James Tate 1943–
Tate's literary career began with a flourish; his first volume of poems, The Lost Pilot, earned him the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award in 1966, as well as an enthusiastic critical interest. His poems were hailed for their striking surreal images, their unpretentious natural grace, and the balance between a comic lightness of surface tone and an underlying depth of somber suggestion.
In the decade following The Lost Pilot, Tate published several volumes of poetry. Critics noted throughout this period Tate's creative invention of metaphor, his frequent use of dream images, and his dramatic vocabulary. Noted too, were his self-assured manner and his cynical tone aimed at a wide range of contemporary ills. In his recent collections, Viper Jazz and Riven Doggeries, Tate continues to move toward the notion that communication and connection with the world outside the individual's mind are impossible.
(See also CLC, Vols. 2, 6; Contemporary Authors, Vols. 21-24, rev. ed; and Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 5.)