Allen Tate was born in Winchester, Clarke County, Kentucky, in 1899.
He attended Vanderbilt University and graduated magna cum laude in 1922.
He married the novelist Caroline Gordon in 1924. Tate was a founding
editor of The Fugitive , a magazine of verse
published out of Nashville, Tennessee, from 1922 to 1925. The magazine
was named for the Fugitives, a group of Southern poets which included
Tate and several of his colleagues from Vanderbilt, including John Crowe
Ransom, Robert Penn Warren, Donald Davidson, and Merrill Moore. The
Fugitives were practitioners and defenders of formal technique in poetry
and were preoccupied with the defending the traditional values of the
agrarian South against the effects of urban industrialization. Tate
published his first book of poems, Mr. Pope and
Other Poems , in 1928. His early work reflects the influence by
Baudelaire, Corbière, Edwin Arlington Robinson, Ezra Pound, and T. S.
Eliot. Tate taught at several colleges and universities and was editor
of The Sewanee Review from 1944 to 1947. He
had a great influence not only as a critic but as a mentor to such
younger poets as Robert Lowell, John Berryman, and Randall Jarrell. From
1951 until his retirement he was a professor of English at the
University of Minnesota. His poetry includes The
Mediterranean and Other Poems (1936); The
Winter Sea (1944); Two Conceits for the Eye
to Sing, If Possible (1950); and The
Swimmers and Other Selected Poems (1970). Prose volumes include
two biographies on Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis. His
autobiographical texts were collected for Memories
and Opinions, 1926-1974 , published in 1975.