Synopses & Reviews
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.
"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." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
James Tate was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1943. He is the author of sixteen books of poetry, including The Ghost Soldiers; Return to the City of White Donkeys; Memoir of the Hawk; Shroud of the Gnome; Worshipful Company of Fletchers, which won the National Book Award in 1994; Selected Poems, which won the Pulitzer Prize and the William Carlos Williams Award in 1991; Distance from Loved Ones; Reckoner; Constant Defender; Riven Doggeries; Viper Jazz; Absences; Hints to Pilgrims; The Oblivion Ha-Ha; and The Lost Pilot, which was selected by Dudley Fitts for the Yale Series of Younger Poets. He teaches at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.