Poetry. AT THE WESTERN GATES was first published by a small press in New Mexico in 1985, and consisted of five powerful long poems that exemplify the best of Nathaniel Tarn's work in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In this new edition, they are joined by another long sequence, "Birdscapes with Seaside," originally an issue of Sparrow magazine in 1976, which fits well with the rest of the contents. This book is revived here as part of the Shearsman Library series, which is devoted to recovering significant out-of-print, or hard-to-find editions of modern poetry.
Franco-Anglo-American poet Nathaniel Tarn was born and educated in France, Belgium and England, obtaining degrees from Cambridge, the Sorbonne and Chicago; he emigrated to the United States in 1970, where he taught at American universities until his retirement. He now lives just outside Santa Fe, New Mexico. Although he is perhaps best-known these days as a poet and essayist, he is also an anthropologist, with a particular interest in Highland Maya studies and the sociology of Buddhist institutions, and a translator of the highest order (see above all his versions of Neruda's The Heights of Macchu Picchu and Victor Segalen's Stelae). His first collection of poetry was Old Savage/Young City (1964), which was followed the next year by his appearance in the seventh volume of the Penguin Modern Poets series. Three more collections followed in London, during which time he also became editor of the remarkable Cape Editions series of seminal modern texts: poetry, prose, anthropology, drama, many of them pioneering translations. After he emigrated, only two more collections—the important volume A Nowhere for Vallejo and the ambitious book- length poem Lyrics for the Bride of God—were to appear in the UK. Thereafter, with the exception of his Shearsman publications and one other single volume, all of his work has appeared in the USA, most significantly: The House of Leaves, ATITLAN/ALASHKA (with Janet Rodney), Selected Poems 1950-2000, Ins and Outs of the Forest Rivers and the recent Gondwana. There is also an important volume of essays in Views from the Weaving Mountain. Tarn's work is remarkable for expansiveness and its willingness to absorb material from very disparate sources—in this, it owes something to the examples of Pound and Olson, but also a lot to the author's own anthropological training, his knowledge of other languages and his many interests, in areas such as archeology.Author City: USA