Thom Gunn

Thom Gunn most recent collection of poems, published in 1982, was Passages of Joy.

Poem: ‘Lament’

Thom Gunn, 4 October 1984

Your dying was a difficult enterprise. First, petty things took up your energies, The small but clustering duties of the sick, As irritant as the cough’s dry rhetoric. Those hours of waiting for pills, shot, X-ray Or test (while you read novels two a day) Already with a kind of clumsy stealth Distanced you from the habits of your health.   In hope still, courteous still, but...

Gunn is fascinated by the idea of unknowing, the moment when clarity becomes open to a space beyond clarity, whether drug-induced or part of a dream.

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Out of the Eater: Thom Gunn

Jeremy Noel-Tod, 6 July 2000

Thom Gunn has an intelligent rock star’s ear for titles: Fighting Terms, My Sad Captains, Touch, Moly, Jack Straw’s Castle, The Man with Night Sweats. Punchy and enigmatic, they read...

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‘Fame is difficult for a writer to deal with,’ Thom Gunn writes in his essay on Allen Ginsberg’s poetry. ‘It dries you up, or it makes you think you are infallible, or...

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‘If he were a dog he’d have been put down five years ago’ – so the Daily Sport on Freddie Mercury. The virulence of the hostility towards gay men that the Aids pandemic...

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Looking Up

Donald Davie, 15 July 1982

In the past, I have been persuaded by those like Colin Falck who have thought Thom Gunn’s distinctive and great achievement was to have re-established creative connections with at least one...

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Facts and Makings

John Bayley, 21 February 1980

Ted Hughes has always possessed in his poetry the gift that D.H. Lawrence had whenever he took up his pen: the gift of joining his ego to the visible world so that both not only energise each...

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