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Worshipful Company of Fletchers

Worshipful Company of Fletchers

by James Tate

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Masterfully drawing on a variety of voices and characters, James Tate joyfully offers his first book since winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1992 for his "Selected Poems."


Masterfully drawing on a variety of voices and characters, James Tate joyfully offers his first book since winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1992 for his "Selected Poems."

Editorial Reviews

W.S. Merwin
...Mr. Tate's gift is such that many of [his] poems move me at least to plain envy of what he can do.
John Ashbery
[James Tate] never ceases to astonish, dismay, delight, confuse, tickle, and generally improve the quality of our lives.
New York Times Book Review
Tate's poems are meditative, introverted, self-reliant, funny, alarming, strange, difficult, intelligent, and beautifully crafted. He is an impressive writer whose process of imaginative growth is through that deliberate extinction of personality which T.S. Eliot called for as the indispensable means of turning a man or woman of powerful personality into a writer of powerful poems.
Los Angeles Times Book Review
Tate is a pure and unique American poet....His new book is as fresh and moving as his appreciators have come to expect. Worshipful Company of Fletchers is one of the best examples of sharp-as-a-tack contemporary American languageliveliness you're likely to find on bookshelves these days, and it has the added advantage of not being soulless.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
No other writer is quite like Tate (Reckoner). His earnest verbal anarchy is visual, musical and difficult to characterize or resist. Jazzlike, he seems to invent experience, not just poetry, and the effect is exhilarating for a reader. What is his work about? Envisioning possibilities, and then criticizing, selecting and amending these. Reading a poem is like entering into someone else's rant or vision; one passes through many surprising points of contact in a cloud of apprehension. The encounter for a reader is incongruous, quickening and qualified by Tate's sardonic sense of mischief. ``We are tiny germs that cannot be seen under microscopes,'' he suggests in ``How The Pope is Chosen,'' and in fact Tate conducts himself rather like a germ: fugitive, vital, typically disruptive. The charm of his quick-witted exploits is considerable-but ``charm'' doesn't really describe the intense pleasures of a high-riding imagination that pauses to observe that ``a melancholy bug preens its antennae'' or to report that ``a child has left home and fallen asleep/ on her pink valise beneath a tulip tree.'' (Sept.)
Library Journal
Tate uses a vast range of images in his first collection of poetry since winning the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for Selected Poems (Wesleyan Univ. Pr., 1991). Only a poet of great sensitivity could know what it is like for "the black-eyed Susans and tiger lilies pushing up/against the odds." These poems invite us into the speaker's living room to share his "house skylarking with broken eyeglasses and books,/pillows and postcards." Personal intimacy unfolds before us as the speaker acknowledges that "the poem has passed./It was here, in this room." The speaker even allows us to witness the creative process as he shows us the daily trivia that fills most of our lives, obscuring life's beauty. The freshness and tenderness of this book is rare, and enjoying its "immense ritual" of poetry should make readers very happy. Highly recommended.-Tim Gavin, Episcopal Acad., Merion, Pa.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.26(d)

Read an Excerpt

Go, Youth

I was in a dreamstate and this was causing a problem
with the traffic. I felt lonely, like I'd missed the boat,
or I'd found the boat and it was deserted. In the middle
of the road a child's shoe glistened. I walked around it.
It woke me up a little. The child had disappeared. Some
mysteries are better left alone. Others are dreary, distasteful,
and can disarrange a shadow into a thing of unspeakable beauty.
Whose child is that?
Worshipful Company of Fletchers. Copyright © by James Tate. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

James Tate was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1943. He is the author of seventeen books of poetry, including Worshipful Company of Fletchers, which won the National Book Award in 1994; Selected Poems, which won the Pulitzer Prize and the William Carlos Williams Award in 1991; and The Lost Pilot, which was selected by Dudley Fitts for the Yale Series of Younger Poets. He has also published a novel and a collection of short stories, as well as edited The 1997 Best American Poetry Anthology. His honors include a National Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Poetry, the Tanning Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He teaches at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

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