I was much influenced by Jean-Paul Sartre.

— Thom Gunn

The most romantic Thom Gunn quotes you will be delighted to read

I was at a benefit for some imprisoned students in the '60s at San Francisco State, and there were lots of poets reading for the benefit: one was Elizabeth Bishop.

21

I was reading the poems of Rochester.

Rochester made himself out to be bisexual, but I think that was only to shock. Most of his poetry is sexual, even pornographic.

8

I don't know how to sit outside myself and test against a hypothetical self who stayed home.

5

I try not to observe myself in the process of composing a poem because I don't want to come up with a formula, which I would then be unscrupulous in using.

4

My thoughts are crowded with death and it draws so oddly on the sexual that I am confused to be attracted by, in effect, my own annihilation.

4

Deep feeling doesn't make for good poetry. A way with language would be a bit of help.

4

I deliberately decided to write a kind of guide to leather bars for straight people, for people not into leather, so that people could see what it was all about.

4

When I first started teaching at Berkeley in 1958, I could not announce that I was gay to anybody, though probably quite a few of my fellow teachers knew.

3

As if hands were enough To hold an avalanche off.

3

I work best in rhyme and meter. I was most confident of myself in that way.

3

How sociable the garden was. We ate and talked in given light. The children put their toys to grass All the warm wakeful August night.

3

We learned in the university to consider Wordsworth and Keats as Romantics.

They were only a generation apart, but Wordsworth didn't even read Keats's book when he gave him a copy.

3

About Thom Gunn

Quotes 39 sayings
Profession Poet
Birthday October 16

I admired what my students were writing, but I think their improvement doesn't directly result from me but from being in a class, being with each other.

3

It was difficult being a teacher and out of the closet in the '50s.

By the time I retired, the English department was proud of having a gay poet of a certain minor fame. It was a very satisfactory change!

3

I notice that students, particularly for gay students, it's too easy to write about my last trick or something. It's not very interesting to the reader.

3

As humans we look at things and think about what we've looked at.

We treasure it in a kind of private art gallery.

3

There have been two popular subjects for poetry in the last few decades: the Vietnam War and AIDS, about both of which almost all of us have felt deeply.

3

One joins the movement in a valueless world, Choosing it, till both hurler and the hurled, One moves as well, always toward, toward.

2

Ginsberg's Collected Poems contains a wonderful poem about making it with Neal Cassady.

2

While I don't satisfy my curiosity about the way I work, I'm terribly curious about the way other poets work. But I would think that's true about many of us.

0

Thus for each blunt-faced ignorant one The great grey rigid uniform combined Safety with virtue of the sun. Thus concepts linked like chainmail in the mind.

0

We tend to put poems into factions. And it restricts our reading.

0

Direct me gods, whose changes are all holy, To where it flickers deep in grass, the moly.

0

When I was an undergraduate I had very badly annotated editions of Shakespeare's sonnets, all of which left out the important fact that will has a sexual sense in Shakespeare's sonnets.

0

My old teacher's definition of poetry is an attempt to understand.

0

A literary influence is never just a literary influence.

It's also an influence in the way you see everything - in the way you feel your life.

0

Many of my poems are not sexual.

0

I'm not sure I had ever written a fan letter before to a poet I had not met, but that's what I did when I read two poems by Gregory Woods ... I admired them especially for their technical virtuosity, in that it was technique completely used, never for the sake of cleverness but as a component of feeling ... What an enviable talent Gregory Woods has

0

The painter saw what was, an alternate Candor and secrecy inside the skin.

0

One is always nearer by not keeping still.

0

When I first started to write, I was aware of being queer, but I didn't write about it. Queer poems would probably not have been accepted by the editors I sent them to.

0

Much that is natural, to the will must yield.

Men manufacture both machine and soul, And use what they imperfectly control To dare a future from the taken routes.

0

I had assumed that I would age with all my friends growing old around me, dying off very gradually one by one. And here was a plague that cut them off so early.

0

I deliberately wrote a poem in my last book where I was suggesting that there are other passions as great as or more important than the passion of sex.

0

We control the content of our dreams.

0

I think most men, heterosexual and homosexual, enjoy being considered sexual objects.

0

I haven't written anything in four years. I'm sort of dried up.

0

I don't think of sex as a self-destructive impulse.

0
famous quotes