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Fighting Terms
Thom Gunn
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Fighting Terms

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  15 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
Thom Gunn was born in Gravesend, England in 1929 and went through the usual procedures of school and national service. On his discharge from the Army, he lived in Paris for six months, supporting himself by working for the Metro. From there he went to Cambridge where he wrote the poems included in the original edition of Fighting Terms, published in England by Fantasy Pres ...more
Paperback, 39 pages
Published December 1st 1970 by Faber & Faber (first published January 1st 1954)
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Jun 08, 2015 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
What struck me most about the collection is the poet's use of repetition. Rather than say "this and that", the poet is inclined to say "this and this" or "that and that" for emphasis, and to great effect...
Over the ankles in snow and numb past pain
I stared up at my window three stories high:
From a white street unconcerned as a dead eye,
I patiently called my name again and again.
- The Secret Sharer

Now I will shut you in a box
With massive sides and a lid that locks.
Only by that I can be sure
That y
James Askari
Apr 19, 2015 James Askari rated it liked it
The early Gunn is a poet of male stylings--some jaunty, some seeming to compensate for an insecurity or lack. He was young and gay at a time in the mid-50s when it was still illegal; his sex-war poem, 'Carnal Knowledge', about being 'flaccid' in bed can be taken just as a veiled avowal of homosexuality, though his admission that 'even in bed I pose' and anatomy of the attitudinising of both the male and female partners may have a pertinence beyond a history of 'passing'. At least three ...more
Jan 21, 2014 Gretchen rated it it was amazing
I read each poem twice. Once quickly, just getting the emotions and the ideas down. The second time more thoroughly, attempting to understand each line, each stanza. His observations in relationships and love particularly resonated with me. To His Cynical Mistress reminded me of many relationships I have witnessed. I don't know much about Gunn, but my guess is that he was involved in WW2; Captain of Time and Peace showed the confusion soldiers have when coming home and back to civilian society.

'My lust runs yet and is unsatisifed,
My hate throbs yet but I am feeble-limbed;
If as an animal I could have died
My death had scattered instinct to the wind,
Regrets as nothing.'
David Finney
Sep 23, 2014 David Finney rated it liked it
A collection of poems that I can read and mull over, again and again. I pick it up every other year and read the poems like old friends revisited.
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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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