Poet, Spoken Word Artist, Skateboarder...

Poetry, Masturbation, & Jack Straw's Castle

Thom Gunn's 'Jack Straw's Castle' is one of my favourite books.  I feel like I need to include a 'caveat' with that statement and tell you that Thom Gunn is not one of my favourite poets.

When I first started performing in London a poet I respected greatly read a poem from the book called 'Courage, a Tale'.  It's about a boy who is told if he masturbates 100 times he will die.  Yes you read that right...if he masturbates 100 times he will die.  I loved the poem and when I discovered it was published in 1976 (before I was born) that seemed to make me love it more.  I sought out a copy of the book which I discovered was out of print, and found a copy at a second hand book store in St. Albans.

The collection is full of beautiful work by Thom Gunn but 'Courage, a Tale' will always be a favourite, and 'Jack Straw's Castle' will always be one of my favourite books.  If you're lucky enough to stumble across a copy, don't hesitate to grab it.  Hell, theres not many poems by well respected and established poets about masturbating.

Thom Gunn died in April 2004.

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