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Event Details

Finding Music in Free Verse with Kevin Prufer

  • 16 Sep 2021
  • 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Zoom

Please note: This is a date change due to a scheduling conflict on ESWA's behalf.  Our apologies for any inconvenience.

In this session, we will discuss poetry and music, how the music of poetic language informs how we understand a poem, how musical choices a poet makes support and complicate our sense of how a poem moves, feels, and works.  What exactly is the music of free verse?  What can free verse poets learn from the music of traditional forms? How can poetic music create emotional and intellectual polyvalence in poetry?  


Kevin Prufer is the author of eight books of poetry, including The Art of Fiction (2021), How He Loved Them (2018), Churches (2014), In a Beautiful Country (2011), and National Anthem (2008), all from Four Way Books.

He's also edited several volumes of poetry, including New European Poets (Graywolf Press, 2008; w/ Wayne Miller), Literary Publishing in the 21st Century (Milkweed Editions, 2016; w/ Wayne Miller & Travis Kurowski), and Into English: Poems, Translations, Commentaries (Graywolf Press, 2017; w/Martha Collins). 

With Wayne Miller, Prufer directs the Unsung Masters Series, a book series devoted to bringing the work of great but little-known authors to new generations of readers through the annual republication of a large body of each author's work, printed alongside essays, photographs, and ephemera. 

Prufer is a professor in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston and the low-residency MFA at Lesley University.

Among Prufer's awards and honors are four Pushcart prizes and several Best American Poetry selections, numerous awards from the Poetry Society of America, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Lannan Foundation.  His poetry collection How He Loved Them was long-listed for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize and received the Julie Suk Award for the best poetry book of 2018 from the American literary press.

Born in 1969 in Cleveland, Ohio, Kevin Prufer received his undergraduate degree from the College of Letters at Wesleyan University. He has graduate degrees from Hollins University and Washington University.

For more about Kevin, visit:

Click Here to Order Kevin's Books!

The Art of Fiction: Poems
Four Way Books, 2021

As driven by storytelling as one’s favorite thriller ... approachable and edge-of-seat engaging.  —Barbara Hoffert, Editor's Pick, Library Journal

In his latest from Four Way Books, Prufer conveys images in motion, in flux, not transformed through his lens but spied in the process of change, a lens not after that of photography but of cinema.  —Christopher Notarnicola, The Paris Review

Here, terror is never far from the edges of consciousness . . . . Prufer’s sensitive, strange, and brilliant poems explore darkness and pain with originality and verve.   —Publishers Weekly

Phenomenal in both senses of the word!     —Tony Leuzzi, The Brooklyn Rail

How He Loved Them
Four Way Books, 2018

• Long list, the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

• Winner, 2019 Julie Suk Award for the best book from the American literary press

• Finalist, the 2019 Rilke Prize for the best book by a mid-career American poet.

• Finalist, the 2019 INDIE Prize for best book from the American independent press.

Please note: A Zoom link will be automatically emailed to registrants 24 hours prior to the event.

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