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The Eternal Ones of the Dream: Selected Poems 1990 - 2010 Paperback – Deckle Edge, March 27, 2012
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From the Back Cover
A breathtaking collection of work from 1990 to 2010 by Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner James Tate
James Tate's poems are evocative, provocative, funny, subtle, eccentric, occasionally disturbing, and wildly outrageous. His surrealist style strikes its own utterly new and original note in American poetry, transforming our everyday world into sublime burlesque—a world where women give birth to wolves, wild babies are found in gardens, and Saint Nick visits on a hot July day. Tate's signature style draws on a marvelous variety of voices and characters, all of which sound vaguely familiar but are each fantastically unique, brilliant, and deeply particular.
The Eternal Ones of the Dream features Tate's work from the last two decades, selected from seven books of poetry. The poems span from 1990's Distance from Loved Ones to 2009's The Ghost Soldiers, showcasing the impressive breadth of talent. As W. S. Merwin said of Tate, "Mr. Tate's gift is such that many of [his] poems move me at least to plain envy of what he can do."
About the Author
James Tate was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1943. He is the author of seventeen books of poetry, including Worshipful Company of Fletchers, which won the National Book Award in 1994; Selected Poems, which won the Pulitzer Prize and the William Carlos Williams Award in 1991; and The Lost Pilot, which was selected by Dudley Fitts for the Yale Series of Younger Poets. He has also published a novel and a collection of short stories, as well as edited The 1997 Best American Poetry Anthology. His honors include a National Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Poetry, the Tanning Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He teaches at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.
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When I walked up to a bookstore's poetry shelf and beheld the girth of Tate's next volume, Memoir of the Hawk, my heart sank. He had taken his customary time period between volumes, but instead of the usual 40 to 50 poems, he had cranked out over a hundred. The poems were prose poems with arbitrary line breaks, absurdist narratives that elicited a wry smile. It was as if Tate had read Russell Edson's cautionary and gnomic work, decided that it looked a lot easier than what he was doing, and set to work.
I will be perusing this volume for many years to come, hoping to find more lines with the lapidary brilliance of:
"And the dream has a pain in its heart/ the wonders of which are manifold,/or so the story is told."
Those lines end Dream On, from Shroud of the Gnome, Tate's final (to date) blaze of glory.