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Pulitzer Prize-winning poet James Tate dies at 71

AMHERST, Mass. (AP) — James Tate, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and longtime English professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, has died. He was 71.

He died Wednesday after a long illness, the university said.

Tate was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1992 for “Selected Poems.” It was one of many honors he received, including the National Book Award for the 1994 Worshipful Company of Fletchers and a National Institute of Arts and Letters award for poetry.

Over his career, he published more than 20 books of poetry.

Tate taught in UMass-Amherst’s Master of Fine Arts program for poets and writers since 1971.

Kumble Subbaswamy, the university’s chancellor, called Tate one of the school’s most distinguished faculty members.

“For over four decades, professor Tate generously shared his extraordinary talents with students and colleagues,” Subbaswamy said. “Although he will be greatly missed, his poetry will live on and continue to inspire.”

A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Tate attended Kansas State College of Pittsburg and was studying at the University of Iowa writers’ workshop when, at 23, his first collection of poetry, “The Lost Pilot,” was chosen for the Yale Series of Younger Poets, which is for poets under 40 who had not previously published a volume of poetry.

A celebration of Tate’s life and his poetry would be held in New York City in the fall, said Jennifer Jacobson, associate director of the university’s MFA program.

Funeral arrangements were not immediately known.

He was married to poet and fellow UMass-Amherst English professor Dara Wier.

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This story has been corrected to show Tate won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992, not 1991.

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