Screen readers: Two navigational links to follow.Skip to site navigation.Skip to page content.
The University of Iowa News Services
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release


Feb. 21, 2011

UI Press releases Iowa Poetry Prize co-winner, L.S. Klatt's 'Cloud of Ink'

The University of Iowa Press will release L.S. Klatt's "Cloud of Ink," co-winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize, on March 15.

On the surface, L. S. Klatt’s poems are airy and humorous—with their tales of chickens wandering the highways of Ohio and Winnebago trailers rolling up to heaven and whales bumping like watermelons in a bathtub —- but just under the surface they turn serious.

"Cloud of Ink," whose title refers to the obscuring cloud squirted by an octopus, cuttlefish or squid, explores Klatt’s preoccupation with language as concealment: “I’m interested in language as a smoke screen, in people hiding behind words,” says Klatt, who holds a Master of Divinity degree.

“I think religious people are particularly good at this. We have our own shibboleths and our ways that we let people know that we’re a member of the tribe. But shibboleths are no substitute for authenticity.”

The son of two teachers, Klatt enjoyed the wordplay that was common in his family life: “We always settled disputes at the dinner table by pulling out the dictionaries,” he says. Later on, a creative writing course focused energies on his eventual career. “I saw the power of language, and how it could be used in a potent way and how it could make you feel intense emotions—how it could open up the imagination.”

In Jubilat publisher Robert N. Casper wrote, “L. S. Klatt’s new collection creates a taxonomy of mystery, magic, surprise. Like a cloud, it floats through the reader’s mind with playful shapeliness —- but like ink, it leaves a darker, and lasting, impression.”

“Swinging between the midwestern vernacular of James Wright and the vexed wistfulness of Richard Hugo, these poems are nearly unquotable, so tightly joined are they of languages variously plainspoken and wildly swooping," wrote Kazim Ali, the author of "Bright Felon." "Klatt’s seemingly spare and diffuse lyrics artfully assemble a complex and rich vision, generous in intention, provocative in enactment, ecstatic in spirit."

Klatt teaches literature and creative writing at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. His poems have appeared in the Columbia Poetry Review, Turnrow, the Southeast Review, the Notre Dame Review, Phoebe, the Cincinnati Review, the Boston Review, Drunken Boat and the Five Fingers Review.

His first collection, "Interloper," won the Juniper Prize.

Klatt received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Wittenberg University in 1984 and a Masters of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in 1991. He then went on to earn a Masters of Arts from St. John's College in 1998. He received his doctorate in English from the University of Georgia in 2003.

The book will be available at bookstores or directly from the press, 800-621-2736 or Customers in Europe, the Middle East or Africa may order from Eurospan Group at It is also available as a pdf e-book:

UI arts events are searchable on the UI Master Calendar: To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to and click the link "Subscribe or Unsubscribe," then follow the instructions.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: UI Press, Winston Barclay, University News Services,