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.
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.
I don't know how to sit outside myself and test against a hypothetical self who stayed home.
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.
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.
Deep feeling doesn't make for good poetry. A way with language would be a bit of help.
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.
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.
As if hands were enough To hold an avalanche off.
I work best in rhyme and meter. I was most confident of myself in that way.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
As humans we look at things and think about what we've looked at.
We treasure it in a kind of private art gallery.
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.
One joins the movement in a valueless world, Choosing it, till both hurler and the hurled, One moves as well, always toward, toward.
Ginsberg's Collected Poems contains a wonderful poem about making it with Neal Cassady.
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.
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.
We tend to put poems into factions. And it restricts our reading.
Direct me gods, whose changes are all holy, To where it flickers deep in grass, the moly.
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.
My old teacher's definition of poetry is an attempt to understand.
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.
Many of my poems are not sexual.
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
The painter saw what was, an alternate Candor and secrecy inside the skin.
One is always nearer by not keeping still.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We control the content of our dreams.
I think most men, heterosexual and homosexual, enjoy being considered sexual objects.