Warning: Dangerous Poet Ahead

FS Zapruder on street

Matthew Zapruder

Poet Matthew Zapruder visits campus this month as part of the Michener Center for Writers literary reading series. He will read at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 20, at the Avaya Auditorium, ACE 2.302, at an event which is free and open to students and the general public.

Zapruder’s books of poetry include “Come On All You Ghosts” and “The Pajamaist,” both from Copper Canyon, and “American Linden,” from Tupelo Press. The New York Times has praised his “razor eye for the remnants and revenants of modern culture,” and among his many honors are fellowships from the Lannan and Guggenheim Foundations, the 2007 William Carlos Williams Award of the Poetry Society of America, and the 2008 May Sarton Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Co-founder and editor of Seattle’s Wave Books, an independent publisher of innovative poetry in fine press and hand-made editions, Zapruder lives in San Francisco, where he is also a guitarist in the rock band The Figments.

Dean Young, W.S. Livingston Chair in Poetry at the Michener Center, calls Zapruder “a dangerous poet.”  “His poems,”  Young says, “escape velocity while also proving the calamity of gravity.”

Reviewer Nick Sturm says of his work, “Matthew Zapruder gently places what is ordinary about our lives into [his] poems and transforms them into cliffs off which we walk and, together, float away.”


c. Matthew Zapruder, from “Come On All You Ghosts”

In Wichita Kansas my friends ordered square burgers
with mysterious holes leaking a delicious substance
that would fuel us in all sorts of necessary beautiful ways
for our long journey eastward versus the night.
I was outside touching my hand to the rough
surface of the original White Castle. I was thinking
major feelings such as longing for purpose
plunge down one like the knowledge one
has been drinking water for one’s whole life
and never actually seen a well, and minor ones
we never name are always across the surface
of every face every three seconds or so rippling
and producing in turn other feelings. Oh regarder,
if I call this one green bee mating with a dragonfly
in pain it will already be too late for both of us.
I am here with that one gone, and now inside this one
I am right now naming feeling of having named
something already gone, and you just about to know
I saw gentle insects crawling in a line from a crack
in the corner of the base of the original White Castle
towards only they know what point in the darkness.

The ACE building is on the southeast corner of 24th and Speedway, and parking is available in the nearby UT garage at San Jacinto and 24th Street.