Cover image for Memoir of the hawk : poems
Memoir of the hawk : poems
Tate, James, 1943-2015.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Ecco Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
175 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3570.A8 M46 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



James Tate's new book, Memoir of the Hawk, creates a world populated by hundreds of characters, believable and strange, tugged at the edges by the unexpected. In the privacy of their homes, who can save them from themselves? In the forests and hills and on the beautiful lakes, what could possibly be wrong? Even in the sweet hometown, with its kindly police, menace lurks in a thousand disguises. Mystery and magic surround this metropolis of the imagination. Once again, James Tate has given us a world of surprising pleasures:

...lost in the interstellar space between teacups in the cupboard, found in the beak of a downy woodpecker, the lovers staring into the void and then jumping over it, flying into their beautiful tomorrows like the heroes of a storm.

Author Notes

James Vincent Tate was born in Kansas City on December 8, 1943 and erupted upon the poetry scene when, in 1967, at the age of 23, he received the Yale Series of Young Poets award for The Lost Pilot. Within two years of his stunning debut, Tate had another dozen collections in print or accepted for publication. Tate's work earned him the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. He was a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Dudley Fitts selected Tate's first book of poems, The Lost Pilot (1967), for the Yale Series of Younger Poets while Tate was still a student at the Writers' Workshop; Fitts praised Tate's writing for its "natural grace." Tate's first volume of poetry, Cages, was published by Shepherd's Press, Iowa City, 1966. Tate won the 1992 Pulitzer Prize and the Poetry Society of America's William Carlos Williams Award in 1991 for his Selected Poems. In 1994, he won the National Book Award for his poetry collection Worshipful Company of Fletchers. In addition to many books of poetry, he published two books of prose, Dreams of a Robot Dancing Bee (2001) and The Route as Briefed (1999).

Tate received his B.A. in 1965, going on to earn his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa's famed Writer's Workshop. He died on July 8, 2015 at the age of 71.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Patently fictional encounters with pets and wild animals, aliens, witches and the like stream from the perspective of a childlike, small-town American speaker steeped in the marvelous (or at least the absurd). It's a familiar mode for Tate's readers, but if anything this 13th collection of page-or-so lyrics is less dense, as if the entirety is designed to be read "in one night," as he suggests in "Duel To The Death." Unfortunately, Tate's characteristic winking obliquities have become immediately transparent ("the old/ vice versa principle working overtime/ to keep us interested, or at least/ confused"), making the poems' themes and social dynamics nearly indistinguishable, and their resolutions, whether happy or sad, often premature and unconvincing. Tate's poetry may still be driven by the psychic violence of alienation, but the work is much more comfortable with this alienation than ever, often settling for thin indictments of faux-repressive social mores: "A mishap on the set today. Julie was/ to kiss Don on the lips, but she missed and/ fell on her face....And the time she set the stage curtains on/ fire when lighting her cigarette, that was/ theatre. The play will go on, but Don must/ go. I'm tired of his complaints." At his best, though, Tate's neo-Beckettian vision of the poet as a stoical, solitary tramp, persistent in his folly, who avoids the workaday world like the plague, suggests still-disruptive potentials of the absurd. (On sale: June 5) Forecast: Tate was recently named to the board of chancellors of the Academy of American poets, and his Worshipful Company of Fletchers (1994) won the National Book Award. Tate's type-casting as "easier Ashbery" is not likely to change with this volume, and most fans won't mind. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

