MacArthur Fellows Program

Thom Gunn

Poet and Literary Critic | Class of 1993

Poet and Literary Critic
Berkeley, California
64 at time of award
April 25, 2004
Area of Focus
Published July 1, 1993

About Thom's Work

Thom Gunn was a poet and a literary critic.

His poetry exhibits a scrupulous craft, unique intelligence, and a sense of moral responsibility.  Gunn was the author of numerous volumes of poetry, including Fighting Terms (1954), The Sense of Movement (1957), My Sad Captains (1961), Touch (1967), Moly (1971), To the Air (1974), Jack Straw’s Castle and Other Poems (1976), Selected Poems 1950-1975 (1979), The Passages of Joy (1982), Sidewalks (1985), Undesirables (1988), At the Barriers(1989), The Man with Night Sweats (1992), Collected Poems (1994), Frontiers of Gossip (1998), and Boss Cupid (2000).  He also published two books of autobiographical and critical essays, The Occasions of Poetry (1982) and Shelf Life (1993).


Gunn was a senior lecturer in the Department of English at the University of California, Berkeley.  He was the recipient of the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Award (1990), an award from the Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Fund (1991), and the Lenore Marshall Prize (1993).

Gunn came to the United States in 1954.  He received a B.A. (1953) and an M.A. (1958) from the University of Cambridge. 

Last updated January 1, 2005

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