Born in Kansas City, Tate erupted upon the poetry scene when, in 1967, at the age of 23, he received the Yale Series of Young Poets award for The Lost Pilot (1967). Within two years of his stunning debut, Tate had another dozen collections in print or accepted for publication. Remarkable for his originality and control, Tate has declared himself to be "in the tradition of the Impurists: Whitman, Williams, Neruda . . . I am trying to combine words in such a way as to lend a new life, a new hope, to that which is lifeless and hopeless." He has taken as his themes the agony of communication and the difficulties of having been treated as a poetic prodigy.