Krupa Parikh

About Krupa Parikh

Krupa Parikh is Inprint's Communications & Community Relations Director. She reads too much fiction and likes to pretend that she lives in New York City, but secretly we all know she loves Houston.

Chatting With Houston Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Zepeda

June 24, 2014, by

croppedGwenIn April 2013 award-winning fiction writer and poet Gwendolyn Zepeda became Houston’s first Poet Laureate. Zepeda was appointed to the two-year position by Mayor Annise Parker and was selected by a committee of local literary experts through a competitive process. (Inprint’s Executive Director Rich Levy was part of the selection committee.)

Gwen is a perfect fit for the role of poet laureate, an honor established to bring the love of poetry to new and diverse communities. Born and raised in Houston, Gwen is a popular blogger and the author of three novels, four children’s books, a short story collection, and a book of poems, Falling in Love with Fellow Prisoners. Her second poetry collection is forthcoming. In addition to these admirable accomplishments, she works full-time, is a parent, is active in the community, and is an all-around lovely human being.  If you have been out and about in Houston recently, you may have seen Gwen reading, leading a workshop, participating in a Houston Public Library program, or involved in some other poetry related activity. Gwen recently served as an Inprint Poetry Busker for Sunday Streets at Market Square.

Inprint is thrilled that Houston has an official Poet Laureate and last week I had the chance to sit down with Gwen (and her husband Dat Lam) to talk about the role of Poet Laureate and her activities. The two hours passed way too quickly. Gwen’s generosity of spirit, quirky humor, simple honesty, and humble and approachable nature make you feel like you have been friends with her for years. We had a great time and I look forward to seeing Gwen again soon.

The following are snippets from our conversation.

Inprint: You have participated in so many activities as Houston Poet Laureate. Which activities stand out in your mind the most? Which have you been the most proud of? Continue reading

What’s the Word Around Town?

August 2, 2013, by

WAT-Flyer-front2013Houston’s poetry scene continues to grow and that is definitely something to be proud of. This Sunday, the 2013 Word Around Town, often called WAT?!, kicks off. The week of poetry readings held at different venues throughout the city runs from August 4 – 10th. And Inprint is excited to host it on Monday, August 5th,  when WAT?! comes to Inprint House.

We asked one of the lead organizers of WAT?!, Stephen Gros, to talk to us about how the series got started and what’s in store for this coming week.

Inprint: How did WAT?! get started?

Stephen: WAT?! kicked off it’s inaugural tour in the summer of 2006 with 12 poets. It was an incredible achievement and was completely unprecedented in the city of Houston, whose open mic poetry community was not particularly cohesive or inclusive. At the time poets were loyal to their local open mic and most poets didn’t go to the other open mics around town. Zelene Pineda’s ground-breaking idea for an inner city tour that would highlight Houston’s diverse and talented poets while introducing them to new venues and audiences was a concept desperately needed. She brought the concept to renowned DJ and lyricist Joe B and myself. At the time, I was an open mic host and co-founder of Panhandler Publishing, and with our combined knowledge and connections we put together the first tour. Essentially we strung together the major open mics of the time, Taft Street Coffee, Helios, Gs & Zs, Mocha Life and others. To noone’s surprise the tour was an unmitigated success that continues to grow and mature with every year. Continue reading

Poet and photographer Thomas Sayers Ellis spends some time in Houston

March 28, 2013, by

TSE Self PortraitLucky for us, accomplished poet and photographer Thomas Sayers Ellis is spending some time in Houston this spring.

Currently a faculty member of the Lesley University low-residency M.F.A Program in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Poetry Editor of The Baffler, Thomas’ poetry books include Skin, Inc.: Identity Repair Poems and The Maverick Room. He is working on a book of photographs titled The Go-Go Book: People in the Pocket in Washington, D.C.

