James Tate, UI Graduate 67MFA (Writers' Workshop Faculty)

Prize Work: Selected Poems; Pulitzer Prize: 1992 Poetry

James Tate (born 1943) is an American poet.

James TateAuthor Biography -Tate (born December 8, 1943, Kansas City, Missouri) is a literary iconoclast, best known as a Pulitzer prize-winning and National Book Award-winning poet, educator, and man of letters. Tate's writing style is as unique as it is difficult to describe. He has been known to carve, invert, and play with phrases culled from news items, history, anecdotes, or common speech; later cutting, pasting, and assembling such divergent material into tightly woven compositions that reveal bizarre and surreal insights into the absurdity of human nature.

Dudley Fitts selected Tate's first book of poems, The Lost Pilot (1967) for the Yale Series of Younger Poets while Tate was still a student at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop; Fitts praised Tate's writing for its "natural grace."

He has published two books of prose, Dreams of a Robot Dancing Bee (2001) and The Route as Briefed (1999). His awards include a National Institute of Arts and Letters Award, the Wallace Stevens Award, a Pulitzer Prize in poetry, a National Book Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He is currently a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets.

He has taught poetry at the University of California, Berkeley, Columbia University, and Emerson College. He currently teaches at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he has worked since 1971. He is a member of the poetry faculty at the MFA Program for Poets & Writers, along with Dara Wier and Peter Gizzi.

Learn More About Tate's Prize Winning Work

Selected Poems by James Tate

Book Description
The Selected Poems James Tate's Pulitzer Prize-winning collection and his first British publication, gathers work from nine previous books, from the Lost Pilot which was a Yale Younger Poets selection in 1967, through his 1986 collection Reckoner. He is a most agile poet in a precarious world. Life is alarming and absurd, but properly considered that absurdity reveals, often with laughter, the something else by which we live. The poems are about our world, our wrecked, vexed love for it. Tate has been described as a surrealist. If that is what he is, his surrealism issues in a vision of a world delivered back to itself by his unillusioned subversion and candor.
(Taken from Amazon.com)

Editorial Reviews
View editorial reviews from New York Times Book Review, John Ashbery, Amazon.com and more. Read the reviews >>

An Interview with James Tate

In a 1998 interview from crossXconnect, James Tate talks about Kansas City and the nature of improvisation in his poems. Read the interview>>

Bibliography - James Tate

* The Lost Pilot (1967)
* The Oblivion Ha-Ha (1970)
* Hints to Pilgrims (1971)
* Absences (1972)
* Viper Jazz (1976)
* Lucky Darryl (1977)
* Riven Doggeries (1979)
* Constant Defender (1983)
* Reckoner (1986)
* Distance from Loved Ones (1990)
* Selected Poems (1991)
* Worshipful Company of Fletchers (1995)
* Shroud of the Gnome (1998)
* Memoir of the Hawk (2002)
* Return to the City of White Donkeys (2004)

External links