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June 14, 1991
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Selected Poems

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1992)
Winner of the William Carlos Williams Award (1992)

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.

About the Author

JAMES TATE grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. He is the author of The Lost Pilot (1967), The Oblivion Ha-Ha (1970), Hints to Pilgrims (1971), Absences (1972), Viper Jazz (1976), Riven Doggeries (1979), Constant Defenders (1983), and Reckoner (1986). He teaches at the University of Massachusetts and lives in Amherst.


"...he has the rare ability to be very, very funny on the page..."—New York Times Book Review

"Shapiro writes in sardonic reverence . . . His poetry is a 'practical use / Of mysterious names.' It is modest, usually simple, but precise, courageous, and unflinching in its sadness."—Hayden Carruth, The Nation

"Working within the conventions of alienation and isolation, [Shapiro] develops a quietly distinctive and forceful idiom . . . Pre-figured in the earlier poems on Jewish and Old Testament themes, and developed in increasingly flexible forms, he makes good his ironic claim of 'praise [of] an age that has no monuments.' Because his irony works dramatically, the brief soliloquies he presents in deliberately low-keyed terms are often surprisingly moving."—Samuel French Morse, New York Times Book Review


"This volume performs a valuable service by drawing together the best of Tate's work from many individual collections, some of them now quite rare. It allows us finally to take the measure of his genius: passionate, humane, funny, tragic, and always surprising and mind-delighting. Not unexpectedly, it confirms his standing as one of the finest voices of his generation—John Ashbery. A poet of mad wit and stunning anecdote. Tate is now in the fullness of his powers. A volume not to be missed"—Julian Moynahan

""Anthropologist, editor, critic and translator, Nathaniel Tarn is above all a poet. Poetry is at the center of his personality and his activity. His work, in full growth, reveals a rich temperament, a remarkable linguistic inventiveness and a vision both original and universal.""—Octavio Paz, recipient of the 1990 Nobel Prize of Literature

"Ignatow's poems grow right out of the American concrete like ginkgo and ailanthus treesThere is an excitement that grows on one in his sober truthfulness and the beautiful simplicity of his language and rhythms."—Denise Levertov

"allows us finally to take the measure of his genius: passionate, humane, funny, tragic, and always surprising and mind-delighting."—John Ashbery

""Despite that many have been hard to find, Tarn's books have inspired a wild, almost religious devotion among readers. Long anticipated, The Selected Poems is a tremendous force field in which world and perception collaborate in innovative formal 'architextures,' a language that has no like.""—Forrest Gander, author of Torn Awake
Wesleyan University Press
Wesleyan Poetry Series

9780819511928 : selected-poems-tate
Paperback / softback
250 Pages
$19.95 USD
9780819574503 : selected-poems-tate
Electronic book text
250 Pages
$15.99 USD

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Distance from Loved Ones

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