In his [Collected Poems] Thom Gunn has assembled all the work he considers worthy from throughout his remarkable career. Gunn's first book, Fighting Terms (1954), was quickly identified in The Cambridge Review as "one of the few volumes of post-war verse that all serious readers of poetry need to possess and study", and in the four decades since, ...
In his [Collected Poems] Thom Gunn has assembled all the work he considers worthy from throughout his remarkable career. Gunn's first book, Fighting Terms (1954), was quickly identified in The Cambridge Review as "one of the few volumes of post-war verse that all serious readers of poetry need to possess and study", and in the four decades since, he has come to be recognized as one of the finest poets writing in English. Collected Poems establishes the breadth and formal catholicity of his work, from the classically inspired early poems to the stylistically exuberant poems of the 1960s to the elegiac rhymed verse of The Man with Night Sweats (1992), in which, as John Updike wrote in The New Yorker, "the tension of Gunn's famous earlier poems...has become muted and commemorative". Born in 1929 and raised in Britain, Gunn has lived in northern California since 1954, and he describes himself as an Anglo-American poet. His poetry is likewise a mixture of apparently discordant elements, and he has made a specialty of playing style against subject, dealing with the out-of-control through tightly controlled meters and with the systematized through open forms. Some of the contents of Collected Poems has been out of print for many years. This gathering together of the full range of Thom Gunn's work reveals the enormous extent of his creative achievement.
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