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Thom Gunn

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BOOKS
April 3, 1994
I have reached a time when words no longer help: Instead of guiding me across the moors Strong landmarks in the uncertain out-of-doors, Or like dependable friars on the Alp Saving with wisdom and with brandy kegs, They are gravel-stones, or tiny dogs which yelp Biting my trousers, running round my legs.
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ENTERTAINMENT
January 9, 2014 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
Almost exactly halfway through Randall Mann's third collection of poetry, “Straight Razor” (Persea: 68 pp., $25.95 paper), there's a poem that stirred an inadvertent smile. Not because it's funny but because it almost perfectly highlights something that's been in the ether of late: the way we use because . This week, after all, the American Dialect Society selected "because" as the word of 2013 for its evolving usage; Mann's poem, entitled “Fling,” deftly illustrates the point.
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BOOKS
June 13, 1993
Christmas week, 1985 It could be, Christopher, from your leafed-in house In Santa Monica where you lie and wait You hear outside a sound resume Fitful, anonymous, Of Berlin 50 years ago As autumn days got late-- The whistling to their girls from young men who Stood in the deep dim street, below Dingy facades which crumbled like a cliff, Behind which in a rented room You listened, wondering if By chance one might be whistling up for you, Adding unsentimentally "It could not possibly be."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 2, 2004 | Mary Rourke, Times Staff Writer
Thom Gunn, the expatriate British poet who embraced the counterculture life in San Francisco and used his experiences there as the basis for some of his most memorable works, has died. He was 74. Gunn died of an apparent heart attack April 25 at his home in San Francisco, said his longtime friend and colleague Wendy Lesser. From the early 1950s, when he moved to California, Gunn wrote about gritty subjects -- LSD, gay sex and, later, the AIDS epidemic -- as well as more conventional topics.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 2, 2004 | Mary Rourke, Times Staff Writer
Thom Gunn, the expatriate British poet who embraced the counterculture life in San Francisco and used his experiences there as the basis for some of his most memorable works, has died. He was 74. Gunn died of an apparent heart attack April 25 at his home in San Francisco, said his longtime friend and colleague Wendy Lesser. From the early 1950s, when he moved to California, Gunn wrote about gritty subjects -- LSD, gay sex and, later, the AIDS epidemic -- as well as more conventional topics.
MAGAZINE
August 14, 1994 | WENDY LESSER, Wendy Lesser is editor of the Threepenny Review. Her most recent book, "Pictures at an Execution," was published by Harvard University Press.
"I got the idea for these poems from Patricia Highsmith's wonderful article about Jeffrey Dahmer. What fascinated me--this stood out in the article--was that Dahmer got this feeling, 'I'm never going to see him again, the most important person in my life,' about the guy he had known for only 20 minutes, who was getting ready to leave. So he came up behind him and killed him. I mean, if you want to possess somebody, what better way than to kill them?"
NEWS
June 15, 1993 | LARRY GORDON, TIMES EDUCATION WRITER
The so-called genius awards from the MacArthur Foundation went to three Californians on Monday, who were recognized for such diverse work as research into the mysteries of pregnancy, the composition of modern poetry and translations of ancient Greek writings. Self-taught evolutionary biologist Margie Profet and writers Thom Gunn and Jim Powell--all from the Bay Area--were among 31 MacArthur fellows around the country who will receive annual grants of $30,000 to $75,000 for the next five years.
BOOKS
November 6, 1988 | Thom Gunn
Waiting for when the sun an hour or less Conveniently oblique makes visible The painting on one wall of this recess By Caravaggio, of the Roman School, I see how shadow in the painting brims With a real shadow, drowning all shapes out But a dim horse's haunch and various limbs, Until the very subject is in doubt. But evening gives the act, beneath the horse And one indifferent groom, I see him sprawl, Foreshortened from the head, with hidden face, Where he has fallen, Saul becoming Paul.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 9, 2014 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
Almost exactly halfway through Randall Mann's third collection of poetry, “Straight Razor” (Persea: 68 pp., $25.95 paper), there's a poem that stirred an inadvertent smile. Not because it's funny but because it almost perfectly highlights something that's been in the ether of late: the way we use because . This week, after all, the American Dialect Society selected "because" as the word of 2013 for its evolving usage; Mann's poem, entitled “Fling,” deftly illustrates the point.
