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Tate, Allen

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Tate, Allen

Allen Tate (John Orley Allen Tate), 1899–1979, American poet and critic, b. Winchester, Ky., grad. Vanderbilt Univ., 1922. He was one of the founders and editors of the Fugitive (1922–25), a magazine that represented the Southern agrarian literary group of social and political conservatives. Among his early publications were interpretive biographies of Stonewall Jackson (1928) and Jefferson Davis (1929), and a novel, The Fathers (1938). He was the resident fellow of poetry at Princeton (1939–42), held the chair of poetry at the Library of Congress (1934–44), and edited the Sewanee Review (1944–46). From 1951 to 1968 he taught English literature at the Univ. of Minnesota. His critical writings, direct and perceptive, include Reactionary Essays on Poetry and Ideas (1936), On the Limits of Poetry (1948), and The Man of Letters in the Modern World (1955). His poems, filled with bitter and original imagery, exhibit unusual skill; they show Tate's intense feeling for history and for human estrangement in the world. Among his most famous poems are "Ode to the Confederate Dead," "The Mediterranean," and "The Buried Lake."

See his Collected Poems, 1919–1976 (1977) and Essays of Four Decades (1969); his collected letters (1981, 1987); biography by T. A. Underwood (2000); studies by R. K. Meiners (1963) and R. S. Dupree (1983).

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