Thom Gunn

Rating: 5
Rating: 5

Thom Gunn Biography

an Anglo-American poet who was praised both 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, who became openly gay, wrote about gay-related topics — particularly in his most famous work, The Man With Night Sweats in 1992 — as well as drug use, sex, and topics related to his bohemian lifestyle. He won numerous major literary awards.

Thom Gunn Comments

Liz Strutt 28 March 2020

I think I read this poem in 1964, it was titles something like ‘Doctor contemplating his body in the mirror’ I cannot find any trace of it anywhere, perhaps I read it in a newspaper or the New Statesman. Can someone trace it for me please

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Kamiel Choi 20 May 2018

Wonderfully tender poem about a loving embrace, one of the finest gestures we can make to show each other our love. I discuss this poem on my site kamiel.creativechoice.org

1 1 Reply

The Best Poem Of Thom Gunn

My Sad Captains

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, all

the past lapping them like a
cloak of chaos. They were men
who, I thought, lived only to
renew the wasteful force they
spent with each hot convulsion.
They remind me, distant now.

True, they are not at rest yet,
but now they are indeed
apart, winnowed from failures,
they withdraw to an orbit
and turn with disinterested
hard energy, like the stars.


Submitted by Andrew Mayers

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