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Thom Gunn Quotes

As humans we look at things and think about what we've looked at. We treasure it in a kind of private art gallery.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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 much influenced by Jean-Paul Sartre.

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

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!

Many of my poems are not sexual.

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