Thom Gunn, also known as Thomson William Gunn, (1929-2004) was a gay English-American writer and leatherman. After relocating from England (where he was born) to San Francisco, Gunn wrote about gay-related topics—particularly in his most famous work, The Man With Night Sweats (1992). He often wrote about drug use, sex, and his bohemian lifestyle.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Gunn’s verse became increasingly bold in its exploration of homosexuality (and drug taking and poetic form).
His most famous work is The Man With Night Sweats (1992), which is about the gay experience in the age of AIDS, and is dominated by AIDS-related elegies.
His book Boss Cupid: Poems, published in 2000, won Publishing Triangle’s inaugural Triangle Award for Gay Poetry in 2001; following his death, the award was renamed the Thom Gunn Award in his memory.
Thom Gunn won Publishing Triangle’s inaugural Triangle Award for Gay Poetry in 2001 for Boss Cupid: Poems; following his death, the award was renamed the Thom Gunn Award in his memory.
In 2017, the art installation known as the San Francisco South of Market Leather History Alley was installed; in it Thom Gunn (among others) is honored with a bronze bootprint displaying his name and a short statement about him.
In April 2004, he died of acute polysubstance abuse, including methamphetamine, at his home in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood in San Francisco, where he had lived since 1960.