From the age of 17, when his poetry was first printed in Geoffrey Grigson's New Verse, he acquired a reputation for wit and accomplishment through such works as "Phallus in Wonderland" and "Poems and Songs", which appeared in 1939 and was his first collection.
The Second World War disrupted his development as a poet, however, and he published no further volumes until "Londoners" of 1964. From then he produced many collections, which included "The Gavin Ewart Show" (1971), "No Fool like an Old Fool" (1976), "All My Little Ones" (1978), "The Ewart Quarto" (1984), and "Penultimate Poems" (1989). "The Collected Ewart: 1933-1980" (1980) was supplemented in 1991 by "Collected Poems: 1980-1990".
The intelligence and casually flamboyant virtuosity with which he framed his often humorous commentaries on human behaviour made his work invariably entertaining and interesting. The irreverent eroticism for which his poetry is noted resulted in W H Smith's banning of his "The Pleasures of the Flesh" (1966) from their shops.
As an editor he produced numerous anthologies, including the "Penguin Book of Light Verse" (1980). He was the 1991 recipient of the Michael Braude Award for Light Verse.
Gavin Ewart's life and poetry are the subject of a book titled "Civil Humor: the Poetry of Gavin Ewart" by Stephen W. Delchamps (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2002).