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Friday, September 29, 2023


Visiting poet teaches technique

Aspiring poets can hone their craft under the direction of esteemed poet and professor Matthew Zapruder as he attempts to make the most of his semester with the Graduate Program in Creative Writing at UH.

Among writing, teaching and translating poetry, Zapruder founded Wave Books and serves as editor of the publishing house. In the last six years, he’s authored two books of poetry, American Linden and The Pajamaist, and worked to translate the final works of Romanian poet Eugen Jebeleanu.

For The Pajamaist, a collection of poems published in 2006, Zapruder took first place for the Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams Award in 2007.

Every spring Zapruder teaches poetry at the New School in New York City, and during the summer he teaches at the Juniper Summer Writing Institute at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, while reserving his fall semesters for visiting faculty positions at schools across the nation.

If there’s one thing Zapruder aims to instill to his students during the semester whether he’s teaching in New York, Amherst or Houston, it’s the idea that writing poetry isn’t just about poetic form or technique. For Zapruder poetry is also about perception.

"I want to help the writers in the class see themselves, and each other, more clearly and more deeply as writers," Zapruder said. "Hopefully then they will be able to develop their work in ways that make their writing, as well as their lives as writers, more interesting, exciting and meaningful."

Drawn to the position at UH because of the program’s notable reputation, Zapruder said his decision to teach at the University wasn’t a difficult one to make.

"I know some of the current and former visiting faculty personally, and they speak in the highest terms of the students and the program," Zapruder said.

Along with University of Tampa English professor Martha Serpas, who will also teach at the Graduate Program in Creative Writing this fall, Zapruder will offer his work at the University of Houston Libraries and Creative Writing Program Poetry and Prose reading at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 10 at M.D. Anderson Library, Elizabeth Rockwell Pavilion.

The event is free to the public.

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