Thomas is one of the artists of Project Row Houses’ Round 38 Installations opening this weekend. The Artists’ Talk takes place Saturday, March 30th, at 2:30 pm and the opening reception takes place later that day from 4 -7 pm. For more information, click here.  Thomas will also read tonight, Thursday, March 28th, at 8:30 pm, as part of the Poison Pen Series at Poison Girl Bar, click here for details. Continue reading

Houston’s first Poet Laureate

March 5, 2013, by

HPLlogo4eblastsLast year we were lucky enough to feature former U. S. Poet Laureate W. S. Merwin as part of the Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series. We’ve had 16 Poet Laureates grace the reading series over the last 32 seasons. Before we featured Merwin, we did some research to understand how these laureates are selected and what the responsibilities include. Click here to see what we found.

But just as important as the national poetry scene, is our local one. Houston is fortunate that it is buzzing with thoughtful, talented, and lively poets and now poetry will be honored on a citywide level. Mayor Annise Parker recently announced the establishment of the Houston Poet Laureate Program. We asked Jennifer Schwartz, Program Manager for the Houston Public Library, to give us more information about this new initiative.

Inprint: Can you tell us how the Houston Poet Laureate will be selected? Is there a selection committee and a nomination process? Continue reading

Celebrating Jack Kerouac

March 1, 2013, by

KerouacFestflyerfrontWe all have favorite books—books that change the way we think, books that expand our sense of the world, and books that help us understand the meaning of life. The authors of those favorite books become our heroes. They become who we look to and revere.

Now, can you imagine organizing a festival to celebrate that author? A few weeks ago we met with the organizers of Kerouac Fest 2013, Stephen Gros and Tanyia Johnson. Yes, you heard me right, a festival celebrating Jack Kerouac.

Kerouac Fest 2013 takes place on Saturday, March 9, from 3 – 10 pm at the Orange Show Monument. For tickets and other details click here. We asked Stephen to answer a few questions for us, and he was kind enough to do so:

Inprint: How did the idea of Kerouac Fest come about?

Stephen: Years ago I tried organizing a marathon reading of On The Road read by local poets and writers. My friend Michael Hoerman had been involved with one in Massachusetts where Jack is from and he gave me the whole thing timed out. That reading never materialized, something about getting poets to commit to an 18-hour event just wasn’t going to stick. It wasn’t the right time.  So I filed that away and moved on to other things. Continue reading

In her 90s, Tonja Koeppel publishes The Bell File

December 4, 2012, by

Through my work at Inprint, I have been very fortunate, as have many Houstonians, to meet some of the greatest writers of our times—John Updike, Carlos Fuentes, Jhumpa Lahiri, Salman Rushdie, Gary Shteyngart, Junot Diaz, the list goes on. My friends often joke about the seemingly glamorous nature of my job. In all honesty, as exciting as it is to meet a writer you have admired for many years, what inspires me the most about my work at Inprint is the opportunity to engage with all the talented local writers I get the chance to meet, writers from all walks of life who share their imaginative fiction and poetry with us while residing in our beloved city.

Earlier this fall, I had the privilege of meeting a fascinating local writer, Tonja Koeppel, who in her 90s, just published her third novel, The Bell File. Genuine, graceful, and very sharp, Tonja came to creative writing later in her life. She began her career by working as a science writer for newspapers and magazines in Switzerland where she was born and grew up. When she came to the United States, she taught chemistry at a university in New Jersey. After she retired, she signed up for a writing course at Rice University which then launched her writing life.  Her other novels include Astral Twin and Secret of Adamant House. The Bell File is her first self-published novel through Amazon.  Continue reading

Antena Books—Houston’s Newest Literary Space

May 14, 2012, by

When I think of literary spaces I think of bookstores, libraries, my favorite reading chair, or my desk, where I have sat with my laptop for hours in hopes of writing the perfect sentence, the perfect essay, or the perfect piece of literature that I naively daydream will live on for generations. Literary spaces are important, they inspire us to read, they inspire us to write, they celebrate the literary life in us, and they make public something that is a solitary act. We are lucky that Houston has vibrant literary spaces—we have some great independent bookstores and we have libraries which entice the young and old.

The newest, and perhaps most innovative literary space I have seen in Houston recently, is Antena Books/Libros Antena, a literary installation at Project Row Houses that is the creation of Houston writer and former Inprint blogger John Pluecker (or JP as his good friends call him). Continue reading