Verlyn Klinkenborg

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Verlyn Klinkenborg
Born1952 (age 70–71)
Academic background
Alma materPomona College (BA)
Princeton University (PhD)
Academic work
DisciplineCreative Writing
English literature
InstitutionsFordham University
St. Olaf College
Bennington College
Sarah Lawrence College
Bard College
Harvard University
Yale University

Verlyn Klinkenborg (born 1952 in Meeker, Colorado) is an American non-fiction author, academic, and former newspaper editor, known for his writings on rural America.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Klinkenborg was born in Meeker, Colorado and raised on a farm in Iowa.[2] He attended elementary school in Clarion, Iowa until the 6th grade before his family relocated to Osage, Iowa.[3] His family then moved to Sacramento, California.

Klinkenborg attended the University of California, Berkeley before earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from Pomona College. He then earned a Ph.D from Princeton University, also in English literature.[4]


Klinkenborg taught literature and creative writing at Fordham University while living in The Bronx in the early to mid-1980s. He later taught at St. Olaf College, Bennington College, Sarah Lawrence College, Bard College, and Harvard University. In 1991, he received the Lila WallaceReader's Digest Writer's Award and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship.[5]

Klinkenborg's books include More Scenes from the Rural Life (Princeton Architectural Press), Making Hay and The Last Fine Time.

His book Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile concerns the tortoise which the English eighteenth century parson-naturalist Gilbert White inherited from his aunt, as described in his 1789 book The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne.[6] In the first half of 2006, Klinkenborg posted a farm and garden blog about The Rural Life, consisting of entries from the daily journal kept by Gilbert White in Selborne in 1784, and his own complementary daily entries.[7]

From 1997 to 2013, he was a member of the editorial board of The New York Times.[8]

Klinkenborg has published articles in The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, Esquire, National Geographic and Mother Jones magazines.

He has written a series of editorial opinions in The New York Times; these are generally literary meditations on rural farm life. On December 26, 2013, he announced in that column that it was to be the last he would be writing in that space.[9]

From 2006 to 2007, he was a visiting writer-in-residence at Pomona College, where he taught nonfiction writing. In 2007, he received a Guggenheim fellowship, which funded his book The Mermaids of Lapland, about William Cobbett.[10] In 2012, he published “Several Short Sentences About Writing”.

He currently teaches creative writing at Yale University and lives on a small farm in Upstate New York.[2]



  • The Rural Life
  • More Scenes from the Rural Life (Princeton Architectural Press)
  • Making Hay
  • The Last Fine Time
  • Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile
  • Several Short Sentences About Writing

Book reviews[edit]

Year Review article Work(s) reviewed
2018 Klinkenborg, Verlyn (February 22, 2018). "A horse is a horse, of course". The New York Review of Books. 65 (3): 46–47. Raulff, Ulrich. Farewell to the horse : a cultural history. Translated by Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp. Liveright.
2019 Klinkenborg, Verlyn (December 19, 2019). "What Were Dinosaurs For". The New York Review of Books. 66 (20): 34–38. Five books on dinosaurs.
2020 Klinkenborg, Verlyn (December 17, 2020). "A Noah's Ark of Books". The New York Review of Books. 67 (20). Selected books in the Reaktion Animal series.
2021 Klinkenborg, Verlyn (August 19, 2021). "Requiem for a Heavyweight". The New York Review of Books. 68 (13). Giggs, Rebecca. Fathoms: The World in the Whale. Simon and Schuster.
2022 Klinkenborg, Verlyn (July 23, 2022). "The Forest's-Eye View". The New York Review of Books. 69 (12). Reid, John W.; Lovejoy, Thomas E. Ever Green: Saving Big Forests to Save the Planet. Norton.

Rawlence, Ben. The Treeline: The Last Forest and the Future of Life on Earth. St Martin's.

2022 Klinkenborg, Verlyn (December 19, 2022). "Endless Summer". The New York Review of Books. 69 (15). Wilson, Brent (director). Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road (Documentary film). PBS American Masters.
2023 Klinkenborg, Verlyn (March 23, 2023). "Trees in Themselves". The New York Review of Books. 70 (5). Farmer, Jared. Elderflora: A Modern History of Ancient Trees. Basic Books.

Bloggs, Joe; Bloggs, Fred (1974). Book of Bloggs.


  1. ^ Mann, Brian (August 16, 2010). "The Rural Life: A conversation with The New York Times' Verlyn Klinkenborg". North Country Public Radio. Retrieved September 24, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "NVS, RO Bhopal - Get Fast Update - Education and Career".
  3. ^ Verlyn Klinkenborg, "Editorial Notebook; Memory, Musical Desire and the Beatles," New York Times, October 15, 2000 |URL=
  4. ^ Klinkenborg, Verlyn (June 22, 2013). "Opinion | The Decline and Fall of the English Major". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  5. ^ "Verlyn Klinkenborg". Archived from the original on March 7, 2012. Retrieved March 8, 2012.
  6. ^ Mabey, Richard (1986). Gilbert White: A biography of the author of The Natural History of Selborne. Century Hutchinson. pp. 130, 176–179. ISBN 0-7126-1794-9.
  7. ^ Klinkenborg's 2006 New York Times garden blog. Retrieved 15 May 2013
  8. ^ "New York Times". Retrieved March 8, 2012.
  9. ^ Klinkenborg, Verlyn (December 25, 2013). "Farewell". The New York Times.
  10. ^ "Pomona College : News@Pomona". Retrieved March 8, 2012.

External links[edit]