Allen Tate

(19 November 1899 - 9 February 1979 / Winchester, Kentucky)

Allen Tate
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John Orley Allen Tate was an American poet, essayist, social commentator, and Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1943 to 1944.

Life

Tate was born near Winchester, Kentucky to John Orley Tate, a businessman, and Eleanor Parke Custis Varnell. In 1916 and 1917 Tate studied the violin at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.

He began attending Vanderbilt University in 1918, where he met fellow poet Robert Penn Warren . Warren and Tate were invited to join a group of young Southern poets under the leadership of John Crowe Ransom; the group were known as the Fugitive Poets and later as the Southern Agrarians. Tate contributed to the ... more »

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Quotations

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  • ''I suck in smoke! I smile at grimy mirth,
    And laugh to think that you had parried death.''
    Allen Tate (1899-1979), U.S. poet, critic. "Fair Cuirass Shattered."
  • ''every son-of-a-bitch is Christ, at least Rousseau....''
    Allen Tate (1899-1979), U.S. poet, critic. "Retroduction to American History."
  • ''For intellect is a mansion where waste is without drain....''
    Allen Tate (1899-1979), U.S. poet, critic. "Retroduction to American History."
  • ''The innocent mansion of a panther's heart!''
    Allen Tate (1899-1979), U.S. poet, critic. "Idiot."
  • ''The twilight is long fingers and black hair.''
    Allen Tate (1899-1979), U.S. poet, critic. "Long Fingers."
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Best Poem of Allen Tate

Light

Last night I fled until I came
To streets where leaking casements dripped
Stale lamplight from the corpse of flame;
A nervous window bled.

The moon swagged in the air.
Out of the mist a girl tossed
Spittle of song; a hoarse light
Spattered the fog with heavy hair.

Damp bells in a remote tower
Sharply released the throat of God,
I leaned to the erect night
Dead as stiff turf in winter sod.

Then with the careless energy
Of a dream, the forward curse
Of a cold particular eye
In the headlong hearse.

Read the full of Light

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