Breakfast with Thom Gunn by Randall Mann

Breakfast with Thom Gunn

byRandall Mann

Paperback | April 1, 2009

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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 pilot’s 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 Mann’s 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 Gunnis 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

 

 

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.
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Details & Specs

Title:Breakfast with Thom GunnFormat:PaperbackDimensions:80 pages, 8.5 × 6.11 × 0.4 inPublished:April 1, 2009Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226503445

ISBN - 13:9780226503448

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Extra Content

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

Editorial Reviews

"[The] bright, ironic surfaces both render bearable Mann's dark vision and somehow exacerbate it--an ambivalence wholly appropriate to such frank, pained poems."