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October 02 , 2009

Boss Cupid



A great poet's freshest, most provocative book.

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The Nun's Tale

When a young nun, Joanna Calverley, dies of fever in the town of Beverley, they waste no time in burying her, fearing the plague. But nine months later a woman turns up claiming to be Joanna, saying she faked her own death. When murder follows close on her heels, John Thoresby, Archbishop of York, knows he must enlist the help of his favourite…

He dreams at the center of a closed system,
Like the prison system, or a system of love,
Where folktale, recipe, and household custom
Refer back to the maze that they are of.
– from "A System: PCP, or Angel Dust"

Taste and appetite are contraposed in Boss Cupid, the twelfth book of poems by the quintessential San Francisco poet, who is also the quintessential craftsman and quintessentially a love poet, though not of quintessential love.Variations on how we are ruled by our desires, these poems make a startling and eloquent gloss on wanton want, moving freely from the story of King David and Bathsheba to Arthur Rimbaud's diet to the tastes of Jeffrey Dahmer. As warm and intelligent as it is ribald and cunning, this collection of Thom Gunn's is his richest yet.

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