James Tate, a Kansas City native and a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, died Wednesday in Massachusetts. He was 71.
Tate, born in Kansas City in 1943, attended what is now Pittsburg State University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City before enrolling in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa.
He taught poetry at several colleges before beginning his long association in 1971 with the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he taught in the school’s MFA Program for Poets and Writers.
In 1992, Tate received the Pulitzer Prize in poetry, as well as the William Carlos Williams Award, for “Selected Poems,” published the previous year. The book drew from his many published collections, including his first, “The Lost Pilot,” published in 1967. “The Lost Pilot” won the Yale Younger Poets prize, making Tate, then 23, the youngest poet ever to receive that honor.
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Another volume, “Worshipful Company of Fletchers,” published in 1994, received the National Book Award.
Tate died after a long illness, according to a UMass faculty member. A celebration of Tate’s life and work will be held this fall in New York, according to the university.