A great poet's freshest, most provocative book.
He dreams at the center of a closed system,
Like the prison system, or a system of love,
Where folktale, recipe, and household custom
Refer back to the maze that they are of.
--from "A System: PCP, or Angel Dust"
Taste and appetite are contraposed in Boss Cupid, the twelfth book of poems by the quintessential San Francisco poet, who is also the quintessential craftsman and quintessentially a love poet, though not of quintessential love.Variations on how we are ruled by our desires, these poems make a startling and eloquent gloss on wanton want, moving freely from the story of King David and Bathsheba to Arthur Rimbaud's diet to the tastes of Jeffrey Dahmer. As warm and intelligent as it is ribald and cunning, this collection of Thom Gunn's is his richest yet.
Triangle Awards - Winner, Lambda Literary Award - Nominee
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