Some very interesting things being said by Josh Corey about James Tate. And by Jonathan Mayhew. Tate's been one of my favs since I started reading poetry in undergrad. He was the one who actually turned me onto the whole idea of reading and writing poetry. As Corey mentions, Tate's poems are the poems to give to people who don't think they like poetry. They are incredibly easy to read, and fun. They are like candy. And to further the metaphor, we can't eat candy for dinner every night, but it shouldn't make us a less sophisticated eater if we enjoy a handful of skittles before bed. Tate is the poet who inspired me to write--"hey, I can do this". And after 5 years, I'm realizing what he does, even though it may look it, is not at all easy.
Another metaphor I find fitting: Tate is like a slight of hand magician doing the same tricks over and over again. We know it's not real magic, and we may even know how he does it, but we watch every time. It's addicting. And there's nothing wrong with reveling in it.
You should buy Tate's new book Return to the City of White Donkeys. Do it. It's just like all the others, and it kicks ass (Mr. Tate, will you send poems to Octopus?).