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Smart and Final Iris Summary
James Tate

Everything you need to understand or teach Smart and Final Iris by James Tate.

  • Smart and Final Iris Summary & Study Guide

Smart and Final Iris Summary


"Smart and Final Iris" appears in James Tate's collection Reckoner, published in 1986, and is reprinted in his Selected Poems (1991). Though known primarily for his playful, often hallucinatory lyrics in which his speakers stumble about in a world of bizarre characters and events, Tate addresses socio-political subjects in his poems as well, highlighting the ways in which reality is often more absurd and dreamlike than dreams. "Land of Little Sticks, 1945," for example, the opening poem from Constant Defender (1983), mythically depicts the moment when the first atomic bombs were dropped, and suggests that the world will never be the same. Like "Land of Little Sticks, 1945," "Smart and Final Iris" addresses the possibility of nuclear annihilation and the ways in which that possibility affects the human imagination. In twenty short lines, Tate poetically describes the absurdity of the Pentagon's attempt to account for various scenarios resulting from nuclear war. He does this...

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Smart and Final Iris Study Guide

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