Allen Tate

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

Quotations

  • ''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."
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  • ''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
    Where it seems never (so still is the house)
    A man has walked from the front door to the stair.''
    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."
  • ''I've heard the wolves scuffle, and said: So this
    Is man; so what better conclusion is there
    The day will not follow night, and the heart
    Of man has a little dignity, but less patience
    Than a wolf's....''
    Allen Tate (1899-1979), U.S. poet, critic. "The Wolves."
  • ''No more the white refulgent streets,
    Never the dry hollows of the mind
    Shall he in fine courtesy walk
    Again, for death is not unkind.''
    Allen Tate (1899-1979), U.S. poet, critic. "Elegy."
  • ''Hide your pink knees from the gaze of other men.
    You must be pure—go slow with that home-brew''
    Allen Tate (1899-1979), U.S. poet, critic. "Perimeters."
  • ''So this
    Is man; so—what better conclusion is there—
    The day will not follow night, and the heart
    Of man has a little dignity, but less patience
    Than a wolf's,''
    Allen Tate (1899-1979), U.S. poet. The Wolves (l. 14-18). . . Collected Poems, 1919-1976 [Allen Tate]. (1989) Louisiana State University Press.
  • ''Your death, dear Lady, was quite cold
    For all the brave tears and ultimate spasm.
    So civilized were your thin hands, I marvel
    They too, like jelly fishes, came from protoplasm.''
    Allen Tate (1899-1979), U.S. poet, critic. "Elegy for Eugenesis."

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Art

When you are come by ways emptied of light
You'll say goodby, in that indifferent gloom,
To the quick draughts of old, yet with polite
Anguish of pride recall as an heirloom
A dawn when stars dropped gold about your head
And, so amazed, you knew not were you dead.

For, brother, know that this is art, and you
With a cold incautious sorrow stricken dumb,

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