Finding-Aid for the James Tate Papers (MSS112)


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Table of Contents

Collection Outline

Descriptive Summary

Biographical Note

Scope and Contents Note

Restrictions

Administrative Information

Box and Folder Listing


Collection Outline

Series I. Correspondence

Series II. Manuscripts

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Descriptive Summary

Creator: Tate, Jame,1943- , American author
Title: James Tate Papers
Identification: MSS112

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Biographical Note

James Vincent Tate was born in Kansas City, Missouri. He received his B.A. from Kansas State University in 1965 and then went on to earn his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa in their famed Writer's Workshop.

Dudley Fitts selected Tate's first book of poems, The Lost Pilot (1967) for the Yale Series of Younger Poets while Tate was still a student at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop; Fitts praised Tate's writing for its "natural grace." Despite the early praise he received Tate alienated some of his fans in the seventies with a series of poetry collections that grew more and more strange. Tate's writing style is difficult to describe, but has been identified with the postmodernist and neo-surrealist movements. He has been known to play with phrases culled from news items, history, anecdotes, or common speech; later cutting, pasting, and assembling such divergent material into tightly woven compositions that reveal bizarre and surreal insights into the absurdity of human nature.

His awards include a National Institute of Arts and Letters Award, the Wallace Stevens Award, a Pulitzer Prize in poetry, a National Book Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He is currently a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Tate has taught creative writing at the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University. He currently teaches at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he has worked since 1971. He is a member of the poetry faculty at the MFA Program for Poets & Writers.

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Scope and Contents Note

The James Tate Papers consists almost entirely of Tate’s correspondence with Charles Simic. These letters provide an interesting insight into Tate’s writing and his ideas on contemporary poetry, and many include Tate’s opinions on and suggestion for Sumic’s poetry. Some letters also contain discussions on other contemporary poets. All letters are from Tate. Other items in the collection include manuscripts by Tate: “Cruisin’ Even.” Ts, 1 p. on verso of letter to Simic, 1972: October 8. “Return to a Place Lit by a Hamburger.” TSS, 1 p., on postcard to Simic, 1975: November 12. “A Guide to the Stone Age.” TS, 1 p. n.d. “Urgent Letter to Charles Simic Concerning the State of Poetry and the Angel of Death.” TSS, 1 p. 1970: February 27.

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Restrictions

Access Restrictions

Open.

Use Restriction

None

Users of the collections must read and abide by the Rules for the use of manuscript collection materials.

Users of the collections who wish to use items from this collection, in whole or in part, in any form of publication (as defined in the form) must sign and submit to the Washington University Department of Special Collections a hard copy of the Notification of intent publish manuscript collection materials form.

All publication not covered by fair use restricted to those who have permission of the copyright holder.

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Administrative Information

Source

Purchase. Accession 1695.

Processed by Washington University Department Special Collections Staff.

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Box and Folder Listing

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Box/folder
1/1-4

Series I. Correspondence,

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Box/folder
James Tate to Charles Simic,
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, 1970: March 8 (TLS, 2p)
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, 1971: January 18 (TLS, 2p)
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, 1971: January 28 (TLS, 1p)
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, 1972: July 19 (TLS, 1p)
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, 1972: August 5 (TLS, 2p)
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, 1972: October 8 (TLS, 1p)
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, 1972: October 9 (ACS, 1p)
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, 1972: October 25 (TLS, 1p)
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, 1972: December 3 (TLS, 1p)
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, 1975: March 23 (TLS, 2p)
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, 1975: July 17 (ACS, 1p)
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, 1975: July 21 (ACS, 1p)
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, 1975: August 22 (ACS, 5p)
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, [1975-1976] (TLS, 1p)
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, 1976: June 2 (ACS, 1p)
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, 1976: July 31 (TLS, 2p)
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, 1976: September 12 (ACS, 1p)
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, 1976: September 17 (ACS, 2p)
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, 1976: October 16 (TLS, 2p)
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, 1976: November 20 (TNS, 2p)
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, 1976: November 31 (TLS, 2p)
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, 1976: December 30 (TL, 1p)
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, 1977: February 28 (TLS, 2p)
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, 1977: March 25 (TLS, 1p)
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, 1977: April 28 (ACS, 1p)
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, 1977: June 16 (ACS, 1p)
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, 1977: August 12 (ACS, 1p)
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, 1980: February 21 (TLS, 2p)

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Box/folder
1/5

Series II. Manuscripts,

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Box/folder
Cruisin' Even [poem] by Tate, (Ts, 1p)
On verso of letter to Simic, 1972: October 8. See folder 1.
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Box/folder
Return to a Place Lit by a Hamburger [poem] by Tate, (Ts, 1p)
On postcard to Simic, 1975: November 12.
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Box/folder
A Guide to the Stone Age [poem] by Tate, (Ts, 1p)
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Box/folder
Urgent Letter to Charles Simic Concerning the State of Poetry and the Angel of Death [poem] by Tate, (Ts, 1p)

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