BOOKS
November 6, 1988 | Donald Hall, Hall is an author and poet. His numerous books include "The Ideal Bakery" (North Point Press, 1988), and "The Town of Hill" (David R. Godine, 1981)
The self-defined, astride the created will They burst away; the towns they travel through Are home for neither bird nor holiness, For birds and saints complete their purposes. At worst, one is in motion; and at best, Reaching no absolute, in which to rest, One is always nearer by not keeping still.
BOOKS
April 16, 2000
The snail pushes through a green night, for the grass is heavy with water and meets over the bright path he makes, where rain has darkened the earth's dark. He moves in a wood of desire, pale antlers barely stirring as he hunts. I cannot tell what power is at work, drenched there with purpose, knowing nothing. What is a snail's fury?
MAGAZINE
August 14, 1994 | WENDY LESSER, Wendy Lesser is editor of the Threepenny Review. Her most recent book, "Pictures at an Execution," was published by Harvard University Press.
"I got the idea for these poems from Patricia Highsmith's wonderful article about Jeffrey Dahmer. What fascinated me--this stood out in the article--was that Dahmer got this feeling, 'I'm never going to see him again, the most important person in my life,' about the guy he had known for only 20 minutes, who was getting ready to leave. So he came up behind him and killed him. I mean, if you want to possess somebody, what better way than to kill them?"
BOOKS
April 3, 1994
I have reached a time when words no longer help: Instead of guiding me across the moors Strong landmarks in the uncertain out-of-doors, Or like dependable friars on the Alp Saving with wisdom and with brandy kegs, They are gravel-stones, or tiny dogs which yelp Biting my trousers, running round my legs.
NEWS
June 15, 1993 | LARRY GORDON, TIMES EDUCATION WRITER
The so-called genius awards from the MacArthur Foundation went to three Californians on Monday, who were recognized for such diverse work as research into the mysteries of pregnancy, the composition of modern poetry and translations of ancient Greek writings. Self-taught evolutionary biologist Margie Profet and writers Thom Gunn and Jim Powell--all from the Bay Area--were among 31 MacArthur fellows around the country who will receive annual grants of $30,000 to $75,000 for the next five years.
BOOKS
June 13, 1993
Christmas week, 1985 It could be, Christopher, from your leafed-in house In Santa Monica where you lie and wait You hear outside a sound resume Fitful, anonymous, Of Berlin 50 years ago As autumn days got late-- The whistling to their girls from young men who Stood in the deep dim street, below Dingy facades which crumbled like a cliff, Behind which in a rented room You listened, wondering if By chance one might be whistling up for you, Adding unsentimentally "It could not possibly be."
BOOKS
November 6, 1988 | Donald Hall, Hall is an author and poet. His numerous books include "The Ideal Bakery" (North Point Press, 1988), and "The Town of Hill" (David R. Godine, 1981)
The self-defined, astride the created will They burst away; the towns they travel through Are home for neither bird nor holiness, For birds and saints complete their purposes. At worst, one is in motion; and at best, Reaching no absolute, in which to rest, One is always nearer by not keeping still.
BOOKS
April 16, 2000
The snail pushes through a green night, for the grass is heavy with water and meets over the bright path he makes, where rain has darkened the earth's dark. He moves in a wood of desire, pale antlers barely stirring as he hunts. I cannot tell what power is at work, drenched there with purpose, knowing nothing. What is a snail's fury?
OPINION
January 7, 2005
In the Dec. 31 editorial, "A Credo for Science '04," The Times stated that the deadly tsunami in the Indian Ocean was "triggered by movement [on] a fault thought to be relatively inactive." But the Dec. 26 magnitude-9 earthquake came as no surprise to geologists. The motions of the tectonic plates in this part of the world are well known. At the earthquake's epicenter, the Indian plate is colliding with the Burma plate at a rate of nearly 50 millimeters per year, sufficient to generate such an event every 300 years or so. Indeed, the historical record shows that great earthquakes occurred on the southern part of this same fault system in 1833 and 1861.
BOOKS
November 6, 1988 | Thom Gunn
Waiting for when the sun an hour or less Conveniently oblique makes visible The painting on one wall of this recess By Caravaggio, of the Roman School, I see how shadow in the painting brims With a real shadow, drowning all shapes out But a dim horse's haunch and various limbs, Until the very subject is in doubt. But evening gives the act, beneath the horse And one indifferent groom, I see him sprawl, Foreshortened from the head, with hidden face, Where he has fallen, Saul becoming Paul.
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