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Allen Tate
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Poet
    (November 19, 1899-February 9, 1979)
    Born in Winchester, Kentucky
    Birth name was John Orley Allen Tate
    Best-known poem was 'Ode to the Confederate Dead'
    Poetry collections include 'Mr. Pope and Other Poems' (1928), 'The Mediterranean and Other Poems' (1937), 'The Winter Sea' (1944), 'Two Concerts for the Eye to Sing, If Possible' (1950) and 'The Swimmers and Other Selected Poems' (1970)
    Wrote the biographies 'Stonewall Jackson: The Good Soldier' (1928) and 'Jefferson Davis: His Rise and Fall' (1929)
    Wrote the novel 'The Fathers' (1938)
    Poetry Consultant to the Library of Congress (1943-44)
    Before converting to Roman Catholicism, he called himself 'an atheist, but a religious one,' whatever the heck that meant.
    He married author Caroline Gordon, divorced her, remarried her and redivorced her.
    His last wife was a former student of his (and a former nun).
    He wrote, 'The Negro race is an inferior race.... Our purpose is to keep Negro blood from passing into the white race.'
    He refused to attend a reception for poet Langston Hughes, saying it would be like socializing with his black cook.
    He was part of the jury that controversially awarded the first Bollingen Prize for Poetry to Ezra Pound, while Pound was in prison awaiting trial on charges of treason (1948).
    In college, he and fellow poet Robert Penn Warren were roommates.
    The 'Paris Review' described him as 'a Southern gentleman with impeccable manners.'
    During the 30s, Louis Untermeyer called him 'the best critic in America today.'
    One of his twin sons died in an accident before his first birthday (1968).
    He was a mentor to poets Robert Lowell, John Berryman and Randall Jarrell.

Credit: C. Fishel


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