Famous Quotes & Sayings

James Tate Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 24 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by James Tate.

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James Tate Quotes 2183112

When people start talking about enjambment and line endings, I always shut them up. This is not something to talk about, this is a private matter, it's up to the poet. — James Tate

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Poetry is everywhere; it just needs editing. — James Tate

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When you don't sleep, you start to hallucinate, and that's not good. — James Tate

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In You Are Not Dead Wendy Xu breaks all the old rules that have never done us any favors anyway. She writes beautifully, noticing who we are, and letting us see ourselves with a little more humanity, a little more humor, a little more humility. I'm happy to have read this book. — James Tate

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A Knock On The Door

They ask me if I've ever thought about the end of
the world, and I say, "Come in, come in, let me
give you some lunch, for God's sake." After a few
bites it's the afterlife they want to talk about.
"Ouch," I say, "did you see that grape leaf
skeletonizer?" Then they're talking about
redemption and the chosen few sitting right by
His side. "Doing what?" I ask. "Just sitting?" I
am surrounded by burned up zombies. "Let's
have some lemon chiffon pie I bought yesterday
at the 3 Dog Bakery." But they want to talk about
my soul. I'm getting drowsy and see butterflies
everywhere. "Would you gentlemen like to take a
nap, I know I would." They stand and back away
from me, out the door, walking toward my
neighbors, a black cloud over their heads and
they see nothing without end. — James Tate

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Jesus got up one day a little later than usual. He had been dreaming so deep there was nothing left in his head. What was it? A nightmare, dead bodies walking all around him, eyes rolled back, skin falling off. But he wasn't afraid of that. It was a beautiful day. How 'bout some coffee? Don't mind if I do. Take a little ride on my donkey, I love that donkey. Hell, I love everybody. — James Tate

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Having gray hair doesn't matter
but having gray matter matters.
James Tate

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He is being nibbled to death by ducks.

--More Later, Less the Same — James Tate

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almost exquisite, the slight madness — James Tate

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If you laughed earlier in the poem, and I bring you close to tears in the end, that's the best. — James Tate

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I love my funny poems, but I'd rather break your heart. And if I can do both in the same poem, that's the best. — James Tate

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Dust is watching life's talk show. — James Tate

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William Waltz will take me through 'the buzz and clamor in a forest of hearts.' Adventures in the Lost Interiors of America is an adventure, I will go on this adventure with Waltz as a skillful, faithful, compass-true guide. I love this book. — James Tate

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Something should always change in a poem. The persona should learn something. — James Tate

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I don't think you can define how you acquire your imagination any more than you can define why one person has a sense of humor and another doesn't. But I certainly would lean to the side that says all those solitary hours of daydreaming were a kind of training for poetry. — James Tate

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I can't know entirely what's at stake beforehand; you find out as you go. I love to take a poem, for instance, that starts with something seemingly frivolous or inconsequential and then grows in gravity until by the end it's something very serious. — James Tate

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The challenge is always to find the ultimate in the ordinary horseshit. — James Tate

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I couldn't even picture Mavis's face anymore. It was sad. She was being erased. I wanted to put my finger on her forehead, but there was nothing there. — James Tate

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Everybody who was anybody seemed to be going to a meeting, the glowworm, who was a solipsist, the lemur who was not. — James Tate

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They didn't have much trouble
teaching the ape to write poems:
first they strapped him into a chair,
then tied the pencil around his hand
(the paper had already been nailed down).
Then Dr. Bluespire leaned over his shoulder
and whispered into his ear:
'You look like a god sitting there.
Why don't you try writing something? — James Tate

James Tate Quotes 1691993

I like to start with the ordinary, and then nudge it, and then think, 'What happens next, what happens next?' — James Tate

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I am not a part of this home any longer. I am a tiny thing created by indifferent scientists. I am an experiment, a mechanical bee placed near the hive. The real bees were happy being bees until I came along and gave them all the false information that destroyed their little lives. — James Tate

James Tate Quotes 1915813

I was just sitting on my bed in a dormitory room, and I started writing. The thing that was magic about it was that once you put down one word, you could cross it out. I figured that out right away. I put down 'mountain,' and then I'd go, 'No - 'valley.' That's better.' — James Tate

James Tate Quotes 2181719

Hands full of sand,
I say: take this,
this is what I have saved;
I earned this with my genius,
and because I love you...

Take this, hurry.
I am dropping everything
and then I listened:
I was not saying anything;
out of all that had gone into
the composition of the language
and what I knew of it
I had chiselled these words
- take this, hurry-
and you could not hear me.
I had said nothing.
And then I am leaving,

making ready to go to another street,
when you, mingled between sleep
and delirium, turned

and handed me an empty sack:
Take this, my friend;
I am not coming back.
The ghost of a flower poised on your lip — James Tate