Dunstan Thompson

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Dunstan Thompson (1918–1975) was an American poet who lived in Britain. He was a Catholic poet who wrote openly about gay and wartime experiences. [1]

Life and career[edit]

He was born in New London, Connecticut, and educated at Harvard University. [1] He edited a literary magazine Vice Versa[2] in New York in 1940-1942, with Harry Brown.

He joined the U. S. Army in 1942; his Poems (Simon & Schuster) was published in 1943. Some of his poems were translated by Borges shortly after. Also in 1942 a novel The Dove with the Bough of Olive appeared.

After the war he travelled in the Middle East and settled in the United Kingdom. In 1947 Lament for the Sleepwalker, another book of poetry, was published. A travel book The Phoenix in the Desert was published in London in 1951.

Subsequently he published little, and virtually disappeared from literary circles; a few poems were taken by magazines. Poems 1950-1974 (1984, Paradigm Press) was a posthumous collection. It has been stated that he was homosexual,[3]and also that he was a Christian convert who changed his lifestyle in consequence.


  • Poems (1943)
  • "Lament for the Sleepwalkers" (1946)
  • "Phoenix in the Desert" (1951) Travelogue
  • "The Dove with the Bough of Olives" (1954) Novel


  1. ^ a b Gioia, Dana. Two Poets Named Dunstan Thompson. The Hudson Review, Spring 2015
  2. ^ Striking in: The Early Notebooks of James Dickey, ISBN 0-8262-1056-2, page 103
  3. ^ Cady, Joseph (2002). "American Literature: Gay Male, 1900-1969". Retrieved 2007-08-15. 

Further reading[edit]

  • D. A. Powell; Kevin Prufer, eds. (2010), Dunstan Thompson: On the Life and Work of a Lost American Master, Pleiades Press, ISBN 978-0-9641454-1-2