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Although I knew the name, I'd never read a line of Tate's.  I was looking for a modern translation of the Latin lyric Pervigilum Veneris and he did one, which is marvellous.  Especially after reading some other attempts, before and after Tate.

Anyway, that led to Ode to the Confederate Dead, his "most famous poem":  I was really floored by the man's virtuosity with language and it's not at all what you expect from the title.  Word to the wise:  before you read it, read a bit of Wikipedia about Zeno and Parminedes.

I'm really looking forward to reading more of his work.
I'm a slow reader.  I read a few more of Tate's poems at the beginning of his Collected Poems.  I found them impressively dense and different from the other Modernists (?), different enough to be worth reading more.

Then I decided to read about Tate.  He was a avowed white supremacist.  He edited poetry for a magazine that supported Hitler and Mussolini, but published plenty of anti-fascist poems, so......  Which brings up the issue, at least for recently deceased poets, of their lives vs. their works.  I'm still going to read more Tate.

That's all I guess.  I won't talk to myself anymore.
As with everything, magpiety is involved. I steal, and I transfigure. My avowed Regionalism steals from The Southern Agrarian ideas of Tate and Red Warren and the rest. I had the idea first, they just died before I knew about it. So, as is my way, I go back in time to make sure all my ideas are original; it's not pretty. However. . . .


Was it before or after World War II that anyone supported Hitler? That is apparently an issue with some people. Before America joined the war, I mean, and all that about the Jews was clearer. All of these sequences of events and implications are championed and denied by people who weren't here there or anywhere.

Allen Tate said that his culture was the dominant one currently, and that it wouldn't make sense for him to want to diminish his own livelihood. What else he said about these things, I don't know.
I wasn't even there when he said that much.

He worked out these issues in his art and in his relationships. As we all do. A mind has as many beliefs as a bible has interpretations. It makes perfect sense to be racist and nonracist at the same time, as it does to have cancer and be not too thrilled about it. Even H. P. Lovecraft dug far into the innerEarth-cosmic depths of bigotry and hatred, and found the worth of the Other before the end. The life versus the work is the thing. They are the same. Agonizing agonistic love and acceptance and wrestling matches.

See, I just had it out with Allen Tate, and made short work of him. So much for the Confederate dead.
I read Ezra Pound with adoration in my twenties, but when I read him now, the tang of authoritarianism that laces his work is hard to take.

But you are not done with the Confederate Dead.  Scholars tell me (and Tate agreed) it's about Narcissism.  I was wondering how that jaguar got into the poem.

And lastly, a quote I found while hunting up Xeno and Parmenides:


Seneca the Younger commented a few centuries later: "If I accede to Parmenides there is nothing left but the One; if I accede to Zeno, not even the One is left."
I was reading Allen Tate alongside Robinson Jeffers a few years ago, trying to cook up something. But then I got on to something else, and my plans fell flat.

But if you do a bit of alchemy with this poem you're reading, and Wallace Stevens' cemetery poem with the currently offensive title, and Jay Wright's Albuquerque one, a somebody could make a few leaps, and manifest something nondead.

There is much still to be found in superficial connections.

Why accede to the dead?
Scholars tell me that Tate's is the most difficult poety to read of any poet of his era.  Count me in!

Thanks for the tip about Jay Wright.
Bringing figures and works together, and letting them have it out with each other, then swooping in and gathering the debris is one of my ways. It's Decadent, but it's homely. Do they imply he's complex, boring or an asshole when they declare the difficulty of his poetry? Very impersonal?
There must not be very many Allen Tate enthusiasts currently looking at this website. Or they might be too hifalutin for us to even see. The letters and arguments between Hart Crane and Allen Tate can be useful too. All these incestuous poets. I'd rather date their sisters, but they're all old now.
on topic: he makes the greatest demands on reader than any other poet*; when he got old he was obsessed with money.  Read that somewhere.  Who doesn't get obsessed with something when they get old.  money is an odd choice for a poet though.

off topic:  Cemetery experiment report no. 1:  I've read the Stevens poem twice.  Gotta say it's like reading razor blades.  Next to Ode, which I've now read again, to begin the experiment, which is like reading axe blades. *and it occurs to me that my experience with Stevens contradicts that statement in spades.
I reread my books of Allen Tate two weeks ago. He has the Minor Poet quality. Before I ever read him, I saw that quality in his face. I feel it again. It's like he's standing on the ground talking to Hart Crane who's standing with one foot on the second rung and the other in the air behind him.
Allen Tate and Hart Crane.  They seem like two peas in a pod to me.  I need to get that correspondence between them you mentioned, but then I read Diane Seuss and I asked myself why am I torturing myself with these obscurantists when I could be reading someone who wants me to understand what she is saying.
Between Crane and Tate, there's the T. S. Eliot problem. For explanation: Tate is a Christian, Crane is Islam, and Eliot is Tanakh. Well, Crane is a Sufi. And T. S. Eliot underneath it all, is God.

T. S. Eliot: The Jew.

Try publishing that in Poetry Magazine.

Walt Whitman is the dark waters of the deep.



God a Jew? Eliot says his chosen people are Catholic. And English.
a quote from Joseph Campbells Hero w/ 1000 faces:

Thus the first object of a child’s hostility is identical with the first object of its love, and its first ideal (which thereafter is retained as the unconscious basis of all images of bliss, truth, beauty, and perfection) is that of the dual unity of the Madonna and Bambino.”

Just read Tate’s poems The Idiot, The Subway, and most importantly, The Progress of OEnia.  The above quote is very useful in relation to the poem, found by accident, reading around up here in the mountains.

Also useful:  Monna Bice is a ref to Beatrice, cordax is a Greek word for an obscene mask, and Seboim was a city also destroyed with Sodom and Gommorah.  How you like them allusions?  And there’s Propertius, lurking. 

 Haven’t looked up the epigraph yet. 

Progress of OEnia is an extended lover’s complaint, from the cradle of love to the coffin.

P.S The Subway is also worth a read.  Short and only had to google one reference.
Causerie stood out to me.