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Selected Poems

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  75 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Thom Gunn was an Elizabethan poet in modern guise, though there's nothing archaic, quaint, or sepia-toned about his poetry. His method was dispassionate and rigorous, uniquely well suited for making a poetic record of the tumultuous time in which he lived. Gunn's dozens of brilliantly realized poems about nature, friendship, literature, sexual love, and death are set again ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published March 31st 2009 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1974)
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Jenna
I'm itching to christen Thom Gunn the "Poet of the Hug." His poems, like hugs, are dependable and steady, marked by cool consistency and mellow humanistic sympathies. He has a few poems about hugs, too---most notably, the aptly titled "The Hug," which wistfully describes a platonic embrace shared by two ex-lovers who are now "just friends." There's also the stately lyric "Baucis and Philemon," which contains the lines "Two trunks like bodies, bodies like twined trunks,/Supported by their wooden ...more
Nancy
Aug 14, 2009 Nancy rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Like going to a new restaurant in a new city and ordering something extravagently new to you. Eating slowly, and then having coffee.

Thank you, Thom Gunn, for bringing that strange land of 1960s 70s San Francisco to me on my Ohio front porch. August Kleinzahler talks about Gunn coming to write more and more of the city, but I heard him caring about what lies around it: the grasses, small birds, dust, clouds, and the naked at the naked beaches.
Yllacaspia
Feb 14, 2012 Yllacaspia rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favourite books of poetry, ever. Touch, the Hug, and In Trust in particular bring tears to my eyes every time.
Sean the Bookonaut
Oct 31, 2014 Sean the Bookonaut rated it really liked it
Thom Gunn has been one of the happy discoveries wrought by my self imposed regime to read more poetry and to read more widely. I can’t remember how I stumbled across the name but I am glad that I did.

I am very glad to have picked up this particular Selected Poems edited by August Kleinzahler, because I think, in my limited knowledge of the poet, that Kleinzahler has done a very good job of presenting a cross section of Gunn’s work. I also found the introduction by Kleinzahler to be one of the b
...more
Jan magdalene
Jul 27, 2015 Jan magdalene rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
i was surprised at how much i liked this.. thom gunn especially i thought was great. ted hughes' poems in this book are a bit of a mixed bag: the first couple are great but a lot of them are super boring as well.
Shannon
Read #1
Started on October 15, 2014
Finished on October 22, 2014

Just had to go ahead finish this even though we have one more week of Gunn in my class. His poetry is tied with Larkin at the moment. Really enjoyed this.
Jordaan Mason
Apr 08, 2011 Jordaan Mason rated it really liked it
Shelves: queer, poetry
really great introduction to this poet, spanning his entire career. i found the first few poetry volume excerpts to be my least favourite; he seemed to get better with age. stand-outs include "modes of pleasure (#2)," "the feel of hands," "touch," "rites of passage," "moly," "phaedra in the farm house," "the bed," "the hug," "the man with the night sweats," "lament," "shit (an essay on rimbaud)," and "the dump."
Megan
Feb 03, 2010 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I find it difficult to compare Pilinszky to other poets I read - though several in this collection are reminiscent of Rilke.

A line, from "World Grown Cold," I found quite fascinating:

"And this is how the eternally unknowable
gets its homely look.
As with the leaves in their withering,
my decay embalms me."
Sarah
Oct 25, 2012 Sarah added it
The formality of his verse is pretty stunning (extremely complex schemes of rhyming and meter), but aside from my admiration for his technical mastery, I'm not moved by Thom Gunn's poetry so far.
Lisa
Mar 10, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it
gosh, do you ever stop reading a poem? i will come back and review after i've read through these a few more dozen times.
Rebecca
Apr 13, 2011 Rebecca rated it really liked it
I love Thom Gunn!
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29955
Thom Gunn (29 August 1929 – 25 April 2004), born Thomson William Gunn, was an Anglo-American poet who was praised 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 wrote about gay-related topics—particularly in his most famous work, Th ...more
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