Matthew Zellmer

Matthew Zellmer photoHere are the vital stats: I completed a B.A. in English Studies, with a minor in Creative Writing, at Chico State in 2009, and I am currently in my final semester of work towards an M.A. in English, with an emphasis in Creative Writing. As a graduate student, I've taught two sections of Academic Writing and I've interned a section of Beginning Creative Writing. I am a self-published poet, having produced and sold my own chapbooks. I've also been published in Chico State's own literary magazine, Watershed, as well as a few scattered online publications. But, all told, I am not a particularly decorated student. I am, however, deeply committed to my craft.

In the spirit of transparency, my background registers as relatively mundane. Raised in the middle-class suburbs of Sacramento, life could have dealt me any number of perfectly acceptable if altogether unspectacular outcomes. But apparently the marriage of a no-nonsense accountant from Southern California and a spirited banker from Northern California--both raised Roman Catholic--yields a relentlessly individualistic and unabashedly off-kilter poetman. Who knew? 

I certainly didn't, until I arrived at Chico State in the Autumn of 2005. Before long, the whispers I had been massaging into notebooks since my junior year of high school evolved into hyperactive cannon fire. As it turns out, I was born on the wrong side of standing still. I have no patience for writer's block. The poems of that overzealous freshman were something rather short of brilliant, but it was still a very fertile period in my academic career and in my personal life. I can't help recalling those moments fondly. That same year, I also met the woman who would eventually become my wife. She lived two doors down from me in the dormitory housing of north campus' Konkow Hall, and it would not be exaggeration to credit a healthy half of my creative inspiration to the overgrowth in her smile.

After the lovely Mrs. Ashley Zellmer, language is my second greatest obsession. I'm addicted to its liquidity. I'm sentimental for its sounds. My greatest vice as a writer is in constructing elaborate towers of internal rhyme. My favorite past time is in magnifying the strangeness of images as they stack alongside of each other. But, more than anything else, I am a disciple of the spoken word. To this day, my comfort level as a poet exists in the breath and flame of performance, and no poem of mine feels quite right until it is given a physical voice. In fact, I never even consider a poem finished until I've read it out loud, in front of a mirror or to a room full of people. 

Every poem I've ever written is a dedication to shallow graves and minor victories, to climbing out and raising a fist, a la John Bender's freeze-framed final scene in The Breakfast Club. I keep my eyes set on triumph. The contents of my ribcage are tuned to reclamation. Upon graduation, I hope to self-produce another chapbook, as well as my first spoken word album, so that I might have enough merchandise to sell on a spoken word poetry tour up and down the West Coast.

Oh, before I forget: I'd like to teach creative writing someday, too. I also like playing the drums, and I enjoy the occasional cup of tea. And, unashamedly, I'm a big fan of tube socks.