work, drenched there
    with purpose, knowing nothing.''
    Thom Gunn (b. 1929), Anglo-American poet. Considering the Snail (l. 5-10). . . Collected Poems [Thom Gunn]. (1994) Faber and Faber.
  • ''Distorting hackneyed words in hackneyed songs
    He turns revolt into a style, prolongs
    The impulse to a habit of the time.''
    Thom Gunn (b. 1929), British poet. Elvis Presley, The Sense of Movement (1957). The poem gave George Melly the title for his study of the pop arts...
  • ''O wily painter, limiting the scene
    From a cacophony of dusty forms
    To the one convulsion,''
    Thom Gunn (b. 1929), Anglo-American poet. In Santa Maria del Popolo (l. 13-15). . . Collected Poems [Thom Gunn]. (1994) Faber and Faber.
  • ''The painter saw what was, an alternate
    Candor and secrecy inside the skin.''
    Thom Gunn (b. 1929), Anglo-American poet. In Santa Maria del Popolo (l. 19-20). . . Collected Poems [Thom Gunn]. (1994) Faber and Faber.
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