Absences; new poems

by James Tate

Paperback, 1972






Little, Brown, (1972)

User reviews

LibraryThing member ifjuly
When I stumbled on this book, about to be thrown out by my high school's library to make room for more back issues of Seventeen and Rolling Stone, I lost my head. Along with Stern and Komunyakaa, this broke my brain and I relearned what poetry was capable of: absolute annihilation through precise, painfully, exquisitely dead on encapsulation. Language, lines, sentences, single perfectly placed WORDS and SOUNDS that just make you go "how the fuck did he do that, know to do that?!" The miracle and mindfucking mystery of language that seems so random yet hits you dead center in some space inside you don't normally have access to, again and again...it's still my first thought when I imagine a single book of poetry doing everything I ever considered language capable of. Really. Reminds me of early Ashbery in that way. I can't say I feel Tate's fared as well as Ashbery, though, nor the others. That makes me twinge a bit with sadness, but on the other hand it's like My Bloody Valentine or Liz Phair--I don't give a shit if Tate goes off the deep end and never writes another line. This book already changed everything. "Enough crying was not enough/I'm in the birdbath don't come in." Oh tears.… (more)
LibraryThing member abirdman
Beautiful early lyric poems. I gave away at least three copies of this book to romantic interests in college. Rare and recommended.



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