Collected Poems, 1919-1976

FSG Classics

Allen Tate; Introduction by Christopher Benfey

Farrar, Straus and Giroux



Trade Paperback

240 Pages



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One of the early-twentieth century Southern intellectuals and artists of the early twentieth century known as the Agrarians, Allen Tate wrote poetry that was rooted strongly in that region's past—in the land, the people, and the traditions of the American South as well as in the forms and concerns of the classic poets. In "Ode to the Confederate Dead"— generally recognized as his greatest poem—he delineates both the horror of the sight of rows of tombstones at a Confederate cemetery and the honor that such sacrifice embodies, resulting in "a masterpiece that could not be transcended" (William Pratt).


Praise for Collected Poems, 1919-1976

"Allen Tate is the supreme classicist, the most convincingly grandiloquent orator, of his generation. The rhetoric of his monologues, analyzing the sublime decadence of the moral and political scene, is gloomy, scornful and yet icily aloof. The more philosophical poems tease the reader with ironies of existence and morality. Everywhere is an easy 17th-century formality, sureness with myth, and habit of cadence and judgment . . . It is simply important to have Tate again in print, accessible to a couple of generations of readers who probably hardly know him."—John Fuller

"[Allen Tate] has two poetic voices. One is wry and tender, in umbilical touch with childhood—and by extension the 'feudal' South. The other is orotund and sublime, a key held up to the sky in hopes of thunder and lightening . . . In Tate's best poems the two voices are in equilibrium."—Christophere Benfey, Mellon Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College and author of American Audacity: Essays North and South

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Allen Tate; Introduction by Christopher Benfey

  • Allen Tate (1899-1979) was born in Winchester, Kentucky, and spent much of his adult life teaching first in the South, then in Minnesota. He is also the author of the novel The Fathers.