MATTHEW ZAPRUDER discusses his new book WHY POETRY, with DAVID ULIN

Why Poetry (Ecco Press)

An impassioned call for a return to reading poetry and an incisive argument for poetry's accessibility to all readers, by critically acclaimed poet Matthew Zapruder.

In Why Poetry, award-winning poet Matthew Zapruder takes on what it is that poetry--and poetry alone--can do. Zapruder argues that the way we have been taught to read poetry is the very thing that prevents us from enjoying it. In lively, lilting prose, he shows us how that misunderstanding interferes with our direct experience of poetry and creates the sense of confusion or inadequacy that many of us feel when faced with it.

Zapruder explores what poems are, and how we can read them, so that we can, as Whitman wrote, -possess the origin of all poems, - without the aid of any teacher or expert. Most important, he asks how reading poetry can help us to lead our lives with greater meaning and purpose. Anchored in poetic analysis and steered through Zapruder's personal experience of coming to the form, Why Poetry is engaging and conversational, even as it makes a passionate argument for the necessity of poetry in an age when information is constantly being mistaken for knowledge. While he provides a simple reading method for approaching poems and illuminates concepts like associative movement, metaphor, and negative capability, Zapruder explicitly confronts the obstacles that readers face when they encounter poetry to show us that poetry can be read, and enjoyed, by anyone.

Praise for Why Poetry

“Part personal essay, part criticism, part literary guidebook.” —Huffington Post

“[Zapruder] takes a personal approach, mixing memoir, analysis, and argument. . . . [His] writing is accessible, easygoing, and welcoming, as if he's sitting right there talking us through the poems.” —Kirkus Reviews

"A marvelous book. [Zapruder] warms to his subject—the importance of poetry and what makes it tick. . . . He shows that poetry 'connects elements that one wouldn’t have expected' to surprise the reader with an awareness of associations perhaps not quite in the range of conscious thought. Poetry, unhampered by having to fulfill other functions, offers a pure interaction with language and thus the possibility of catching elusive moments of illumination. . . . Ending with a politically charged afterword, 'Poetry and Poets in a Time of Crisis,' this passionate book . . . would work well both in a college classroom and in the hands of ordinary readers." —Publishers Weekly

Matthew Zapruder is the author of Why Poetry (Ecco, August 2017) and four poetry collections: Sun Bear; Come On, All You Ghosts; The Pajamist; and American Linden. An Associate Professor in the MFA program at Saint Mary’s College of California, he is also editor at large at Wave Books and from 2016-2017 was editor of the poetry column for the New York Times Magazine. He lives in Oakland, CA.

David L. Ulin is the author, most recently, of the novel Ear to the Ground. A 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, his other books include Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles, a finalist for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, and the Library of America's Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology, which won a California Book Award.

Matthew Zapruder photo by B.A. Van Sise

David Ulin photo by Noah Ulin

Event date: 
Tuesday, September 12, 2017 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Why Poetry Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062343079
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Ecco - August 15th, 2017

Sun Bear Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781556594632
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Copper Canyon Press - March 25th, 2014

American Linden Cover Image
ISBN: 9780971031098
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Published: Tupelo Press - September 15th, 2010

Come on All You Ghosts Cover Image
ISBN: 9781556593222
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Published: Copper Canyon Press - August 31st, 2010

The Pajamaist Cover Image
ISBN: 9781556592447
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Published: Copper Canyon Press - September 2006

Ear to the Ground Cover Image
ISBN: 9781939419736
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Published: Unnamed Press - April 12th, 2016

Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles Cover Image
ISBN: 9780520273726
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Published: University of California Press - October 6th, 2015

The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time Cover Image
ISBN: 9781570616709
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Published: Sasquatch Books - October 12th, 2010

The Myth of Solid Ground: Earthquakes, Prediction, and the Fault Line Between Reason and Faith Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143035251
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Published: Penguin Books - July 26th, 2005

Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology: A Library of America Special Publication Cover Image
ISBN: 9781931082273
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Published: Library of America - September 30th, 2002

Another City: Writing from Los Angeles Cover Image
By David L. Ulin (Editor)
ISBN: 9780872863910
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Published: City Lights Publishers - City Lights Publishe - September 2001