Top Local Poets In Houston

November 18, 2013 6:00 AM

(Photo credit EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

While many novelists and nonfiction writers get a lot of press and recognition in today’s society, it is important to not neglect the genre of poetry when exploring the literary world. Houston has been getting much attention for its poets, with many weekly poetry readings, seminars and the installation of our city’s first Poet Laureate earlier this year. Poetry does not need to be daunting to readers, and many nonprofits around the Houston area are supporting literacy programming that features poetry in a more prominent place than ever before. The next time you feel like supporting a local Houstonian with your reading, make sure to pick up one of these wonderful Houston poets’ pieces.

Gwendolyn Zepeda

Houston’s first Poet Laureate, Gwendolyn Zepeda is a native Houstonian who will be spending the next two years teaching poetry, writing about the city of Houston, working with the Houston Public Library system and holding poetry workshops in her role as the inaugural Poet Laureate. She has published poems and works of fiction in the past, and her first book of poetry entitled “Falling in Love with Fellow Prisoners” came out this year. Her poems and events will interest all Houstonians at any level of literary appreciation and are very accessible to the general reader.

Robert Lunday

A professor of English with a specialty in writing at Houston Community College, Dr. Robert Lunday has had more than 50 poems published in various journals, magazines and other periodicals, as well as his own book of poems, entitled “Mad Flights.” He has been in Houston for a while, having completed his masters and doctoral work from the University of Houston’s creative writing program.

Paul Otremba

The author of two anthologies of poetry, Paul Otremba is currently serving as a lecturer of poetry at Rice University, transferring his knowledge of the craft to the next generation of writers. His two collections of poetry, “The Currency” and forthcoming “Pax Americana,” are both published by Four Way Books and available online and in many area bookstores. His poetry has also been featured in online and print journals, including the New England Review, Literary Imagination, The Houston Chronicle and the poetry anthology “American Poets in the 21st Century: The New Poetics.”

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Sarah Cortez

Sarah Cortez’s full and rich background has allowed her to publish a wide variety of literature, including poetry, fiction and young adult mysteries. Her past work in the police department has given her writing a different tone than many other writers, and she has published many poems and stories that relate to the daily happenings in the life of a police officer. Cortez also worked as a high school teacher, tax accountant and in human relations, which gives her a very unique perspective on life and the human experience. Her most recent book of poems, “Cold Blue Steel,” was published in 2012.

Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn is a poet and creator and collaborator on many creative projects, as well as being a professor of creative writing at the University of Houston. Two of his books of poetry, “Some Ether” and “Blind Huber,” earned him fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Library of Congress to continue his writing and film projects. He has written a trilogy of fiction books which have a poetry spinoff book connected to them (“The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands”), and one of his novels has been turned into a feature-length film. His work is broad and will be interesting for many Houstonians.

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Gillian Kruse is a freelance writer living in Houston. She graduated from Rice University with a great love for all performing and visual arts. She enjoys writing about arts and cultural events, especially little-known ones, to help Houstonians learn about what’s going on in their city. Her work can be found at