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This title in other editions

Breakfast with Thom Gunn (Phoenix Poets)

by

Breakfast with Thom Gunn (Phoenix Poets) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Aubade

Those who lack a talent for love have come

to walk the long Pier 7. Here at the end

of the imagined world are three low-flying gulls

 

like lies on the surface; the slow red

of a pilots boat; the groan

of a fisherman hacking a small shark—

 

and our speech like the icy water, a poor

translation that will not carry us across.

What brought us west, anyway? A hunger.

 

But ours is no Donner Party, we who feed

only on scenery, the safest form

of obfuscation: see how the bay is a gray

 

deepening into gray, the color of heartbreak.

           

Randall Manns Breakfast with Thom Gunn is a work both direct and unsettling. Haunted by the afterlife of Thom Gunn (1929-2004), one of the most beloved gay literary icons of the twentieth century, the poems are moored in Florida and California, but the backdrop is “pitiless,” the trees “thin and bloodless,” the words “like the icy water” of the San Francisco Bay. Mann, fiercely intelligent, open yet elusive, draws on the “graceful erosion” of both landscape and the body, on the beauty that lies in unbeauty. With audacity, anxiety, and unbridled desire, this gifted lyric poet grapples with dilemmas of the gay self embroiled in—and aroused by—a glittering, unforgiving subculture. Breakfast with Thom Gunn is at once formal and free, forging a sublime integrity in the fire of wit, intensity, and betrayal.

 

Praise for Complaint in the Garden   

“We have before us a skillful, witty, passionate young poet. . . . Randall Mann is both attuned to and at odds with the natural world; he articulates the passions and predicaments of a self inside a massive, arousing, but sometimes brutal culture. And he accomplishes these things with buoyant lyric sensibilities and rejuvenating skills.”—Kenyon Review

 

 

 

 

Review:

"Concise, witty and perhaps surprisingly grim, this second collection from Mann (Complaint in the Garden) pays homage to the titular poet, the British-born, San Francisco — resident Thom Gunn (who died in 2004). Mann emulates Gunn's signature virtues: a wry, careful tone; tight rhymed and unrhymed forms; explicit delight in sex between men, and in the modern culture of gay liberation; and an appreciation for the Bay Area. Yet compared to his model, Mann sounds less in love with life, more attentive to death: 'I want lust/ as cold, precise and prescriptive/ as the en dash of a dead man,' one poem concludes; another, set on Mann's birthday, declares, 'If life is ruin,/ then let it burn like Rome.' Poems set in Florida, where Mann spent an unhappy youth, pose stark counterpoints to Mann's cityscapes. Arch verses about the poetry industry ('A younger poet wrote to ask/ an older for a blurb') offset what seems most personal elsewhere. Mixing literary sophistication with a visceral self-distrust, even paraphrasing Catullus ('wanting// again, a man I do not want'), Mann makes his dislikes at least as vivid as his admirations. On the whole, the collection is memorable as homage, but surprisingly far from what Gunn himself once named 'The Passages of Joy.'" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

About the Author

Randall Mann is a writer and editor who lives in San Francisco. He is the author of Complaint in the Garden, winner of the Kenyon Review Prize in Poetry.

 

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

 

I

 

Early Morning on Market Street

Election Day  

But

Politics

Fetish

Song

Queen Christina

The Mortician in San Francisco

Aubade

Bernal Hill

The Sunset

Abandoned Landscapes

Short Short

Charity

Ruin

Pure

Last Call

 

II

 

Pastoral

Syntax

Little Colonial Song

The Lake of Nostalgia 

The End of Landscape

Ode

Night: A Fragment

Breakfast with Thom Gunn

Ovid in San Francisco

Ganymede on Polk Street

Orpheus at Café Flore

Stranded

Modern Art

To Francis Bacon

Reception

Career

Postcard from California

The Long View

N

 

III

 

Ocean Beach

Translation

Lexington

Design

The Rape of Ganymede

Colloquy between A and B

Intimacy

Monday

Seeking

Well, Here We Are

A View

South City

Poetry

Fiction

 Notes

Product Details

ISBN:
9780226503448
Author:
Mann, Randall
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Subject:
American - General
Subject:
Single Author / American
Subject:
Poetry-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback
Series:
Phoenix Poets Series
Publication Date:
20090431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
80
Dimensions:
8.5 x 6.11 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » A to Z

Breakfast with Thom Gunn (Phoenix Poets) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 80 pages University of Chicago Press - English 9780226503448 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Concise, witty and perhaps surprisingly grim, this second collection from Mann (Complaint in the Garden) pays homage to the titular poet, the British-born, San Francisco — resident Thom Gunn (who died in 2004). Mann emulates Gunn's signature virtues: a wry, careful tone; tight rhymed and unrhymed forms; explicit delight in sex between men, and in the modern culture of gay liberation; and an appreciation for the Bay Area. Yet compared to his model, Mann sounds less in love with life, more attentive to death: 'I want lust/ as cold, precise and prescriptive/ as the en dash of a dead man,' one poem concludes; another, set on Mann's birthday, declares, 'If life is ruin,/ then let it burn like Rome.' Poems set in Florida, where Mann spent an unhappy youth, pose stark counterpoints to Mann's cityscapes. Arch verses about the poetry industry ('A younger poet wrote to ask/ an older for a blurb') offset what seems most personal elsewhere. Mixing literary sophistication with a visceral self-distrust, even paraphrasing Catullus ('wanting// again, a man I do not want'), Mann makes his dislikes at least as vivid as his admirations. On the whole, the collection is memorable as homage, but surprisingly far from what Gunn himself once named 'The Passages of Joy.'" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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