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Allen Tate

(19 November 1899 - 9 February 1979 / Winchester, Kentucky)

Allen Tate
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John Orley Allen Tate was an American poet, essayist, social commentator, and Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1943 to 1944.


Tate was born near Winchester, Kentucky to John Orley Tate, a businessman, and Eleanor Parke Custis Varnell. In 1916 and 1917 Tate studied the violin at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.

He began attending Vanderbilt University in 1918, where he met fellow poet Robert Penn Warren . Warren and Tate were invited to join a group of young Southern poets under the leadership of John Crowe Ransom; the group were known as the Fugitive ... more »

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  • ''I've often wondered why she laughed
    On thinking why I wondered so;
    It seemed such waste that long white hands
    Should touch my hands and let them go.''
    Allen Tate (1899-1979), U.S. poet, critic. "Edges."
  • ''She, her head back, waited
    Barbarous the stalking tide;
    Her, nor balked nor sated
    But plunged into the wide
    Area of mental ire,
    Lay at her wandering side.''
    Allen Tate (1899-1979), U.S. poet, critic. "Pastoral."
  • There are wolves in the next room waiting
    With heads bent low, thrust out, breathing
    At nothing in the dark; between them and me
    A white door patched with light from the hall Allen Tate (1899-1979), U.S. poet, critic. "The Wolves."
  • ''Our loss put six feet under ground
    Is measured by the magnolia's root;
    Our gain's the intellectual sound
    Of death's feet round a weedy tomb.''
    Allen Tate (1899-1979), U.S. poet, critic. "Elegy."
  • ''Come to me, Jenny, let's dance a bit tonight,
    The long small tremor's at my back again....''
    Allen Tate (1899-1979), U.S. poet, critic. "Perimeters."
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