Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Marvin Tate  

Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT

Born: Chicago, Illinois


Illinois Connection

Tate was born in Chicago and grew up in the Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago's westside.

Biographical and Professional Information

Marvin Tate is a poet who has worn many hats in his career: visual artist, author, educator, front man and songwriter. He has performed widely, including on National Public Radio's ''This American Life''. Def Jam Poetry, The Heartlands in SanFrancisco, the Chicago Blues Festival and the Eindehoefen Museum in the Netherlands. As a musician, he combines raw-blues/soul and gospel with stream-of-consciousness storytelling. He has recently collaborated with longtime multi-instrumentalist and former Wilco member, LeRoy Bach, and singers Tim Kinsella and Angel Olsen for a collection of songs called "Tim Kinsella sings the songs of Marvin Tate with LeRoy Bach and Angel Olsen" on Joyful Noise Records (2013). "All Music" review by Fred Thomas: "The songs are often short, rushing by in a wash of voices as playful as they are vicious. Olsen takes lead on the ghostly 'Sidetracked in Miami,' a song almost woozy and bewitching enough to obscure its raw lyrical content. The album is a rough ride, despite its often lush arrangements and beautiful tones. Tate's lyrics...never completely subside into anything less than unsettling territory." He currently works in the Coat Check Department of the Art Institute of Chicago, but his passion lies in teaching art and poetry to disadvantaged youth.

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