Author Interviews


April is National Poetry Month and throughout the month WEEKEND EDITION is talking with young poets about how they started to write poetry and how it still fits into our daily lives.

NATE KLUG: My name is Nate Klug. And I'm a poet and translator currently living in New Haven, Connecticut. I started to write poetry really ever since I was little. My mother is a poet, so I would write poems sort of in celebration of her birthday or different holidays. And so it was great to have that person to show my work to. I'm on a professional track to be an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. So, that's my professional life. It's nice to go home from a day of thinking about the church to this whole other world of poetry, whatever I'm reading or working on. But, obviously, there are some really amazing ways that they intersect.


KLUG: You know, I read a lot of theology. And, you know, sometimes I think poetry, whether or not it's explicitly religious, is one of the best modes that theology, or talking about God, can take. Because poetry is a form where the language is under so much pressure, and that can really bring about these wonderful surprises and insights in our ways of talking about God or thinking about our faith.


KLUG: You know, I think there's so much action that happens in language when we're just talking to each other on a daily basis. And some of the best poetry in our American tradition - certainly like William Carlos Williams, later on, Lorine Niedecker - these are poets who listened really carefully to the way people spoke around them. You know, I think poetry, one of the things that it can do is help you listen to the way you use language.


KLUG: So, this is a poem called "Mercy." It's a short poem, but it took me, I think, over a year to finally finish. I was also working as a chaplain at a hospital in Bridgeport, and the final image in this poem is one of a hospital television sort of flickering endlessly. "Mercy." (Reading) Its water-torture-slow wend in me. Its work like the reverse of work. No wonder human praise won't stick. No wonder anger's more often summoned. Its hum, ready-made, that steadies my head like hospital television, throwing blue rumor for hours at no one.


MARTIN: That was poet Nate Klug reading his poem "Mercy."


MARTIN: You're listening to NPR News.

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