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Allen Tate

Allen Tate (1899–1979) was one of the leading writers of the South in the twentieth century. As a member of the Fugitive Poets and the Southern Agrarian movement, through his poetry and essays, he championed a return to the South’s agrarian roots and the use of formal techniques in poetry. He served as consultant in poetry at the Library of Congress in 1943 and was editor of the Sewanee Review from 1944 to 1947. In addition he taught at numerous universities, including Princeton University, New York University, and the University of Minnesota.


The Two Horsemen

Jeb Stuart. By Captain John W. Thomason, Jr. New York: Charles Scrib-ner's Sons. $5.00. Bedford Forrest. By Captain Eric William Sheppard. New York: Lincoln MacVeagh, The Dial Press. $5.00. It is a rare, perhaps a unique opportunity, but it would [...]


Summer 1927 | Poetry

The idiot greens the meadow with his eyes,
The meadow creeps, implacable and still;
A dog barks; the hammock swings; he lies.
One, two, three, the cows bulge on the hill.


Summer 1928 | Poetry

In a valley late bees with whining gold
Thread summer to the loose ends of sleep;
A harvester pauses, surprised, in dreams of sheep,
Across his back the ravellings of the sun.

Light Interval

Enquiring fields, courtesies And tribulations of the air— Be still and give them peace: The girl in her gold hair With her young man in clover In shadow of the day’s glare And there they were by the river Where a leaf’s light interva [...]

Narcissus as Narcissus

On this first occasion, which will probably be the last, of my talking about my own verse, I could plead the example of Edgar Allan Poe, who wrote an essay entitled “The Philosophy of Composition.” But in our age the appeal to authority is weak, [...]

The Oath

It was near evening, the room was cold, Half dark; Uncle Ben's brass bullet mould And Major Bogan's eighteenth century face Above the fire, in the half-light, plainly said, There's naught to kill but the animated dead. Mould, nor horn, nor major [...]

The Profession of Letters in the South

The profession of letters in France dates, I believe, from the famous manifesto of Du Bellay and the Pleiade in 1549. It is a French habit to assume that France has supported a profession of letters ever since. There is no other country where the aut [...]

To the Romantic Traditionists

I have looked at them long, My eyes blur; sourceless light Keeps them forever young Before our ageing sight.You see them too, strict forms Of will, the secret dignity Of our dissolute storms; They grow too bright to be.What were they like? What mark [...]

A Note on Paul Valéry

Summer 1970 | Essays

In 1932 I was in France for the second time, and I hoped to accomplish what I had failed to do on my first visit four years earlier: an introduction to Paul Valéry.