“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.
Click here to listen to an interview with Gwendolyn Zepeda about her poetry book, Monsters, Zombies and Addicts: Poems.
“For all her emphasis on the unseemly, seedy undersides of life, Zepeda again exercises her gift for making even the most commonplace occurrences enchantingly musical. A fantastic second book for a poet who continues to define herself with raw and daring lyrics.”—Booklist
“Zepeda, poet laureate of Houston and novelist, explores gender, motherhood, the complexities of immigrant families, and an artist’s alienation in contemporary capitalism through these simple, raw, and humorous narratives. What comes across in the work as a whole is the power Zepeda derives from her “other” status as a person of color, a woman, and a poet.”—Publishers Weekly
“Darkly humorous and bravely revealing…Zepeda gives us a glimpse inside the hearts of women who bend briefly beneath the weight of society’s demands and oppression, gathering the rage and courage to push back and stand defiant. With a deft appropriation and exaptation of the tropes and language of the horror genre, [she] has crafted symbolic heroine’s journey, a passage through fear and into hope.”—The Monitor
“Reading Monsters, Zombies and Addicts, you get a sense of Zepeda’s whole self, her whole personality, the way she can keep a straight face and give you the side-eye in one look. These are poems that have a family, and a history, attached to them. They’re unpretentious enough to value lived experience, but they’re written sharply enough to embody the values of opinion and interpretation and sensibility.”—An Open Book: The Inprint Blog
GWENDOLYN ZEPEDA was born in Houston, Texas, in 1971, and attended the University of Texas at Austin. Her work has appeared on numerous websites, and she has written and illustrated her award-winning website, gwendolynzepeda.com, since 1997. In 2004, Zepeda was awarded the Cultural Arts Council of Houston/Harris County’s Individual Artist Grant for literature. 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.” She is currently serving a two-year term as Houston’s first Poet Laureate. Her works include Monsters, Zombies, and Addicts (Arte Público Press, 2015), Falling in Love with Fellow Prisoners (Arte Público Press, 2013), Level Up / Paso de nivel (Piñata Books, 2012), Better with You Here (Grand Central Publishing, 2012), I Kick the Ball / Pateo el balón (Piñata Books, 2011), Lone Star Legend (Grand Central Publishing, 2010), Sunflowers / Girasoles (Piñata Books, 2009), Houston, We Have a Problema (Grand Central Publishing, 2009), Growing Up with Tamales / Los tamales de Ana (Piñata Books, 2008), and To the Last Man I Slept with and All the Jerks Just Like Him (Arte Público Press, 2004). She continues to live and work in Houston.
Learn more at gwendolynzepeda.com.