Author on the Airwaves: Gwendolyn Zepeda

Zepeda chosen as May 2015’s “Author of the Month” on Houston Public Media

Houston Public Media radio host Eric Ladau interviewed Zepeda for its website’s “Arte Público Press Author of the Month” feature, and along with the transcript, their conversation is available to listeners on the station’s interactive site through on-demand audio streaming here.

Click here to see all Arte Público authors featured on Houston Public Media.

About the Author:

GWENDOLYN ZEPEDA, Houston’s first poet laureate, is the author of several books for adults and children. She is the author of two poetry collections, Monsters, Zombies and Addicts (Arte Público Press, 2015) and Falling in Love with Fellow Prisoners (Arte Público Press, 2013); a short story collection, To the Last Man I Slept with and All the Jerks Just Like Him (Arte Público Press, 2004); three novels, Better with You Here (Grand Central Publishing, 2012), Lone Star Legend (Grand Central Publishing, 2010) and Houston, We Have a Problema (Grand Central Publishing, 2009); and four bilingual picture books for children, Level Up / Paso de nivel (Piñata Books, 2012),  I Kick the Ball / Pateo el balón (Piñata Books, 2011), Sunflowers / Girasoles (Piñata Books, 2009) and Growing Up with Tamales / Los tamales de Ana (Piñata Books, 2008). Born and raised in Houston, Texas, her writing was hailed by EFE newswire as having the “potential to transform Latino literature of recent years and rid it of its bad habits and clichés.”

About her latest book, Monsters, Zombies and Addicts

“I was scared of a thing that might have happened. In daytime I’m sure it / never did. At night, I don’t trust daylit memories or instincts. In nightmares, like / filmstrips, the feared thing occurs.”

In her second poetry collection, monsters–real and imagined–chase Houston Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Zepeda through late nights when she can’t sleep. Ghosts routinely visit in the early morning hours, but in spite of her fears, she dares to believe that she has escaped the devils that once followed her. This collection of 62 narrative poems contains witty observations about the rituals of contemporary life. In “Cocktail Hours,” she wonders, “What if all my nights were Christmas lights on patios with tinkling drinks / and fun conversations.” And in “Recipe for Fun,” Zepeda offers a ten-point guide to soothing away life’s frustrations, including a suggestion to get some peace by giving “everyone in your house pizza, cat food or video games.”

Musings on family, remembrances of childhood games and encounters with strangers (and ants!) fill this clever, thought-provoking collection in which Zepeda dares to express her individuality. She doesn’t follow others blindly, or do what society expects of her. Readers will appreciate this second poetry collection, which is deeply personal yet universal in its hopes and fears.