Biography of Thom Gunn (1929 – 2004)
Thom Gunn (August 29, 1929 -April 25, 2004) was a British poet.
He was born Thomson William Gunn in Gravesend, Kent. He read English literature at Trinity College, Cambridge, graduated in 1953, and published his first collection of verse, Fighting Terms, the following year. As a young British poet, his work was associated with The Movement. Also in 1954, he emigrated to the United States to teach writing at Stanford University and to remain close to his partner, Mike Kitay, whom he had met while at college.
In classic verse forms, like the terza rima of Dante, he explored modern anxieties:
- “It is despair that nothing cannot be
- Flares in the mind and leaves a smoky mark
- Of dread.
- Look upward. Neither firm nor free
- Purposeless matter hovers in the dark.” (“The Annihilation of Nothing”)
During the 1960s and 1970s, his verse explored society’s increasingly liberal views of drugs, homosexuality, and poetic form.
He died in his sleep in San Francisco, where he had lived since 1960.
Biography By: This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License and uses material adapted in whole or in part from the Wikipedia article on Thom Gunn.