When one reads a poem by Marvin Tate, author of The Amazing Mister Orange, there is a sense that he is not speaking to the world, or even an audience; he is speaking directly to you. Take, for example, “Open Mic Night”:
“you were there to hear a friend
read her poems to an audience
for the very first time”
Of course, it is easy to attribute intimacy to the direct address to the reader, but Tate’s warm style goes beyond that. He paints a picture, or rather a single corner of a picture – just enough to know every minute detail, and to feel connected to what you see. Each poem is a snapshot in a world that is so familiar to Tate that it feels as if it is familiar to you.
“you discussed, the previous night
which poems she should read
and that, if no one laughed or applauded
that you’d make a big fuss over her
and become her biggest fan”
It is the simplicity of the moment, and the simplicity of the emotions that are, perhaps, so easy to connect with. There is nothing extreme about Tate’s poetry. He wraps a small portion of reality in a box and presents it to the reader to enjoy. Like watching a home movie, the moments he presents subtly envelop the reader’s senses and invite him to live a short portion of Tate’s life.
The Sound of Poetry featuring Marvin Tate is part of the Despres Family Memorial Lecture Series. It takes place March 26, 2014 at Blackstone Library, 4904 S. Lake Park Ave. at 6:30 pm.