Pulitzer Prize-winning poet James Tate returns with his fifteenth book of poetry, an exciting new collection that offers nearly one hundred fresh and thought-provoking pieces that embody Tate's trademark style and voice: his accessibility, his dark humor, and his exquisite sense of the absurd.
Tate's work is stark—he writes in clear, everyday language—yet his seemingly simple and macabre stories are layered with broad and trenchant meaning. His characters are often lost or confused, his settings bizarre, his scenarios brilliantly surreal. Opaque, inscrutable people float through a dreamlike world where nothing is as it seems. The Ghost Soldiers offers resounding proof, once again, that Tate stands alone in American poetry.
Here is what Charles Simic, talking about James Tate, said, quoting Charles Mingus talking about Ornette Coleman: "He does everything wrong, but it sounds right." Here's hoping that Tate goes on doing wrong for a good long while yet.read more
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Over the past several books, the prolific Pulitzer Prize winner Tate (Return to the City of White Donkeys) has been inching toward the invention of a new kind of American poem, a hybrid of prose poetry (though he's got loose, almost arbitrary line breaks), fable, surrealism and a sort of outsider folk poetry. These chatty, narrative works humorously treat all kinds of subjects, from civil unrest (" `There are soldiers everywhere. Its' hard/ to tell which side they're on,' I said. `They're against us./ Everyone's against us. Isn't that what you believe' ") to altruism ("I said I didn't want any help from anyone, but, then,/ when no one offered to help, I was really hurt") and wildcats ("I loved his quick, agile movements, never doubting himself,/ as most of us do). A dark undercurrent runs beneath them all, and war and politics--which tend to confuse the poems' speakers--are frequent subjects. It's rare that a poet so far into his career--this is Tate's 15th collection--comes up with something new; quietly, Tate has found a fresh way of telling some of America's stories. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved