Yuba Lit Presents Guggenheim-Winning Poet Matthew Zapruder OCT 11th—and Invites the Community to Be Part of WHY POETRY

Yuba Lit is thrilled and honored to present Guggenheim-winning poet and former New York Times Magazine poetry editor Matthew Zapruder reading and discussing his book WHY POETRY Thursday October 11th, at the Stone House in Nevada City. Why Poetry makes an impassioned but plainspoken case that good poetry can be understood deeply by anyone—if we liberate ourselves from misguided ways we’ve been taught to read it.

The evening will begin at 7 p.m., with a small-bites menu and no-host bar offered by the Stone House, and a signing afterwards, a festive format well-known to Yuba Lit’s regular audiences. But because Zapruder advocates a special role for poetry to bring meaning to our every day lives, Yuba Lit is also looking for local community members to be part of this event before Zapruder even arrives.

Inspired by the NEA’s Poetry Out Loud national poetry recitation contest, Yuba Lit is seeking audience members to recite their favorite poem from memory. The best recitation will be voted by audience applause, and the winning poetry out loud participant will receive a free copy of Matthew Zapruder’s book, and a gift certificate to Harmony Books. Interested poetry reciters should write yubalit@gmail.com to save their spot in the opening contest.


Yuba Lit founder and producer Rachel Howard said she is excited to hear locals share their favorite poems, and eager for the rare opportunity to host Zapruder.

“Matthew Zapruder is truly a leading poet and poetry advocate of our day and such a generous, down-to-earth, and charismatic reader,” she said. “I love Why Poetry for the way it fires up people who already appreciate poetry, and the way it makes poetry personal and alive for people who probably would love poetry, if only they hadn’t learned early in life to fear reading poetry ‘wrong.’ Ultimately, Why Poetry is a book about the power of close attention to awaken our sense of truth, and I think that’s a message our culture needs right now.”


Yuba Lit founder Rachel Howard. Photo by Andrea Roach.

Reviews for Why Poetry were widespread and glowing. Wrote Newsday, “Poetry frustrates people . . . Every now and then one of the poets, in turn, steps up helpfully to explain how to read the stuff. In his friendly new book, Why Poetry, poet, editor and teacher Matthew Zapruder does this very thing with unusual clarity and generosity.”

Said literary website The Millions: “Why Poetry is part-inspiration, part-guidebook, and part literary memoir. . . . Zapruder’s spiritual undercurrent raises Why Poetry into something rare: the cogent and lively argument that poetry truly matters, fueled by passion rather than pretense.”

In addition to Why Poetry, Zapruder is the author of the poetry collections Sun Bear, Come on All You Ghosts, The Pajamaist, and American Linden. He is an editor-at-large with Wave Books and a professor at St. Mary’s College of California.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 11th. The Stone House is located at 107 Sacramento St., Nevada City. A $10 donation payable by cash or check at the door supports Yuba Lit’s production costs. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Patrons are encouraged to reserve a seat by writing to yubalit@gmail.com with their name and number of guests.

Yuba Lit is a fiscally sponsored project of the Nevada County Arts Council, a not-for-profit organization, and donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. The series also has a Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/yubalit.