Nathaniel Tarn

(1928 / Paris)

Biography of Nathaniel Tarn

Nathaniel Tarn poet

Nathaniel Tarn (born 1928 in Paris) is an American poet, essayist, anthropologist, and translator. He was born to a French mother and a British father. He lived in Paris until age 7, then in Belgium (Lycée d’Anvers) until age 11. He emigrated to the United States in 1970 and taught at American universities.
Tarn was educated at Clifton College, UK and graduated in history and English from King's College, Cambridge. He returned to Paris and, after some journalism and radio work, discovered anthropology at the Musée de l’Homme, the Ecole des Hautes Etudes and the Collège de France. A Fulbright grant took him to Yale and the University of Chicago where Robert Redfield sent him to Guatemala for his doctoral fieldwork (1951-2). He completed this work as a graduate student at the London School of Economics (1953-8).

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Ancestors

Small provincial town
in 'my' fathers' land
at creation's edge -
border post deserted,
a line of lindens,
opposite post deserted,
no crossings anymore
as there once were
between old world and new.

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