March 26, 2002
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—Poet Thom Gunn will read at 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 11, in Stirn Auditorium at Amherst College. The event, sponsored by the Amherst College Creative Writing Center and the Scott Turow Foundation, is free and open to the public.

Born in England in 1929, Gunn studied at Trinity College, Cambridge. He then spent two years in the national service, six months in Paris, and in 1954 relocated to San Francisco where he held a one-year fellowship at Stanford University, working with Yvor Winters. Since then he has made his home in the United States.

Daniel Hall, a poet and visiting writer at Amherst College, says, “Thom Gunn has reinvented himself and his art at every stage of his long career. He is an endlessly fascinating poet whose subjects range from the varieties of ecstatic experience to the darkly existential; in his ability to write formal verse as well as free he has few rivals.” The Guardian (London) wrote that “Gunn’s generous poetry, passionate and tactful in equal measure, moves between elegy and celebration with enviable fluency and breadth of technique.”

Gunn has published more than 30 books of poetry in the United States and Britain, including Boss Cupid (2000); Frontiers of Gossip (1998); Collected Poems (1994); The Man with Night Sweats (1992), for which he received the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; The Passages of Joy (1983); Selected Poems 1950-1975 (1979); Jack Straw’s Castle (1976); To the Air (1974); Moly, and My Sad Captains (1971); Touch (1968); and The Sense of Movement (1959). He has also written several collections of essays, including The Occasions of Poetry (1982; U.S. edition, 1999). Among his honors are a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Award and fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur foundations. He teaches at the University of California at Berkeley.

The Amherst College Creative Writing Center puts on a yearly reading series featuring both emerging and established authors. See The Center’s Website.