New Bloodp. 1
Vale of the White Horsep. 2
I Must Have Been That Manp. 3
Te Deum Laudamusp. 5
Young Man with a Hamp. 6
The Lovely Arc of a Meteor in the Night Skyp. 7
A True Storyp. 8
Cunningp. 9
The Little Brotherp. 10
You Don't Know Mep. 11
Overheard on the Driving Rangep. 12
The Storm and Stress Periodp. 13
Endless Timep. 14
Slow Day at Manny'sp. 15
The Workforcep. 16
Family Sorrowp. 17
Witchesp. 18
Sudden Interest in the Deadp. 19
The Experiment with Johnp. 20
An Afternoon in Hellp. 21
Memoryp. 22
Mental-Health Workersp. 23
Septemberp. 24
The Second Mrs. Tylerp. 25
Behind the Milk Bottlep. 26
Thinking Ahead to Possible Options and a Worst-Case Scenariop. 27
T.B. Bluesp. 28
Boom-Boomp. 29
Grand Operap. 30
Madonna of the Chairp. 31
How the People Are Governedp. 32
Introspectionp. 33
An Afternoon Strollp. 34
Travelerp. 35
Blanc Is Noirp. 36
War and Peacep. 37
Our Lady of the Shiversp. 38
Hotel of the Golden Dawnp. 39
Year of Progressp. 40
Mainep. 41
Precious Little We Can Dop. 42
Toads Talking by a Riverp. 43
Whereaboutsp. 44
My Private Tasmaniap. 45
At the End of the Little Streetp. 46
Overcoming Self-Consciousnessp. 47
Rememberabilityp. 48
Plentitudep. 49
Fasting Dayp. 50
Scattered Reflectionsp. 51
No Explanationp. 53
The London Timesp. 54
The End of Zenp. 55
Geese at Nightp. 56
You Think You Know a Womanp. 57
Curiousp. 58
Denied Areasp. 59
Night Blindnessp. 60
To Beg for Food in a Contemptible Wayp. 61
The Shifting Dapples of Sunlightp. 62
Torturep. 63
Her Silhouette Against the Alpenglowp. 64
Hanging by a Threadp. 65
Chirpy, the Ruffianp. 66
Snake Charming Secrets of the Indian Subcontinentp. 67
Doinkp. 68
Somehow Not Aware That She Was Heaven-Bornp. 69
From the Morning Twilight to the Gloamingp. 70
A Children's Story about an Anemic Bedbugp. 71
To Each His Ownp. 72
Burnt Green Earthp. 73
All Over the Lotp. 74
Watching an Owl Slowly Winkp. 75
Overworked and Hauntedp. 76
Morbidly Anxiousp. 77
Fork-Tonguedp. 78
Negative Employee Situationp. 79
The Rugp. 80
Just to Feel Humanp. 81
Wondrous Objectp. 82
Beaconp. 83
The Lack of Good Qualitiesp. 84
The Arrivalp. 85
The Choirmasterp. 86
Climbing Like a Monkey Through the Thick Branchesp. 87
Perfectionp. 88
The Fine Rainp. 89
Invisiblep. 90
The Plumberp. 91
Dreams of Carefree Livingp. 92
A New Lifestylep. 93
Beauty Prizesp. 94
Ashes of Rosesp. 95
A Lorgnette, a Parachutep. 96
Her First Novelp. 97
Like a Manta Rayp. 98
The Man of the Peoplep. 99
Tickle Me Pinkp. 100
Creaturesp. 101
Pillow Fights with Myselfp. 102
Edison's Later Yearsp. 103
The Reproductive Systemp. 104
The Hundred-Eyed Security forcesp. 105
The Old Candy, the New Candyp. 106
Primevalp. 107
Farewell to a Friendp. 108
The Black Dogp. 109
Ultraviolet Ukulelep. 110
The Raising of Quibblesp. 111
The Muse's Darlingp. 112
Praying at the Bus Stop Is Forbiddenp. 113
Duel to the Deathp. 114
I Surrenderp. 115
The New Love Slavep. 116
The Eggsp. 117
Wastedp. 118
The Droughtp. 119
The Splendid Rainbowp. 120
Mob of Good Old Boysp. 121
A Walk with Twinkiep. 122
Frontier Guardsp. 123
Carl's Shoesp. 124
Hayden and Madgep. 126
A Tattered Bible Stuffed with Memosp. 127
A Winnerp. 128
The Bookclubp. 129
The Shallotsp. 130
The Univeilingp. 131
Bitternessp. 132
A Fresh Performancep. 133
A Little Birdie Told Herp. 134
The Real Thingp. 135
We Aim to Pleasep. 136
Still the Samep. 137
For Its Own Sakep. 138
Penuryp. 139
Wild Beastsp. 140
Hungry Heartsp. 141
In the Ring or on the Field, Igor Hummedp. 142
Demigoddessp. 143
The Painter of the Nightp. 144
The Wine Talksp. 145
Right Conductp. 146
Time to Conjure Up the Good Spiritp. 147
Worldlingp. 148
The Eternal Ones of the Dreamp. 149
Boobies of Fernando Pop. 150
The Magic Flightp. 151
Linkp. 152
War of Nervesp. 153
Red in Tooth and Clawp. 154
Carnivorous Spongesp. 155
The Guilty Onep. 156
The Diagnosisp. 157
From Whence They Camep. 158
What Kady Didp. 159
Swift, Silent and Deadlyp. 160
Kinky's Headp. 161
The Flying Petuniasp. 162
The Mailmanp. 163
Loving Nellp. 164
The Phantom Gardenerp. 165
Second Growthp. 166
Look at Mep. 167
The Closing, the Nose Wipingp. 168
How An imals Livep. 169
The Shadowlifep. 170
When You Are Lostp. 171
Swiftsure Bluep. 172
Capital Punishmentp. 173
Memoir of the Hawkp. 174
Rapturep. 175