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This is the first monograph dedicated to Tate’s œuvre. The author provides a practical reading theory for Tate, complete with contextual frameworks. Close readings of Tate’s work are informed by the purposeful purposelessness of Kant, the surrealist debt to Breton, and the problems and pleasures of language as explored by Derrida. Tate’s great achievement is no less than a reconfiguring of the modern American lyric as a poetry of dramatic and dialogic narrative. Composed out of ‘odds and ends … of no great moment’, as the poet himself writes, Tate’s work extends the varied American traditions of writers such as William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, John Berryman, and John Ashbery.