Here at Last is Love
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Dunstan Thompson was an American poet of great promise who burst onto the Anglo-American literary scene during World War II. In the words of one contemporary, Thompson was one of the rising "stars of modern poetry," a writer who might one day join the pantheon of poets like Hart Crane, W.H. Auden, Stephen Spender, and Dylan Thomas.
And yet Thompson more or less disappeared from public view by the early 1950s. After publishing two volumes of poetry, a travel book, and a novel, Thompson had only a few scattered magazine publications until his death. A posthumous volume was privately printed in England, but the circulation was small.
Here at Last is Love: Selected Poems is the definitive, authorized selection of Thompson's best work, revealing to a wider public the literary vision of a "lost master." The introduction by editor Gregory Wolfe offers the first extended narrative in print relating Thompson's complex personal story. The afterword by distinguished poet and critic Dana Gioia provides a thorough--and just--assessment of his poetic achievement.
Thompson's early poetry was not only technically innovative, but saturated with the language and the drama of gay experience during World War II. Yet just a few years after the war, Thompson returned to the Catholic faith of his childhood, only to find that his new poetic voice was out of sync with the times.
In spite of the difficulties he faced in his later years, Thompson did not give up writing poetry, continuing to produce quality work. After his reconversion, the poetry shifted in tone and form from a lush romanticism to an urbane classicism. The later work covers a wide range of subjects, from studies of historical figures to devotional lyrics.
This volume will not only stir up the debate about Thompson's sexual and religious passions, but also help complete the history of twentieth-century Anglo-American poetry, finally making his work available to scholars and lovers of poetry everywhere.
Slant Books, 9781639820122, 162pp.
Publication Date: September 1, 2015