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The Eternal Ones of the Dream: Selected Poems, 1990-2010

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  102 ratings  ·  10 reviews
“Tate’s poems are meditative, introverted, self-reliant, funny, alarming, strange, difficult, intelligent, and beautifully crafted.”
New York Times

The Eternal Ones of the Dream is a breathtaking collection of poems from the last two decades of work of one of modern American poetry’s major artists, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner James Tate. Tate’s
Paperback, 272 pages
Published March 27th 2012 by Ecco
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Jul 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Poetry is everywhere; it just needs editing.

James Tate breaks my heart. Not only was his recent passing a tragic loss, but his poetry is of the sort that revitalizes your faith in the form, or art in general. It is the seriousness of life as glimpsed through funhouse mirrors with the breathless purity of the morning dew lit up by a firey sunrise. Tate didn’t just show and not tell, he became the myth and metaphor through surreal monuments that marked the the depths of the heart. His poetry is
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Blurbs on the backs of books are mostly boiler-plate boring. Blah, blah, blah "luminous." Blah, blah, blah, "powerful." And so forth until words mean nothing (which is, I think, the definition of a blurb).

Still, a shout-out to the poet Charles Simic. On the back of this compilation of James Tate poems he writes a blurb that about nails it: "To write a poem out of nothing at all is Tate's genius.... Just about anything can happen next in this kind of poetry and that is its attraction."

There you
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: 20th century american poetry lovers
Shelves: poemetry
dozens of fine poems, some poignant, many surreal and silly. here's an example:
The Search for Lost Lives
I was chasing this blue butterfly down
the road when a car came by and clipped me.
It was nothing serious, but it angered me and
I turned around and cursed the driver who didn't
even slow down to see if I was hurt. Then I
returned my attention to the butterfly which
was nowhere to be seen. One of the Doubleday
girls came running up the street with her toy
poodle toward me. I stopped
David Ranney
Jul 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Dream On

Some people go their whole lives
without ever writing a single poem.
Extraordinarily people who don't hesitate
to cut somebody's heart or skull open.
They go to baseball games with the greatest of ease
and play a few rounds of golf as if it were nothing.
These same people stroll into a church
as if that were a natural part of life.
Investing money is second nature to them.
They contribute to political campaigns
that have absolutely no poetry in them
and promise none of the future.
They sit
Abbi Dion
Aug 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
When in the midst of total depression/mania/anxiety spell, pluck this from the shelf and comfort thyself.

"Shoot them/all!" he ordered. "But, Captain, they're our men," I said. "No/they're not. My men were well trained and disciplined. Look/at this mess here. They are not my men. Shoot them!" he again/ordered. I raised my rifle, then turned and smacked him in the head/with the butt of it. Then I knelt and handcuffed him. The soldiers/gathered about me and we headed for home. Of course, none of
Rob Mentzer
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I love this poems, they are so funny and weird it is terrific.
First read: June 14, 2019, Friday
Stephen Rynkiewicz
If you occasionally think of your life as aimless and absurd, you're not imagining things. Or maybe you are: Call your online outbursts tweets, but birdsong is much more urgent. Surrealist poet James Tate, who died in July 2015, turns the woodpecker's tap into a Morse code warning from the front lines. Too bad cracking the code seems like such a bother. Crawl out on his limb, and soon the folly of it all will make perfect sense. Here's just one poem to give you an idea. Maybe you can't relate. ...more
Jul 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
James Tate, you rock the hardest.
Matt Morris
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Read my review of this & other books at
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James Vincent Tate was born in Kansas City, Missouri. He taught creative writing at the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University, and at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he worked since 1971. He was 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 first book of poems, The