Thom Gunn has been described as 'one of the most singular and compelling poets in English during the past half-century' (Times Literary Supplement). This New Selected Poems, compiled by his friend Clive Wilmer and accompanied by insightful notes, is the first edition to represent the full arc of Gunn’s inimitable career.
[A] fine, vital, note-enriched edition ... Wilmer’s selection is the ideal place to begin with Gunn — the major poems are here, and the facts of their provenance (over seventy pages of this book are given over to notes); sequences arrive happily entire. Wilmer is truly selective — he rightly takes just five poems from Gunn’s first book.
Wilmer’s informative and carefully annotated book is more interested in representing the arc of Gunn’s career as it relates to his life, framing his work through illuminating biographical material ... provides enlightening glimpses of Gunn’s half-century career across both sides of the Atlantic, which coincided with increasing tensions within the poetry establishment about the importance of tradition versus individual talent as well as ferocious conflict over identity politics, fought out in terms of race, gender, and sexuality, particularly in the US ... Arguably, this new selection could have given more space to the poems than the notes. Nevertheless, the selection weaves together highlights from Gunn’s astonishing career, reminding us that in refusing many of our confident labels about styles and movements and resisting the poetics and politics of ‘identity’, Gunn has left us a memorable body of work unparalleled among his contemporaries.
A new must-have for all LGBTQIA libraries everywhere! But it’s not meant to stay on the shelf, no. This new selection, edited by Thom Gunn’s friend Clive Wilmer, has been thoughtfully designed to be held and read, studied and enjoyed, page by page. It doesn’t pretend to be comprehensive or definitive; instead, it’s a splendid introduction to Gunn’s poetry, with a smart sampling of his work over the many years, which slowly brings the reader into Gunn’s large and restless world ... this thoughtfully selected span of Gunn’s poetry is not only an immensely pleasurable read but also a master-class in poetic form. Whether queer poets know it or not, Thom Gunn opened doors for all of us reading and writing today. Lucky for us, this new selection of poetry opens a door into his world—and what a world it is.