Biography (Critical Survey of Poetry: American Poets)
James Vincent Tate was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1943. He began college study at the University of Missouri in Columbia and finished his B.A. at Kansas State College in Pittsburg, Kansas, in 1965. He entered the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa and received an M.F.A. in poetry in 1967. In 1966, Tate began teaching creative writing and literature courses at the University of Iowa (1966-1967), the University of California, Berkeley (1967-1968), Columbia University (1969-1971), and Emerson College in Boston (poet-in-residence, 1970-1971). He joined the regular teaching faculty at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1971, where he would remain except for short periods of residence in such places as Sweden, Ireland, and Spain.
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Biography (Cyclopedia of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition)
James Vincent Tate grew up in the Midwest and was educated at the University of Missouri at Columbia and at Kansas State College, where he received his B.A. He began writing poems seriously during these years and, on the basis of their quality, he was admitted to the University of Iowa’s Creative Writing program, one of the best of its kind. By the time he received his M.F.A. degree in 1967, he had begun a teaching career of his own and achieved some small acclaim as a poet. From 1966 to 1967, he subsidized his studies as a graduate instructor and saw a few of his poems collected in a small monograph printed in limited edition, Cages, as well as anthologized in Poets of the Heartland. Shortly thereafter he won the Yale Younger Poets Series competition, which led to the publication of his first full-fledged book of poems, The Lost Pilot. It was an auspicious debut. Tate, the series’ youngest winner, was hailed as one of the most promising voices of his generation.
He spent the 1967 to 1968 academic year at the University of California at Berkeley as a visiting lecturer, after which he returned to the East Coast and for two years taught at Columbia University. After spending 1970 to 1971 in Boston as poet-in-residence at Emerson College, he began teaching at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. By this time Tate had to his...
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James Vincent Tate was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1943, in the middle of World War II. Tate’s father, Samuel Vincent Appleby, was a pilot who was reported missing in action while on a bombing run over Germany in his B-17. Tate, who never met his father, was raised by his mother, Betty Jean Whitsitt. The title piece of his prizewinning Yale Younger Poets collection of poems, The Lost Pilot (1967), captures the poet’s sense of the loss of his dead father. Themes of loss, absence, and imminent catastrophe pervade much of Tate’s work. Tate is also fascinated with war, which he explores in “Smart and Final Iris,” “Land of Little Sticks, 1945,” and other poems.
Tate began writing poetry at 17, often composing in a trance-like state. Though he read and admired modernist poets William Carlos Williams and Wallace Stevens, Tate maintains that neither influenced him, and that it is difficult to name any direct influences on his writing—although he will admit to being a jazz aficionado, and a life-long student of popular culture and human nature. In 1965, he graduated from Kansas State College, and in 1967 he took a master of fine arts degree from the University of Iowa’s prestigious Writer’s Workshop, where he studied with poet Donald Justice, among others. In 1971, after teaching at Columbia University and the University of California, Berkeley, Tate joined the English department at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where...
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