Selected Poems of Thom Gunn

Selected Poems of Thom Gunn

Last 1 in stock
ISBN
9780571327690
Published
06/07/2017
9780571327690
Format
Hardback
Price
£16.99
Paperback
336

About the Book

Thom Gunn has been described as ‘one of the most singular and compelling poets in English during the past half-century’ (TLS). This Selected Poems, compiled by his friend Clive Wilmer and accompanied by insightful notes, is the first edition to represent the full arc of Gunn’s inimitable career.

‘The poetry of Thom Gunn was much admired in his lifetime, and at the same time often misunderstood and underestimated. The scale of his achievement, and its uniqueness – a masterful Elizabethan lyric poet writing in the second half of the twentieth century – is just now becoming properly appreciated. Anonymous in voice, even in the service of the most intimate subject matter, acute in observation, particularly the urban experience, with San Francisco the principal site, Gunn is not merely the poet of the druggy ’60s in California or the plague of the AIDS epidemic, but of the deeper-running themes, shared by Shakespeare, Baudelaire, William Carlos Williams and all his greatest exemplars, of the artist’s moral and imaginative engagement with the world as it actually is, in the broadest possible sense, not as contemporary fashion might have it be. Which strikes me, who knew and loved the man and poet, as a kind of heroism.’ August Kleinzahler

‘Thom Gunn smuggled the lyric tradition out of post-war Britain, and gave it cool, gracious renaissance in California. His poetry evokes the wild life of the body with madrigal-like elegance.’ Fiona Sampson

‘Gunn’s work illustrates with unusual clarity some of the debates poetry in English has pursued in [the twentieth] century – form versus improvisation, diction versus talk, the American way versus the English tradition, even, at times, authenticity versus art. To contain these contradictory impulses and . . . to have generated a body of work which anybody wanting to understand the period and identify some of its best poems will find essential reading – this is quite an achievement.’ Sean O’Brien

Thom Gunn has been described as ‘one of the most singular and compelling poets in English during the past half-century’ (TLS). This Selected Poems, compiled by his friend Clive Wilmer and accompanied by insightful notes, is the first edition to represent the full arc of Gunn’s inimitable career. ‘The poetry of Thom Gunn was much admired in his lifetime, and at the same time often misunderstood and underestimated. The scale of his achievement, and its uniqueness – a masterful Elizabethan lyric poet writing in the second half of the twentieth century – is just now becoming properly appreciated. Anonymous in voice, even in the service of the most intimate subject matter, acute in observation, particularly the urban experience, with San Francisco the principal site, Gunn is not merely the poet of the druggy ’60s in California or the plague of the AIDS epidemic, but of the deeper-running themes, shared by Shakespeare, Baudelaire, William Carlos Williams and all his greatest exemplars, of the artist’s moral and imaginative engagement with the world as it actually is, in the broadest possible sense, not as contemporary fashion might have it be. Which strikes me, who knew and loved the man and poet, as a kind of heroism.’ August Kleinzahler‘Thom Gunn smuggled the lyric tradition out of post-war Britain, and gave it cool, gracious renaissance in California. His poetry evokes the wild life of the body with madrigal-like elegance.’ Fiona Sampson‘Gunn’s work illustrates with unusual clarity some of the debates poetry in English has pursued in [the twentieth] century – form versus improvisation, diction versus talk, the American way versus the English tradition, even, at times, authenticity versus art. To contain these contradictory impulses and . . . to have generated a body of work which anybody wanting to understand the period and identify some of its best poems will find essential reading – this is quite an achievement.’ Sean O’Brien
  • Thom Gunn

    Thom Gunn was born in Gravesend, Kent in 1929. After National Service and a short time living in Paris, he enrolled at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he read English. He published his first book of poems, Fighting Terms, while he was still an undergraduate. In 1954 he moved to San Francisco and held a one-year Fellowship at Stanford University. He published over thirty books of poetry, including The Man with Night Sweats, which won the Forward Prize for Poetry in 1992, and Boss Cupid (2000). Thom Gunn died in 2004.

“Thom Gunn is a supremely paradoxical poet: a brilliant exponent of traditional forms who also wrote some of the best free verse of the late twentieth- and early twenty-first century; a deliberate un-confessional poet whose elegies for AIDS victims are unflinchingly direct and personal; a marvellous provider of particular instances who is also restlessly mobile. This selection from his work captures all these facets of his poetic personality, among many others, and proves beyond doubt that Gunn is one of the most free-spirited, intriguing, intelligent and emotionally engaging poets of his time – and ours.”
- Andrew Motion
“A poet who deserves to be much more widely read and remembered than he currently is. Let us hope this Selected is the first stage of a Gunn renaissance, where everyone . . . will fall in love and carry his words with them for the rest of their lives.”
- Andrew McMillan

Books by this Author

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Thom Gunn

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The Sense of Movement

The Sense of Movement

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Boss Cupid

Boss Cupid

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