MSUM professor chosen as editor’s choice

By Kristin Kirtz

Kevin Zepper

Kevin Zepper, professor in the English Department, was recently chosen editor’s choice for his poem, “Ghost Writing.”

Two of Zepper’s poems, “Ghost Writing” and “Blind” were published in “Talking Stick,” a publication out of Park Rapids.

“Ghost Writing” is a poem that tells a story about how language constantly surrounds us. It’s the idea that everyone sees different things in life. Some people see one story and another person sees a different story.

Sharon Harris, the editor of “Talking Stick,” wrote in her editor’s note,

“The poem is imaginative; the poet did something with a subject that I would not have thought of doing. Such a clever play on words. A ghost writer does the writing behind the scenes for other authors, helping them with their writing. In this poem, we see spectral ink, otherworldly words appearing, free-floating ideas, all actually coming from ghosts as words manifest on any stray piece of paper. Very clever.”

Zepper doesn’t expect to receive much from his poetry except the satisfaction of sharing his words.

“The fact that it gets published, that’s an acknowledgement. There doesn’t have to be a huge check or anything with it,” Zepper said. “But to get an editor’s choice is sort of like, not only is it acknowledged but the editor thinks it is pretty sweet. That’s what it’s about.”

Zepper has always liked literature. His parents read a wide variety of genres to him, including comic books and children’s stories. He became a reader early on and he is very grateful to his parents for encouraging him to read.

Zepper took an interest to poetry starting in second grade when a poet spoke to his class.

“I thought it was the coolest thing in the world,” Zepper said. “It was one thing to read, but I got it, I understood it.”

He worked briefly with poetry as a child, but didn’t pick it back up until he was in high school.

“I just wrote and wrote and wrote. I filled notebooks and read and it was all really bad,” Zepper said.

After high school Zepper attended MSUM and graduated with his bachelors degree in English and his Master of Fine Arts. He said he had great teachers that pushed him to be better.

Now that he’s a professor, he says it’s the students that make his job fun.

“The students keep me on my toes and they educate me,” Zepper said. “My favorite part about teaching is seeing the light go on. Whether it’s in the class or on the paper. When I can see that eureka moment, that feels good.”

Zepper sees himself writing poems until he physically isn’t able to.

“Poetry is wonderful,” Zepper said. “It doesn’t have the market that a novel has, but it is still satisfying. It’s satisfying to me anyways.”

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