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Selected Poems (Wesleyan Poetry Series) Paperback – March 15, 1991

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A selection representative of 25 years of work and nine books, from Lost Pilot (1967) through Reckoner (1986), these poems showcase Tate's talent for surreal entertainment that reveals an underlying serious point. He writes: "I am surrounded by the pieces of this huge/puzzle: here's a piece I call my wife, and/ here's an odd one I call convictions, here's/ conventions, here's collisions, conflagrations . . . " In such high comedy Tate leaves lingering questions about the problems of existence, while leaving too a smile on the reader's face. The book won the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

Review

“…he has the rare ability to be very, very funny on the page…”―New York Times Book Review
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Product Details

  • Series: Wesleyan Poetry Series
  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Wesleyan; 1st edition (March 15, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0819511927
  • ISBN-13: 978-0819511928
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #366,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Greg Kessler on September 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
James Tate is THE visionary poet of our age and this is his most comprehensive collection to date.

I have read, reread and read again every piece of Tate's writing I have been able to find since I was first exposed to Tate in a class I took with Rodney Jones (another excellent poet) nearly twenty years ago.

Little can compare with:

The Lost Pilot

Coming Down Cleveland Avenue

F@ck the Astronauts

...except the rest of this selected edition which often makes me forget even these masterpieces.

I have gone through 3 copies of this selected edition as I took a copy of it with me everywhere for years.
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 29, 1996
Format: Paperback
If you want to laugh, if you want to feel good about the
human race, if you want something highly entertaining and
intellectually satisfying to read (it is possible), then
get this book. James Tate is just about the only poet ever
who can write poetry that will actually make you physically
laugh out loud. He is also the kind of poet that even people
who hate poetry can like, just because he's so funny.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Bojan Tunguz HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on November 6, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I came across James Tate's poetry in an anthology of Prose Poems, and immediately fell in love with his style. That has spurred me on to get a representative collection of his writing, and by and large I have not been disappointed. This is a wonderful book, with some of the most imaginative use of images and language that I have come across. However, I believe that Tate's prose poems are superior to the rest of his writings, and would really like to read a collection of those. Overall, however, I do recommend this book to anyone interested in more modern poetry.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
Tate's poems pack an extraordinary amount of activity into a very small space. Quite often a stanza, line or sometimes even a single word (e.g. "omnibuzz", a brilliant coinage from "The Life of Poetry", p. 174) can stand alone as a mini-poem on its own merits.
A first read of a Tate poem can be annoying: the queasy feeling generated by a sequence of these (seemingly unrelated) mini-poems that have a disconcerting way of creating new layers of meaning by forming uneasy alliances with each other.
Like Shakespeare before him (yes, he really is that good--you've got to read this guy!), Tate defies linguistic conventions in order raise, affirm, and expand human experience. Of course no one really knows if several centuries from now people will still be reading Tate, but I'd put money on it.
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By Colezy on March 26, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Tate's style is a pleasure to read. He doesn't get pedantic at all. Rather, he uses his wit and observations to delight all who read.
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By Kenny A. Chaffin on December 7, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good poems, but most really did not 'speak' to me.
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