Creative Writing Program at UH Welcomes Poets Matthew Zapruder, Martha Serpas

Two of poetry’s freshest voices soon will be heard by students in the University of Houston’s noted Creative Writing Program (CWP).

Poets Matthew Zapruder and Martha Serpas are joining CWP as visiting faculty for the fall 2008 semester. They will teach graduate and undergraduate poetry workshops and courses.

Zapruder is the acclaimed author of poetry collections 2002’s “American Linden” (Tupelo Press) and 2006’s “The Pajamaist” (Copper Canyon Press), as well as a 2007 volume of Romanian poetry translations “Secret Weapon: The Late Poems of Eugen Jebeleanu” (Coffee House). He also is the founder and editor-in-chief of popular publishing house Wave Books (formerly Verse Press). He teaches at New York’s New School and at the Juniper Summer Writing Institute at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

“I had heard for years about the program, both by reputation as well as by direct testimony from former and current faculty members who are friends of mine. They have only wonderful things to say about it,” Zapruder said. “I am eager to be a part of the program and to work with the students.”

While Zapruder is new to UH, Serpas is very familiar with the campus as she received her doctorate from CWP in 1998. She is currently part of the University of Tampa’s English and Writing faculty and has had poems published in the New Yorker, New York Times Book Review, Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religion, Southwest Review and the book American Religious Poems.

“UH’s Creative Writing Program was wonderful for me, and its structure remains the same. It places strong emphasis on literary preparation and individual mentoring. Students can learn from writers teaching special topics from their immediate practice and current research interests,” Serpas said. “I had a wonderful experience as a student, and I am excited to be back.”

A Louisiana native, Serpas’ work largely focuses on her Gulf Coast heritage. Her 2006 book “The Dirty Side of the Storm” (W.W. Norton & Co.) focused on the hurricanes, bayous, marsh lands and the communities who reside in these often stormy southern regions.

Both Zapruder and Serpas will read their works on Sept. 10 as part of the “Poetry and Prose” reading series in the UH M.D. Anderson Library’s Elizabeth Rockwell Pavilion. All readings are free and open to the public.

“These poets bring a particular energy to our program and can be very valuable mentors to our students,” said J. Kastely, director of CWP. “There is a vitality that arises when graduate students get the opportunity to work with writers who are working at a high level of creativity. It is a relationship that encourages aesthetic growth.”

As part of UH’s English department, the Creative Writing Program offers poets, fiction writers and non-fiction writers intensive training in both creative writing and literary studies. It offers two graduate degrees: the Master of Fine Arts and Doctor of Philosophy. CWP’s noted faculty includes award-winning authors and poets such as novelist Antonya Nelson, poet and non-fiction writer Nick Flynn, graphic novelist Mat Johnson and poet Tony Hoagland. To learn more about the program, visit

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