Letter from Poetry Magazine

Letter to the Editor

by Ina Loewenberg

Dear Editor,

Unfortunately for me, the only poem by Thom Gunn that I know is his delightful dog poem, “Yoko.” Now I can be quite sure that I don’t want to look for the rest of his oeuvre thanks to the sweet little essay on his “New Jerusalem” by Tom Sleigh [June 2009].

I question Sleigh’s starting premise that because Gunn talked to Sleigh about his sex club experiences, and wrote about them, there’s no reason for Sleigh “not to speak about them.” Isn’t the question, what good reason is there to speak—at such length! in such detail!—about them in Poetry?

Thank you, Tom Sleigh, for assuring us that you’re straight—as if that had anything to do with Gunn’s experiences or his poetry. This supposed appreciation of Gunn contained a big helping of Sleigh’s ego: “he’s great and we’re friends.”

What was the point of choosing to print this essay beyond the obviously voyeuristic?

iowa city, iowa

Originally Published: September 1, 2009

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This prose originally appeared in the September 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

September 2009

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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