James Tate (1943 - 2015)

James Tate was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1943. He was the author of twelve collections of poetry including his first volume, The Lost Pilot, which was selected for the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award in 1967, The Oblivion Ha Ha (1970), Hints to Pilgrims (1971), Absences (1972), Viper Jazz (1976), Riven Doggeries (1979), Constant Defender (1983), Reckoner (1986) and Distance From Loved Ones (1990).

In 1992, Tate was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the William Carlos Williams Award for his Selected Poems (1991). His collection Worshipful Company of Fletchers (The Ecco Press, 1994) received the National Book Award for Poetry. Among his other awards are fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Institute for Arts and Letters Award for Poetry. He also received the $100,000 Tanning Prize for The Academy of American Poets in 1995.

The Ghost Soldiers, published in 2008, contains nearly 100 poems.

He has taught poetry at the University of California at Berkeley, Columbia University, and Emerson College. From 1971 he taught at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, which he continued to do until his death in 2015.

Analysis, meaning and summary of James Tate's poem The Wrong Way Home


  1. jamie says:

    this is one of the best poems i have read in along time all i like to read is poems nothing but poems i really love to read the ones my sister writes her name is mistie wilson they are the best ones ever

  2. Marilyn Hansen says:

    This poem invoked a deep sadness in me because as I read and reread it, pictures of New Orleans kept coming into my head. A simple thing like this old door can hold so much personal history and now it cannot tell anyone any more.

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