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The Government Lake: Last Poems by James…

The Government Lake: Last Poems (edition 2019)

by James Tate (Author)

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1311,113,240 (5)2
"A rat climbs onto the desk of a bored office worker. A family dog never stops coming back to life. Every prisoner on earth is freed. A man becomes friends with a bank robber who abducts him. A baby is born transparent. James Tate's work, filled with unexpected turns and deadpan exaggeration, 'fanciful and grave, mundane and transcendent' (New York Times), has been among the most defining and significant of our time. In his last collection, written before his death in 2015, Tate's dark humor, his emotional acuity, and his keen ear are on full display in prose poems that are finely constructed, lyrical, and provocative. With The Government Lake, James Tate reminds us why he is one of the great poets of our age and a true master."--Page [2] of cover.… (more)
Title:The Government Lake: Last Poems
Authors:James Tate (Author)
Info:Ecco (2019), 96 pages
Collections:Read in 2020

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The Government Lake: Last Poems by James Tate



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This was the last book that James Tate wrote before his death in 2015. Many people are unfamiliar with Tate’s poetry, but he had won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the William Carlos Williams Award, among many other awards and prizes. He was also honored with fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
But it was just a few years ago that I first read and fell in love with his work. His work was accessible, as he didn’t bring in esoteric figures from ancient mythology, or try to impress his readers with little-known vocabulary that was shoehorned into his poetry. It was his later prose poetry that was my very favorite. His style always surprised. You would be reading along, lulled into a story, a feeling, and then you’d come to a major shift, and his humor would grab you and run off in some bizarre unexpected direction … and it was the best of odd. Most always, he would spin the wheel and quickly end the poem, and you were left—maybe a little confused at first—but I always found a smile or a smirk on my face.
I can only hope that there’s more Tate prose poetry squirreled away, waiting to be published in the next few years, but this was a fine collection that did all those things that his poetry did for me. ( )
  jphamilton | Aug 7, 2019 |
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