James Tate


Born in 1943 in Kansas City, Missouri, Tate won the 1967 Yale Series of Younger Poets prize for his first book The Lost Pilot. He wrote eighteen full-length books of poetry along with many chapbooks, collections of prose, collaborations, and a novel. His Selected Poems won the 1991 Pulitzer Prize and the William Carlos Williams Award. In 1994, Worshipful Company of Fletchers won the National Book Award. Tate taught for many years in the University of Massachusetts Amherst MFA for Poets and Writers. In 2004, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He always carried a camera, taking photos of everything around him. Source


Why should you believe in magic,

pretend an interest in astrology

or the tarot? Truth is, you are


free, and what might happen to you

today, nobody knows. And your

personality may undergo a radical


transformation in the next half

hour. So it goes. You are consumed

by your faith in justice, your


hope for a better day, the rightness

of fate, the dreams, the lies

the taunts—Nobody gets what he


wants. A dark star passes through

you on your way home from

the grocery: never again are you


the same—an experience which is

impossible to forget, impossible

to share. The longing to be pure


is over. You are the stranger

who gets stranger by the hour.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Literary Devices:


The repetition of a word within a phrase, in which the second use of the word utilizes a different and sometimes contrary meaning from the first.


the absence of a conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so…) between phrases and within a sentence

Internal Rhyme

A rhyme involving a word in the middle of a line and another at the end of the line or in the middle of the next.


A stanza of three lines of verse that rhyme together or are connected by rhyme with an adjacent stanza.