James Tate

(8 December 1943 - / Kansas City, Missouri)

Quotations

  • ''Rather,
    they gather the blue
    objects of the world
    and construct from them

    a nest—''
    James Tate (b. 1943), U.S. poet. The Blue Booby (l. 11-15). . . Norton Anthology of Poetry, The. Alexander W. Allison and others, eds. (3d ed., 1983) W. W. Norton & Company.
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  • ''the stars turn slowly
    in the blue foil beside them
    like the eyes of a mild savior.''
    James Tate (b. 1943), U.S. poet. The Blue Booby (l. 39-41). . . Norton Anthology of Poetry, The. Alexander W. Allison and others, eds. (3d ed., 1983) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''when I see you,
    as I have seen you at least

    once every year of my life,
    spin across the wilds of the sky
    like a tiny, African god,

    I feel dead.''
    James Tate (b. 1943), U.S. poet. The Lost Pilot (l. 32-37). . . Norton Anthology of Poetry, The. Alexander W. Allison and others, eds. (3d ed., 1983) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''fast, perfect, and unwilling
    to tell me that you are doing
    well, or that it was mistake
    that placed you in that world,
    and me in this; or that misfortune
    placed these worlds in us.''
    James Tate (b. 1943), U.S. poet. The Lost Pilot (l. 43-48). . . Norton Anthology of Poetry, The. Alexander W. Allison and others, eds. (3d ed., 1983) W. W. Norton & Company.

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It Happens Like This

I was outside St. Cecelia's Rectory
smoking a cigarette when a goat appeared beside me.
It was mostly black and white, with a little reddish
brown here and there. When I started to walk away,
it followed. I was amused and delighted, but wondered
what the laws were on this kind of thing. There's
a leash law for dogs, but what about goats? People
smiled at me and admired the goat. "It's not my goat,"
I explained. "It's the town's goat. I'm just taking

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