Nate Klug's Consent
(Pressed Wafer Press, $7.50)
reviewed by Anthony Opal

Consent is Nate Klug's first collection of poetry, fresh, observant and wise, insisting that transcendence can only be recognized from within the material world. In the opening poem, "Dare," the reader is introduced to Klug's surprising syntax and precise diction, as well as his subtle use of phonetic figures. The second stanza reads:

Salt grime and the foodcarts'
rising steam, at Prospect St. a goshawk
huge and aloof, picking at something,
nested in twigs and police tape
for a while we all
held our phones up.

"Dare" ends with Klug managing to ground the concept of ontology by suggesting that 'it' (or perhaps God) can only be understood as a myriad, rather than a particular:

as though this life
would prove you
only by turning into itself.

In "Conjugations," a poem that appears later in the collection, Klug directly addresses another theme of the collection, that of language -- both its limitations and it mysterious ability to bring into being. "Conjugations" speaks of a garden that "people pay to walk," and "stoop to mouth the names --":

araucana, monkey
puzzle tree, something
Japanese --

"Conjugations" concludes, as so many poems in Consent, with Klug's ability to bring the abstract into focus with just a couple simple lines, "each particular / ridiculous to be."
One of the strongest pieces in the collection is a surprisingly short poem called "Errand," in which Klug records the simple experience of running an errand in early spring and being overcome by "watchfulness in unexpected fits":

big tree's... cauliflower crown,
white petals that come off wetly,
in fistfuls, all down the sidewalk
mid-May's incessant fruiting...

The question that ends "Errand" is the question that seems to glint just below the surface of every poem of Consent: "is this praise then"?
Consent is a book written by a poet who has something to say. Every poem matters, whether it is engaging the historical theology of "Advent," or "The Legend of St. Euphemia," or simply contemplating the "End of Autumn." Klug is a writer who not only displays prowess in his employment of craft, but also has the philosophical capacities that cause a poem to function beyond itself, in this world, like "the sunlight, harder after."