Rich Levy

About Rich Levy

Rich Levy is Inprint’s Executive Director. He is the author of the poetry collection Why Me? and was named Best Poet 2011 by the Houston Press. Rich is addicted to dark chocolate and offbeat jazz, and misses Van Loc.

Meet today’s literary stars, and tomorrow’s

October 13, 2017, by

Viet-Thanh-Nguyen

We’re thrilled to report that Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen—who will be appearing in the Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series on Monday, November 13, 7:30 pm, at Rice University’s Stude Concert Hall–-was named one of this year’s 24 recipients of MacArthur Foundation “genius” fellowships.

We are happy for him and for all of you, who will have the privilege of hearing him speak on his first appearance in the Series. Don’t miss it—he will be in conversation with Houston native William Broyles, founding editor of Texas Monthly, Academy-Award nominated screenwriter, and author of Brothers in Arms, an account of his return to Vietnam to meet the men and women he fought against during the war. Inprint will join with Houston Public Media to live-stream this reading.

Inprint Dermont WardAnother of the 2017 MacArthur “genius” fellowship recipients is novelist Jesmyn Ward, who appeared in the Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series in March 2013. You can watch a video here of her reading from her National Book Award-winning novel Salvage the Bones and her conversation with fellow novelists Amber Dermont and Robert Boswell, on the Inprint website in our Archive of Readings. Continue reading

Creative writing can help after Harvey

October 3, 2017, by

When any great loss occurs, we need time and a way to process that loss. It’s difficult enough when one loses a beloved car or musical instrument, photos, books, a favorite chair – but when one loses all of it at once – one’s house and nearly everything in it – and when whole neighborhoods are inundated, the loss becomes one that all of us in the region must process, either directly or indirectly. It’s as if there is a toxic gas release or poisons in the water – the malaise affects us all, in one way or another.

There is also the matter of processing the grief that follows loss. Even though this is a different sort of grief than the loss of a family member or friend, still one is haunted by what is missing, or what happened down the road (especially in the quiet hours of the night, when one has time to reflect).

Writing through the grief – acknowledging somehow what happened and what it means to us – is one way to metabolize and learn to live with loss. It’s also cathartic in such circumstances to know those things for which one is grateful, and to whom one is grateful, and to pay tribute to them.

To demonstrate the way creative writing—some unleashing of the unconscious—can help after Harvey, a few weeks ago, at an Inprint Board of Directors meeting, after we were officially adjourned, Cait Weiss Orcutt—a poet, Inprint C. Glenn Cambor/MD Anderson Foundation Fellow, experienced writing teacher, and PhD candidate at the University of Houston Creative Writing Program—led us in a writing exercise to show how one might write creatively in response to trauma, and emerge from the experience both slightly relieved and with a text one might expand upon, and perhaps eventually share with others. Continue reading

Uncovering the Path to Uncovered: A Celebration of Leah Lax

August 31, 2015, by

Book jacket for Uncovered by Leah LaxAs any writer will tell you, the publication of a book is an occasion for celebration—especially one that has been written and rewritten and agonized over for a decade. So it is clearly time for Leah Lax to celebrate the publication (on August 28) of her long awaited and compelling memoir, Uncovered: How I Left Hasidic Life and Finally Came Home.

Inprint’s connection to Leah and this book goes back many years. You might consider this “extra-textual”: it’s not in the book.

Sometime in early 1996, when I was still “the new guy” at Inprint, I received a phone call from Rosellen Brown, the acclaimed writer and faculty member at the UH Creative Writing Program (UH CWP). Rosellen had a friend in the Houston Hasidic community who was a school teacher and a talented writer. Inprint gave scholarships to Houston-area K-12 teachers to take our writers workshops. (Now we offer Teachers-as-Writers Workshops, essentially the same thing.) Rosellen wondered: Could her friend Leah receive a teacher scholarship?

Of course, I said—and the rest is history. Continue reading

The personal essay is alive and well

August 4, 2015, by

2_Speaker and audience GOODIt’s a decent crowd at Brazos Bookstore, on a Thursday evening in late July. Wine, beer, and water are on offer, and cheese and crackers. It’s festive, convivial, the usual gracious Brazos atmosphere for a reading—with the exception that we aren’t gathered to listen to a single visiting writer. Instead, unusually, we’re here to listen to each other.

Brazos has graciously agreed to host a group reading by the members of Erika Jo Brown’s Inprint personal essay workshop. They’ve been meeting under Erika’s guidance for two months this summer to think about and experiment with the craft of this varied, extensive form, which (as Erika points out in her course description) can be both “intellectually rigorous and exploratory.” These folks are used to reading to each other, sharing and responding to each other’s work, and considering examples by selected essayists to help them think about such matters as “narrative arc, emotional ‘stakes,’ concretizing details, dialogue, point of view, characterization,” and  more. They’ve been working, three hours a week for eight weeks at Inprint House. Now they’re going to take a big step outside the intimate confines of the workshop and strut their stuff publicly.

You can spot the essayists—they’re the restless ones with papers in their hands. The rest of us—friends, family, and curious others who found the reading on the Brazos schedule—are here to support them and listen to a sample of their work. Continue reading

On turning 30

May 10, 2013, by

Just 30 no nameMay 9, 2013, was Inprint’s official 30th birthday! Executive Director Rich Levy shares his thoughts about what Inprint is most proud of, what excites Inprint as it turns 30, and where the organization wants to go.

Thirty years: we are in a state of astonishment. To be honest, when I took this job 18 years ago, it was difficult to believe that the making and consumption of literature were compelling facts on the Houston cultural landscape—even with a great Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston (UH CWP). And we have done what we can to keep that program strong and to help attract some of the nation’s best emerging writers to Houston: since 1983, our fellowships and prizes to UH CWP grad students have exceeded $2.5 million and supported more than 500 of the nation’s top emerging writers.

That is a meaningful legacy for the city. These writers lead our workshops, and teach in schools and colleges and community centers throughout the region, sharing their work and skills everywhere, on stage and in bookstores and bars and coffee shops. There’s no part of the city or surrounding areas that hasn’t been touched by these writers and their work in the community. Continue reading

How to Become U. S. Poet Laureate

April 19, 2012, by

In anticipation of former Poet Laureate W. S. Merwin’s visit to Houston to close out the 2011-2012 Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series next Monday, Inprint Executive Director Rich Levy chatted with Rob Casper, who serves as Head of the Poetry and Literature Center of the Library of Congress, about one of the nation’s most unique and mysterious “jobs” —the position of U. S. Poet Laureate.

Rich: Rob, how is the U.S. Poet Laureate selected?

Rob: There is a lot of mystery surrounding the Poet Laureate selection, but really it’s quite simple. For the past two years I helped the Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, in the selection process for the Poet Laureate Consultant of Poetry (the official title). The Librarian has a Congressional mandate to select the Poet Laureate.

I didn’t work at the Library of Congress when William Merwin was selected; however, from what I can tell the process worked roughly the same as it did last year, when Dr. Billington selected Philip Levine. (The Poet Laureate serves a one-year term, although several have served additional consecutive terms.) First, I contacted 30 editors, scholars, critics, and nonprofit literary administrators, as well as 10 former Poets Laureate, for nominations. We received 60 nominations in total—half with more than one vote. Dr. Billington and I discussed each nominee in the latter category, and I made several packets with selections for him to review. We spent a number of months looking at batches of poets, and when Dr. Billington decided on a group of finalists he asked me to follow up with two former Poets Laureate, a prominent arts director, and a person of my own choosing for a final review. Right after I provided the results from that review, we had a short discussion and Dr. Billington made his selection.

Continue reading