Old 07-14-2015, 06:50 PM   #1
Tzara
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RIP, James Tate (1943-2015)

James Tate, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and longtime professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, died last week. Here's one of his poems:
Failed Tribute to the Stonemason of Tor House, Robinson Jeffers
James Tate

We traveled down to see your house,
Tor House, Hawk Tower, in Carmel,
California. It was not quite what
I thought it would be: I wanted it
to be on a hill, with a view of the ocean
unobstructed by other dwellings.
Fifty years ago I know you had
a clean walk to the sea, hopping
from boulder to boulder, the various
seafowl rightly impressed with
your lean, stern face. But today

with our cameras cocked we had to
sneak and crawl through trimmed lawns
to even verify the identity of
your strange carbuncular creation,
now rented to trillionaire non-
literary folk from Pasadena.
Edged in on all sides by trilevel
pasteboard phantasms, it took
a pair of good glasses to barely see
some newlyweds feed popcorn
to an albatross. Man is

a puny thing, divorced,
whether he knows it or not, and
pays his monthly alimony,
his child-support. Year after year
you strolled down to this exceptionally
violent shore and chose your boulder;
the arms grew as the house grew
as the mind grew to exist outside
of time, beyond the dalliance
of your fellows. Today I hate
Carmel: I seek libation in the Tiki

Bar: naked native ladies are painted
in iridescent orange on velvet cloth:
the whole town loves art.
And I donate this Singapore Sling
to the memory of it, and join
the stream of idlers simmering outside.
Much as hawks circled your head
when you cut stone all afternoon,
kids with funny hats on motorscooters
keep circling the block.
Jeffers, ...


Source: Selected Poems (1991)
His death particularly saddens me as I was looking at a book I especially liked in college, an anthology of (then) young writers called In Youth and realized he was one of the anthologized writers.

Makes me feel old. Which, of course, I am.
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Last edited by Tzara : 07-14-2015 at 06:52 PM.
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Old 07-14-2015, 11:23 PM   #2
Angeline
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The Blue Booby
by James Tate

The blue booby lives
on the bare rocks
of Galápagos
and fears nothing.
It is a simple life:
they live on fish,
and there are few predators.
Also, the males do not
make fools of themselves
chasing after the young
ladies. Rather,
they gather the blue
objects of the world
and construct from them

a nest—an occasional
Gaulois package,
a string of beads,
a piece of cloth from
a sailor's suit. This
replaces the need for
dazzling plumage;
in fact, in the past
fifty million years
the male has grown
considerably duller,
nor can he sing well.
The female, though,

asks little of him—
the blue satisfies her
completely, has
a magical effect
on her. When she returns
from her day of
gossip and shopping,
she sees he has found her
a new shred of blue foil:
for this she rewards him
with her dark body,
the stars turn slowly
in the blue foil beside them
like the eyes of a mild savior.


“The Blue Booby” from Selected Poems. Copyright © 1991 by James Tate.
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Last edited by Angeline : 07-14-2015 at 11:26 PM.
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Old 07-29-2015, 02:21 AM   #3
HuckPilgrim
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I love Worshipful Company of Fletchers. It's an amazing collection.
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Old 07-29-2015, 05:52 AM   #4
theognis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angeline View Post
The Blue Booby
by James Tate

The blue booby lives
on the bare rocks
of Galápagos
and fears nothing.
It is a simple life:
they live on fish,
and there are few predators.
Also, the males do not
make fools of themselves
chasing after the young
ladies. Rather,
they gather the blue
objects of the world
and construct from them

a nest—an occasional
Gaulois package,
a string of beads,
a piece of cloth from
a sailor's suit. This
replaces the need for
dazzling plumage;
in fact, in the past
fifty million years
the male has grown
considerably duller,
nor can he sing well.
The female, though,

asks little of him—
the blue satisfies her
completely, has
a magical effect
on her. When she returns
from her day of
gossip and shopping,
she sees he has found her
a new shred of blue foil:
for this she rewards him
with her dark body,
the stars turn slowly
in the blue foil beside them
like the eyes of a mild savior.


“The Blue Booby” from Selected Poems. Copyright © 1991 by James Tate.
Very nice.

RIP.
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