Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Faber and Faber Covers: Thom Gunn & Stephen Spender

There's nothing that would much more kindle the flame of my typographically inclined heart than a collection of mid-20th Century Faber & Faber poetry books. The fact that these are by two great gay poets is just an added bonus. I say 'gay' poets but, of course, their approach to man-on-man action in their lives and in their writing was very different. Thom Gunn was writing about gay subculture in poetry with confidence and clarity from the 1960s onwards. Spender, however, had a somewhat more complicated relationship with men. He had several romantic affairs with men, he was married, he spent time both denying and embracing the homosexual side of his character and even changed overtly homoerotic lines in his published poetry as they went into later editions to 'tone them down'. He was a complex man for sure but, like Gunn, much underrated now.

Now, before the eagle eyes among you shout foul, the Thom Gunn covers have appeared on Front Free Endpaper before along with one my favourite poems but him: but not as proper scans. The Stephen Spender, however, I have just recently added to my shelves and they seemed to go so well together I thought I would share all of them.

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