CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 2, 2004 |
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.
August 14, 1994 |
"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?"
June 15, 1993 |
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.
November 6, 1988 |
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.
January 9, 2014 |
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.
November 6, 1988 |
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.