The Ghost Soldiers

The Ghost Soldiers

5.0 2
by James Tate
     
 

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In this, his fifteenth collection of poetry, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet James Tate continues doing what he does best. His poems are evocative, provocative, funny, subtle, eccentric, occasionally disturbing, and wildly outrageous. Tate′s surrealist style strikes its own utterly new and original note in American poetry; as

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Overview

In this, his fifteenth collection of poetry, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet James Tate continues doing what he does best. His poems are evocative, provocative, funny, subtle, eccentric, occasionally disturbing, and wildly outrageous. Tate′s surrealist style strikes its own utterly new and original note in American poetry; as Charles Simic has observed, "To write a poem out of nothng at all is Tate′s genius...Just about anything can happen next in this kind of poetry and that is its attraction...He makes me think that anti-poetry is the best friend poetry ever had."

Father′s Day

My daughter has lived overseas for a number

of years now. She married into royalty, and they

won′t let her communicate with any of her family or

friends. She lives on birdseed and a few sips

of water. She dreams of me constantly. Her husband,

the Prince, whips her when he catches her dreaming.

Fierce guard dogs won′t let her out of their sight.

I hired a detective, but he was killed trying to

rescue her. I have written hundreds of letters

to the State Department. They have written back

saying that they are aware of the situation. I

never saw her dance. I was always away at some

convention. I never saw her sing. I was always

working late. I called her My Princess, to make

up for my shortcomings, and she never forgave me.

Birdseed was her middle name.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

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'A ") 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. (Apr.)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061756078
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/31/2009
Edition description:
Original
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
878,501
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Ghost Soldiers

Chapter One

Treason

The man that was following me looked like a government agent, so I turned around and walked up to him and said, "Why are you following me?" He said, "I'm not following you. I'm an insurance agent walking to work." "Well, pardon me, my mistake," I said. "Have you done something wrong, unpatriotic, or are you just paranoid?" he said. "I've done nothing wrong, certainly not unpatriotic, and I'm not paranoid," I said. "Well, nobody's ever mistaken me for a government agent before," he said. "I'm sorry," I said. "You have something weighing down on your conscience, don't you?" he said. "No, I don't. I'm just vigilant," I said. "Like a good criminal," he said. "Would you stop talking to me like that," I said. "I don't want to have anything to do with you." "You've committed some kind of treason and they're going to get you," he said. "You're out of your mind," I said. "Benedict Arnold, that's who you are," he said. "I'm going to a peace rally if that's okay with you," I said. "Oh, a peacenik. That's the same as treason," he said. "No, it isn't," I said. "Yes it is," he said. "No." "Yes." "No." "Yes." We reached his office door. "I really hate to say good-bye to you. Would you like to have lunch tomorrow?" he said. "I'd be delighted," I said. "Good. Then Sadie's Café at noon," he said. "Noon at Sadie's," I said.

The Ghost Soldiers. Copyright ? by James Tate. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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