Boss Cupid Poems

Thom Gunn

Farrar, Straus and Giroux



Trade Paperback

112 Pages



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Taste and appetite are expertly contraposed in Boss Cupid, the twelfth book by Thom Gunn, our quintessential contemporary San Francisco poet. Lyrical, beautiful, edgy, and intelligent variations on how we are ruled by what we want, these poems put a startling yet eloquent gloss on wanton desire, moving freely from the story of King David and Bathsheba to Arthur Rimbaud's diet to the "tastes" of Jeffrey Dahmer. As warm and love-struck as it is ribald and cunning, this collection is Gunn's richest yet—and his freshest and most provocative.


Praise for Boss Cupid

"Imagine an Auden less reticent . . . Almost all of Gunn's virtues are on display here: his playful metrical dexterity, his unflinching celebration of both beauty and its transience."—Paul Gray, Time

"Passion in all its obsessive gnarly complexity [serves as] the dominant motif in Boss Cupid . . . But in the end, Gunn's great lyric versatility, his edgy wit, and his mastery as a portraitist [underscore] 'the intellect as the powerhouse of love'—and of Gunn's poetics. He is at once the most visceral and cerebral of poets, delineating desire and its fallout with an objective precision."—Carol Moldaw, The Antioch Review

"[He has] a formal expertise as polished and apparently effortless as any in contemporary poetry . . . Gunn can choose his form and can fashion, within its enabling limits, breathtaking sweeps through a wide range of fraught feeling."—Michael Thurston, The Yale Review

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Thom Gunn, born in 1929, has received many awards, most recently a Lila Acheson Wallace/Reader's Digest Fellowship and a MacArthur Fellowship. His works include The Man with Night Sweats and Collected Poems.
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  • Thom Gunn

  • Thom Gunn (1929-2004) was born in England but lived in San Francisco, his adopted hometown, from the mid-1950s onward. Over a long and distinguished literary career, he received many honors for his poetry, including a Lambda Literary Award, a Lila Acheson Wallace/Reader's Digest Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a MacArthur Fellowship. Gunn's other books include The Man with Night Sweats and Collected Poems.
  • Thom Gunn © Ander Gunn