The Government Lake: Last Poems

The Government Lake: Last Poems

by James Tate


View All Available Formats & Editions
Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details


The stunning, startling collection that is also the last work from a major poet

A woman named Mildred starts laying eggs after feathers from wild poultry begin coming down the chimney. A man becomes friends with a bank robber who abducts him and eventually rues his captor’s death. A baby is born transparent.

James Tate’s work, filled with unexpected turns and deadpan exaggeration, “fanciful and grave, mundane and transcendent,” (New York Times) has been among the most defining and significant of our time. In his last collection before his death in 2015, Tate’s dark yet whimsical humor, his emotional acuity, and his keen ear for the absurd are on full display in prose poems that finely constructed and lyrical, surrealistic and provocative.

With The Government Lake, James Tate reminds us why he is one of the great poets of our age and one of the true masters of the form. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062914729
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/28/2020
Pages: 96
Sales rank: 767,637
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.40(d)

About 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.

Table of Contents

Eternity 1

My New Pet 3

Into the Night 5

The Seahorse 7

The Prairie Dog Town Under Attack 8

Partners 10

Debbie and the Lumberjack 12

Double-Trouble 14

Roscoe's Farewell 16

The Sky Is Falling Like Bunnies 18

A Pea in a Pod 20

Everything But Thomas 22

O Josephina 24

The Jackdaw's Head 26

Fishing in the Sea of Galilee 28

The Cow and the Butterflies 30

The Phone Call 32

Elvis Has Left the House 34

A Shift in the Attic 36

The Execution 38

The Shepherd 40

The Liar 42

Magic 43

Out of Breath 45

The Thief 47

The Walk Home 49

Second Childhood 51

The Argonaut 53

The Floorplan to Heaven 55

The Shadows of the Trees on the Water 56

Transparent Child 58

The Dead Man's Friend 60

My Father and Me 62

The Government Lake 64

The Devil 66

Too Late 68

The Prayer 70

The Visiting Doctor 72

Married to the Wrong Man 74

The Final Vacation 76

A Dream Come True 78

The Truth 80

I sat at my desk and contemplated all that I had accomplished 82

Customer Reviews