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Memoir of the Hawk

4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  250 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Memoir of the Hawk creates a world populated by hundreds of characters, believable and strange, tugged at the edges by the unexpected. In the privacy of their homes, who can save them from themselves? In the forests and hills and on the beautiful lakes, what could possibly be wrong? Even in the sweet hometown, with its kindly police, menace lurks in a thousand disguises. M ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published July 30th 2002 by Ecco (first published 2001)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Oct 11, 2010 Eryk rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Lovers of Russel Edson, Charles Simic
Recommended to Eryk by: Just a random search at a used bookstore
Ideally, for me, at least, this book--along with his others--would be better read at the rate of one poem per day. Even the shortest Tate piece is immense and needs time to settle in. But with one poem per page in this 175 page book, I'd never be able to contain myself to only one a day. So, instead, I did the next best thing: read it in two days! This is a magnificent offering from Tate. The poems here are perhaps a bit shorter than those in some of his other books. Not a bad thing, by any mean ...more
Feb 12, 2008 Tony rated it really liked it
James Tate is one strange dude. His poems are peculiarly surreal, or magic realist, or merely absurd, and they seek out a place where humor meets dream. Check out this one:

New Blood

A huge lizard was discovered drinking
out of the fountain today. It was not menacing
anyone, it was just very thirsty. A small crowd
gathered and whispered to one another, as though
the lizard would understand them if they spoke
in normal voices. The lizard seemed not even
a little perturbed by their gathering. It drank
Apr 11, 2015 Doc rated it it was amazing
Funny, thoughtful, even insightful snippets of situations but read more as flash fiction miniatures than as poems. If this is what contemporary verse has become, then it is high time for the pendulum to swing back to more formal and disciplined modes. Oh, it is entertaining and worthwhile, but Mr. Tate is not only playing without the net but has eschewed the ball and racquet, and if you were expecting a tennis match, you got instead interpretive dance.
May 07, 2013 Jan rated it it was ok
Recommended to Jan by: Christian W.
Shelves: poetry
Clever, sort of like Frank O'Hara, who isn't my cup of tea, either. The poems were written in verse, but with seemingly arbitrary line breaks, and they felt more like prose poems because of their surreal and absurd quality. The next morning, any magazine I picked up reminded me of Memoir of the Hawk, so I guess Tate succeeded in pointing out the absurdity of everyday life.
Oct 23, 2007 Darren rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: my imaginary others
Tate has a wonderful way of surprising. His poems are simple, for a while, but the epiphanies toward the end among the everyday events and relationships he concocts leave the reader with a sense of the surreal, of the fantastic...
Jul 07, 2011 Sharma rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I've been re-reading this collection of late and it kicks a severe amount of ass. Hilarious, eyebrow-raising, lyrical, completely paradoxical. Highly recommend to anyone wanting to read mind-blowing poetry.
Jul 28, 2014 Reacher rated it liked it
with roughly 170 poems in this book, there are inevitably going to be some duds along with great poems, and that's surely the case here. one wonders if the collection would have been made stronger through more judicious selection.
Mar 14, 2012 Susan rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Tate can be very, very funny and I enjoyed a lot of the poems but I also tired of the wryness after a while. (Witness how long it took me to get through this book--almost a month!)
Dec 22, 2008 Stephenbailey7 rated it it was amazing
A very funny and accessible collection of prose. I recommend this to anyone who is looking for poetry with mass appeal.
Lindsay Daigle
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Nov 28, 2007 Cole rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: sturdy americans
one of the best gifts i have ever received. thank you leroy.
Robert Stewart
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Dec 27, 2009
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May 07, 2008
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James Vincent Tate was born in Kansas City, Missouri. He has taught creative writing at the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University, and 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, along with Dara Wier and Peter Gizzi.

Dudley Fitts selected Tate's fi
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