Tate, James, 1943-....

Alternative names
Birth 1943-12-08

Biographical notes:

American poet.

From the description of Papers, 1970-1980. (Washington University in St. Louis). WorldCat record id: 26090178

From the description of James Tate Papers, 1944-1998 (bulk 1962-1998). (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC); University of Texas at Austin). WorldCat record id: 191957085

James Vincent Tate was born James Vincent Appleby on December 8, 1943, in Kansas City, Missouri, to Samuel Vincent Appleby and Betty Jean Whitsitt. Tate’s father, a B-17 co-pilot during the Second World War, was killed on a bombing mission over Germany on April 11, 1944.

Tate grew up with his mother in and around Kansas City, living with relatives until he was seven. Tate’s mother remarried twice before he left for college in 1960, and he eventually took the surname of his second stepfather.

Tate attended Kansas State College and The University of Missouri, taking several breaks in his studies to travel in Europe and live in New York City and New Orleans. He received his B.A. from Kansas State College in 1965, and then enrolled in The University of Iowa’s Writers Workshop where he received an M.F.A. in 1967.

Tate’s first publication of collected poems, Cages (1966), was followed by The Lost Pilot, which won the 1966 Yale Younger Poets Award and was published by Yale University Press in 1967. Noted for surreal landscapes and eccentric use of language, Tate has received much critical acclaim for The Lost Pilot and for later works, including Absences (1972), and Constant Defender (1983). His many awards include Poet of the Year, Phi Beta Kappa, 1972; the National Institute of Arts and Letters award for poetry, 1974; the Pulitzer Prize for poetry for Selected Poems, 1992; the National Book Award for Worshipful Company of Fletchers, 1994; and the 1995 Tanning Prize from the Academy of American Poets.

Tate’s poems have appeared in numerous magazines, including The American Poetry Review, Kayak, and The Seneca Review . In addition to writing, Tate has held teaching positions at the University of Iowa (1966-1967), the University of California at Berkeley (1967-1968), Columbia University (1969-1971), and Emerson College in Boston (1970-1971). Since 1971, Tate has taught poetry at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Tate married Liselotte Jonsson in 1972. They separated in 1986.

From the guide to the James Tate Papers TXRC05-A10003., 1944-1998 (bulk 1962-1998), (The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center)


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Ark ID:


  • Poetry, Modern--20th century
  • Commonplace-books
  • Poets, American--20th century
  • American poetry--20th century


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