STARRED REVIEW
August 2019

The Government Lake

By James Tate

James Tate’s The Government Lake, published posthumously, has a rigorously soothing effect. These poems deal with the odd, othered and imagined, with fresh precision.

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James Tate’s The Government Lake, published posthumously, has a rigorously soothing effect. These poems deal with the odd, othered and imagined, with fresh precision. Don’t let the prose-looking pages fool you. Just when you’ve found your footing, Tate melts a clock and drips it over all the edges as only a poem or surrealist masterpiece can do. The poet offers a master class in enticing first and last statements, as poem bodies full of wit and manic ubertalk are enveloped in openings and closings like: “Oliver sat in his chair like milk in a bottle. . . . That’s not the sky, that’s just a bunny I once knew.” Let these humorous and reflective prose poems breathe and invoke their full topsy-turvy splendor.

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