Nathanael Tagg


Lancaster, PA
Pennsylvania US

Author's Bio

Nathanael Tagg is the author of two poetry collections published by WordTech Editions: Animal Virtue (2018) and Green Jesus (2021).

Praise for Green Jesus:

“To read Tagg’s collection of poems is to enter the luminous boundary land between body, spirit and earth. It is a place where the complex intimacies of a human life—a newborn daughter, a past faith, a world in jeopardy—are gifted new meaning by the song of a blue whale, a grove of redwoods, the ‘olfactory genius’ of a bear. With each line, Tagg leads us over new horizons of sense and thought, ‘spying common ground heretofore unseen.’ An urgent and beautiful journey.”–John T. Price, author of Man Killed by Pheasant and Other Kinships  

“‘He can neither believe, nor be comfortable in his unbelief,’ Hawthorne wrote of Melville, ‘and he is too honest and courageous not to try to do one or the other.’ In his unflinchingly honest earthly and heavenly confrontation Green Jesus, Tagg excavates and reburies his Christian evangelical faith and what he calls his ‘agnosticism about my agnosticism,’ moving toward a belief in what he calls a ‘green Jesus’: ‘something like a god of the eco-conscious,’ ‘the Christ of oak and sycamore taxing skin, bone, blood.’ Confronting with the furor of a jeremiad an ‘Evil Trinity’ that includes climate change—‘Your wildlings: / rising seas and storms, fires / and floods, droughts, reefs (skeletal)’—Tagg celebrates blue whale, sturgeon, the olfactory system of the bear, Jesus lizard ‘running on water,’ and finds in Whitman’s ‘hopeful green stuff woven’ of the living and not-yet-perished world both a loss and a recovery of Belief, ‘a cross dis- or reappearing.’”–Bruce Beasley, author of All Soul Parts Returned  

“In over 60 well-crafted poems, Tagg gives us a sustained meditation on American history, 21st century life, and the possibility of faith—and does so without didacticism, without obvious debt to other poets, and, most remarkably, without too much cynicism. I hope this is one volume of many from Tagg. Green Jesus feels like the beginning of a library full of such meditations, and in an era of vain tweets and empty hashtags, we could use such a library.”–Aaron Belz, author of Soft Launch

Praise for Animal Virtue:

“The charm of Nathanael Tagg’s Animal Virtue comes from its confident, unpretentious expression of curiosity about language and nature, its insights into everyday coincidences and encounters, and the daring to navigate the rocky waters between science and religion. His poems speak eloquently—and humorously—about the human impulse to search for greater meaning and connection. An exceptional debut!”–Rigoberto González, author of The Book of Ruin  

“‘No, you need not give me a script,’ writes Nathanael Tagg. No indeed. Animal Virtue brims over with curiosity, observation, and sheer knowledge, whether of literature, art, or the animal kingdom; the resulting script is no one’s but his own. Urbane and controlled, his poems still seethe with restless wit.”–Rachel Hadas, author of Questions in the Vestibule

Tagg’s poems and reviews are published or forthcoming in Barrow Street, Colorado Review, Confrontation, Pleiades, The Journal, Chariton Review, Evansville Review, Cimarron Review, Terrain, Sonora Review, Unsplendid, Arts & Letters, The Pinch, The Review Review, Intertia, The Midwest Quarterly, Hawk & Handsaw, Spoon River Poetry Review, Cold Mountain Review, The Raintown Review, and elsewhere.

His poetry uses nature imagery, humor, biblical allusions, literary references, and various poetic forms to explore the challenges of living well, especially in times of personal, political, existential, and environmental troubles. Among his influences are the poets Emily Dickinson, Thomas Lux, Carl Dennis, A. R. Ammons, and Robinson Jeffers.

A full-time associate professor of English at Cecil College in Maryland, he teaches Composition, Introduction to Literature, World Literature, and Creative Writing. He has taught at Rutgers and the University of Nebraska and has lived in Webster City, IA, his hometown; Jersey City, NJ; and Iowa City, IA. He now lives with his wife, Carrie, and their daughter, Jane, in Lancaster, PA. 

Publications & Prizes

Green Jesus (WordTech Editions, 2021)
Animal Virtue (WordTech Editions, 2018)

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Last update: May 04, 2021