Nathaniel Tarn, born 1928 in Paris, is an American poet, essayist, anthropologist, and translator. Tarn’s anthropology took him to Guatemala for work with the Maya; to Burma for work on Buddhism, and to many Eastern countries including Japan, Bhutan, Ladakh, Tibet and others. A Chicago Ph.D., he taught for seven years at the London School of Economics and the London School of Oriental and African Studies and later, in comparative literature, at Princeton, Pennsylvania, Rutgers and New Mexico inter alia.

Tarn published his first volume of poetry, Old Savage/Young City, with Jonathan Cape and Random House in 1964–5. A translation of Pablo Neruda’s The Heights of Macchu Picchu followed in 1968 with Cape and Farrar Straus, when he also began building a new poetry program at Cape, specializing in contemporary American Poetry with an emphasis on Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Louis Zukofsky and their peers and successors. He was one of the founders of Ethnopoetics. His publications include Selected Poems: 1950–2000 (Wesleyan, 2002), Ins and Outs of the Forest Rivers (New Directions, 2008), The Embattled Lyric: Essays and Conversations in Poetics and Anthropology (Stanford, 2008), and Sur les fleuves de la foret (Paris: Vif, 2012). New Directions reprinted The Beautiful Contradictions (1969) in 2013 and published Gondwana and Other Poems in 2017. He lives, works, writes, gardens, and birdwatches north of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Dispatches from the Poetry Wars is pleased to be able to offer three fresh takes on Tarn’s work, as well as a retrospective selection of work by the poet.