Thom Gunn

(29 August 1929 – 25 April 2004 / England)

Quotations

  • ''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.
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  • ''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 in Britain, Revolt into Style (1970).
  • ''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.
  • ''My thoughts are crowded with death
    and it draws so oddly on the sexual
    that I am confused
    confused to be attracted
    by, in effect, my own annihilation.''
    Thom Gunn (b. 1929), British poet. "In Time Of Plague," The Man With Night Sweats (1992).
  • ''From this fat dungeon I could rise to skin
    And human title, putting pig within.''
    Thom Gunn (b. 1929), Anglo-American poet. Moly (l. 25-26). . . Collected Poems [Thom Gunn]. (1994) Faber and Faber.
  • ''These seem like bristles, and the hide is tough.
    No claw or web here: each foot ends in hoof.''
    Thom Gunn (b. 1929), Anglo-American poet. Moly (l. 9-10). . . Collected Poems [Thom Gunn]. (1994) Faber and Faber.
  • ''Direct me gods, whose changes are all holy,
    To where it flickers deep in grass, the moly:''
    Thom Gunn (b. 1929), Anglo-American poet. Moly (l. 21-22). . . Collected Poems [Thom Gunn]. (1994) Faber and Faber.
  • ''One by one they appear in
    the darkness: a few friends, and
    a few with historical
    names. How late they start to shine!
    but before they fade they stand
    perfectly embodied,''
    Thom Gunn (b. 1929), Anglo-American poet. My Sad Captains (l. 1-6). . . Collected Poems [Thom Gunn]. (1994) Faber and Faber.

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Considering the Snail

The snail pushes through a green
night, for the grass is heavy
with water and meets over
the bright path he makes, where rain
has darkened the earth's dark. He
moves in a wood of desire,

pale antlers barely stirring
as he hunts. I cannot tell

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