Zapruder’s poems employ nuanced, conversational syntax to engage themes of grief, perception, and logic. As Dana Jennings noted in the New York Times, Zapruder has a “razor eye for the remnants and revenants of modern culture.” Discussing his own development as a writer in the Los Angeles Times, Zapruder addressed the role of rhyme in his work: “[T]he rhyme is what I would call ‘conceptual,’ that is, not made of sounds, but of ideas that accomplish what the sounds do in formal poetry: to connect elements that one wouldn't have expected, and to make the reader or listener, even if just for a moment, feel the complexity and disorder of life, and at the same time what Wallace Stevens called the ‘obscurity of an order, a whole.’”
Zapruder is the author of several collections of poetry, including Sun Bear (2014), Come On All You Ghosts (2010), The Pajamaist (2006), and American Linden (2002). He collaborated with painter Chris Uphues on For You in Full Bloom (2009) and cotranslated, with historian Radu Ioanid, Romanian poet Eugen Jebeleanu’s last collection, Secret Weapon: Selected Late Poems (2008).
With Brian Henry, Zapruder cofounded Verse Press, which later became Wave Books. As an editor for Wave Books, Zapruder coedited, with Joshua Beckman, the political poetry anthology State of the Union: 50 Political Poems (2008). His own poems have been included in the anthologies Best American Poetry (2013, 2009), Third Rail: The Poetry of Rock and Roll (2007), and Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century (2006), as well as Poets on Teaching: A Sourcebook (2010). His most recent book is Why Poetry (2017), a book of prose about reading poetry for a general audience.