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Memoir of the Hawk: Poems Paperback – July 30, 2002
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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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Why do the doves fly out of the priests eyes?
Is the old woman really going to bite your fingers?
Are the toads actually talking?
Why would a mother and son pretend they are Adam and Eve?
Why did they name their flower shop Murder, Inc.?
If you're looking for Walt Whitman, go somewhere else, but if you're in the mood for a more comical William Carlos Williams, a more formal E.E. Cummings, a cleaner Bukowski, then James Tate just might be your guy.
-- Reviewed by Jonathan Stephens
and who would want them, anyway..'
which evokes some lines (the best) from Tate's very first collection The Lost Pilot, something about 'here are my fears [all-important qualifying adjectives (that I don't recall!)], they are all that I have, take them'
If written out as prose these would be exposed as the facile, enfeebled efforts they are. Read the self-styled 'stories' in Dreams of a Robot Dancing Bee, published by Tate the same year, instead - they are the truer poetry
For an alternate view, see my four-star review posted on amazon.co.uk. Hey, it IS Christmas
Not a book for those more aligned to SERIOUS and/or FORMAL poetry. The best comparison I can make is that much of Tate's ideas and images are like the best of "They Might Be Giants" (the band)...lyrical, musical, absurd and at the same time compelling.