"For me the act of writing is an exploration, a reaching out, an act of trusting search for the correct incantation that will return me certain feelings whenever I want them. And of course I have never completely succeeded in finding the correct incantations." --Thom Gunn
Thom Gunn is well-known as a poet, and increasingly as a literary critic. The Occasions of Poetry includes insightful critical pieces on writers ranging from William Carlos Williams and Gary Snyder to Thomas Hardy and Robert Duncan. "The occasion in all cases," writes Gunn, "is the starting point, only, of a poem, but it should be a starting point to which the poet must in some sense stay true." The first loyalty of a writer who is "true to his occasions," he writes, must be to the facts of experience.
The book includes five autobiographical essays, which combine to form an engaging account of the author's development as a poet and to chronicle some of the most significant literary currents of recent decades, both in England and America.
Thom Gunn, born in England in 1929, has lived in America since 1954. His books include Shelf Life: Essays, Memoirs, and an Interview; The Man with Night Sweats; Collected Poems; and The Passages of Joy. The Occasions of Poetry was originally published by Faber and Faber. [via]