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James Tate Papers


Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Correspondence, Folder 1-4

Manuscripts, Folder 5

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James Tate Papers, 1970-1980 | MS Manuscripts

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Collection Overview

Title: James Tate Papers, 1970-1980Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1970-1980

ID: MS/MS/ms112

Primary Creator: Tate, Jame,1943- , American author

Extent: 1.0 Boxes

Date Acquired: 08/01/1986

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The James Tate Papers consists almost entirely of Tate’s correspondence with Charles Simic. These letters provide an interesting insight into Tate’s writing and his ideas on contemporary poetry, and many include Tate’s opinions on and suggestion for Simic’s poetry. Some letters also contain discussions on other contemporary poets. All letters are from Tate. Other items in the collection include manuscripts by Tate: “Cruisin’ Even.” Typescript, 1 page on verso of letter to Simic, 1972: October 8. “Return to a Place Lit by a Hamburger.” Typescript, 1 page, on postcard to Simic, 1975: November 12. “A Guide to the Stone Age.” Typescript, 1 page no date. “Urgent Letter to Charles Simic Concerning the State of Poetry and the Angel of Death.” Typescript, 1 page 1970: February 27.

Collection Historical Note

James Vincent Tate was born in Kansas City, Missouri. He received his B.A. from Kansas State University in 1965 and then went on to earn his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa in their famed Writer's Workshop.

Dudley Fitts selected Tate's first book of poems, The Lost Pilot (1967) for the Yale Series of Younger Poets while Tate was still a student at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop; Fitts praised Tate's writing for its "natural grace." Despite the early praise he received Tate alienated some of his fans in the seventies with a series of poetry collections that grew more and more strange. Tate's writing style is difficult to describe, but has been identified with the postmodernist and neo-surrealist movements. He has been known to play with phrases culled from news items, history, anecdotes, or common speech; later cutting, pasting, and assembling such divergent material into tightly woven compositions that reveal bizarre and surreal insights into the absurdity of human nature.

His awards include a National Institute of Arts and Letters Award, the Wallace Stevens Award, a Pulitzer Prize in poetry, a National Book Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He recently served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Tate has taught creative writing at the University of California, Berkeley, Columbia University, and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he was a member of the poetry faculty at the MFA Program for Poets & Writers. He died in Springfield, Massachusetts in July, 2015.

Administrative Information

Repository: MS Manuscripts

Access Restrictions: Open

Use Restrictions:

Users of the collection must read and agree to abide by the rules and procedures set forth in the Materials Use Policies.

Providing access to materials does not constitute permission to publish or otherwise authorize use. All publication not covered by fair use or other exceptions is restricted to those who have permission of the copyright holder, which may or may not be Washington University.

If you wish to publish or license Special Collections materials, please contact Special Collections to inquire about copyright status at (314) 935-5495 or spec@wumail.wustl.edu. (Publish means quotation in whole or in part in seminar or term papers, theses or dissertations, journal articles, monographs, books, digital forms, photographs, images, dramatic presentations, transcriptions, or any other form prepared for a limited or general public.)

Acquisition Source: Purchased from George R. Minkoff, Inc

Acquisition Method: Accession number 1695

Preferred Citation: Name of the Collection, Washington University Libraries, Department of Special Collections

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence, Folder 1-4],
[Series 2: Manuscripts, Folder 5],

Series 2: Manuscripts, Folder 5Add to your cart.
Item 1: Cruisin' Even [poem] by TateAdd to your cart.
Typescript, 1 page. On verso of letter to Simic, 1972: October 8. See folder 1.
Item 2: Return to a Place Lit by a Hamburger [poem] by TateAdd to your cart.
Typescript, 1 page. On postcard to Simic, 1975: November 12.
Item 3: A Guide to the Stone Age [poem] by TateAdd to your cart.
Typescript, 1 page
Item 4: Urgent Letter to Charles Simic Concerning the State of Poetry and the Angel of Death [poem] by TateAdd to your cart.
Typescript, 1 page

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence, Folder 1-4],
[Series 2: Manuscripts, Folder 5],

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