Nate Klug í13 M.Div. among elite of nationís younger poets

When Nate Klug ’13 M.Div. writes poetry, two commitments lurk beneath his pen: care and abandonment.  Admittedly, he acknowledges, those inclinations might be at odds.  But contradictory or not, they work: Klug is one of five poets nationwide between the ages of 21 and 31 to be selected a 2010 Ruth Lilly Fellowship winner.

KlugAmong the largest awards offered to aspiring poets in the United States, each Lilly Fellowship carries a $15,000 scholarship prize for fellows to use as they wish in continued study and writing of poetry. The Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship program is organized and administered by the Poetry Foundation in Chicago, publisher of Poetry magazine.

“My poems reflect two (perhaps contradictory) commitments,” says Klug.  “First, I hope that my poems demonstrate care – care about their use of language, and care towards the poems’ subjects outside of language....Second, I hope that my poems demonstrate abandonment, a relinquishment of human control over outcomes which poetry, unlike so many other ways of relating, can afford us.”

In announcing the winners, Poetry editor Christian Wiman remarked, “The response to this year’s competition was the biggest yet. We are excited to be at the beginning of these talented young poets’ careers, and to give them the support and encouragement they need to take the next step.” The five honorees in the fellowship class of 2010 were chosen from a field of 1,000 applicants.

Klug’s poems and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in the Christian Century, Literary Imagination, Poetry, the Yale Review, and Zoland Poetry Annual.  He is a candidate for ordination in the United Church of Christ.  His fiancée, Kit Novotny, is a first-year Master of Divinity Student at YDS.

He was born in Minnesota in 1985 and grew up in Wellesley, MA. He attended Roxbury Latin in West Roxbury, MA and went on to study English at the University of Chicago. He is a candidate for ordained ministry in the United Church of Christ. His poems and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in the Christian Century, Literary Imagination, Poetry, Yale Review, and Zoland Poetry Annual.

“Since I came of age as a poet in a city,” Klug observed, “the relentlessness of urban landscapes demanded that my eye seek out instances of manageable attention, where watchfulness presented itself – first as a gift, and then, as I wrote more, as simultaneously gift and task.
“Nature, in its cowering, ‘post-natural’ state, shows up frequently in my poems, as sounding board and reflection, often in the sense of Frost’s ‘mocking echo,’ but also as spiritual instructor.
“Most of my poems occupy half-natural settings that could be anywhere (lawns, ice rinks, parking lots, kitchens); I hope to have invested these scenes with a particularity of care and abandonment, that they might, in another’s imagination, become somewhere.
Established in 1989 to encourage the further writing and study of poetry, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship program has dramatically expanded since its inception. Until 1995, university writing programs nationwide each nominated one student poet for a single fellowship; from 1996 until 2007, two fellowships were awarded. In 2008 the competition was opened to all U.S. poets between 21 and 31 years of age, and the number of fellowships increased to five, totaling $75,000.

Klug and the other four young poets will be featured in Poetry magazine’s November issue.  And two of his poems were first published on the Poetry Foundation web site at: