Sun Bear
"Zapruder's poems don't merely attempt beauty; they attain it."—The Boston Review"Matthew Zapruder has a razor eye for the remnants and revenants of modern culture."—The New York Times"With dynamic, logically complex sentences, Zapruder posits a world that is both extraordinary and refreshingly ordinary."—BOMBMatthew Zapruder's poems begin in the faint inkling, in the bloom of thought, and then unfold into wide-reaching meditations on what it means to live in the contemporary moment, among plastic, statistics, and diet soda. Written in a direct, conversational style, the poems in Sun Bear display full-force why Zapruder is one of the most popular poets in America.From "I Drink Bronze Light":Great American summer lakesright now I am flying above youthrough a rare cloudless transparent skyback to the city where it is alwayscold even in summerthe round hole I press my face againstshows only a blue expansewith white sails belowspeckled exactly the waythe Aegean would have beenthree thousand years agoif one could have seen it from abovemaybe riding in the dark clawof a god who didn't care. . . .Matthew Zapruder is a poet, translator, and editor at Wave Books. He is the author of three collections of poetry, and his book The Pajamaist won the William Carlos Williams Award. His poems, essays, and translations have appeared in many publications, including BOMB, Harvard Review, Paris Review, the New Yorker, McSweeney's, and the Believer. He lives in San Francisco, California.

Sun Bear Details

TitleSun Bear
Author
ReleaseMar 25th, 2014
PublisherCopper Canyon Press
ISBN-139781556594632
Rating
GenrePoetry

Sun Bear Review

  • Jeff
    January 1, 1970
    3.5/5Funny and original, but too often spent searching for moments between the moments.
  • Chris Roberts
    January 1, 1970
    Poetry should not be lightly tended to...Put the all of man or woman into it...A pink, cotton candy sky belongs in Miami real time...The word "expanse" needs excising from poems and done methodically...The writer and reader cannot encompass it via flimsy words...The great above is its own ruins, secrets masked, forever untold...Winged creatures travel through the air swells, venerating velvet clouds...Enough, I grow weary this review, but truly know this:The only person in history, who came clos Poetry should not be lightly tended to...Put the all of man or woman into it...A pink, cotton candy sky belongs in Miami real time...The word "expanse" needs excising from poems and done methodically...The writer and reader cannot encompass it via flimsy words...The great above is its own ruins, secrets masked, forever untold...Winged creatures travel through the air swells, venerating velvet clouds...Enough, I grow weary this review, but truly know this:The only person in history, who came close to deciphering the sky...Was Tennessee Williams, "Blue is the color of distance."Chris Roberts, American God
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  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    Time is captured like a tangible object in Zapruder's poems
  • Jesse
    January 1, 1970
    The metaphor that I keep coming back to to describe this book is nerdily musical: it's a bone-dry snare drum, the sound of the 2 and 4 on the System of a Down song "Toxicity." It's an exercise in trimming away everything unneeded, with its narrow columns and general lack of punctuation (Zapruder still loves to extend his images to breaking points, forcing the reader to hold their breaths & wait for the resolution until it's almost unbearable). It's a book that walks through alleyways and mut The metaphor that I keep coming back to to describe this book is nerdily musical: it's a bone-dry snare drum, the sound of the 2 and 4 on the System of a Down song "Toxicity." It's an exercise in trimming away everything unneeded, with its narrow columns and general lack of punctuation (Zapruder still loves to extend his images to breaking points, forcing the reader to hold their breaths & wait for the resolution until it's almost unbearable). It's a book that walks through alleyways and mutters darkly to itself under its breath, a book that is obsessed with the encroachment of technology and the inevitability of physical oblivion:"We have broken the future of thunder.Is it interesting or sad? There is no difference.All children's books are now about death"(from "How Do You Like the Underworld")I loved Zapruder's previous collection, Come on All You Ghosts, because of the way it used humor and mundane thoughts as a carving knife, creating deeper hollows that could them be filled with deeper reservoirs of loss and disillusionment. This collection seems to lack that kind of groundwork; although I personally enjoy the poems about California (it's definitely a book that's more concerned with place, in general, than any of Zapruder's earlier work), it too often seems to create a self-suffocating miasma of doom and gloom, without a lot of contrast or relief to balance it out. Perhaps this is just a book that accurately reflects the time in which it is written, in which we can no longer rely on the push-and-pull normalcy of politics or culture. All the same, I feel like we could still use a boost.I love Zapruder's poetic voice - he's the smarter, riskier Billy Collins - and I think he plays the role of poetic ambassador to the wider, largely uncaring word (via the New York Times and such) with a befitting level of grace and groundedness. I just didn't feel that this collection pushed his own abilities much further, nor gave readers many torches to carry out into the darkness. Maybe that's expecting too much, or giving Zapruder a role that he wouldn't ever want, but it's something that man of us still feel a need for.
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  • Tristan Mcerlean
    January 1, 1970
    While on the surface, Matthew Zapruder's extremely simplistic style might come across as childish. But when you allow the content of his poetry wash over you, I, as a reader, found myself in awe of Zapruder's messages and his ability to convey a message with so little is the real art of Sun Bear. After reading Zapruder's collection multiple times, I found the grand takeaway that even in the most unlikely places, in the smallest moments of our day, we can discover some greater truth above ourselv While on the surface, Matthew Zapruder's extremely simplistic style might come across as childish. But when you allow the content of his poetry wash over you, I, as a reader, found myself in awe of Zapruder's messages and his ability to convey a message with so little is the real art of Sun Bear. After reading Zapruder's collection multiple times, I found the grand takeaway that even in the most unlikely places, in the smallest moments of our day, we can discover some greater truth above ourselves or the world around us. Life is a constant journey of self-discovery, as brilliantly explored in the titular poem. Sun Bear, the poem, follows Zapruder as he passes the enclosed sun bear at the Oakland Zoo. In the poem, Zapruder fascinatingly moves from discussing the bear in its enclosure to global warming to the warmth of animal love. How Zapruder moves so fluidly between each topic is beyond me. It is a masterwork in the stream of consciousness style. " In order to love anything but an animal you cannot allow yourself to believe in those thingsthat are if we don't stop themgoing to destroy us "While Sun Bear may flow as a downstream river, other poems seem to wander. Sometimes his over-simplicity, while it creates a signature style, can bleed into a pseudo-intellectualist path or a bland poem without any real meaning. A once-over on this collection in many ways is criminal. Do not let any piece of Matthew Zapruder’s work wash over you or let yourself be mistaken by its simplistic storyline or word choice. It really is a beautiful piece to behold, despite a misstep in some poems.
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  • Lake
    January 1, 1970
    I liked Zapruder's work in "Come on All You Ghosts," but this one didn't connect with me. It's been a couple of years since I read "Ghosts," and my tastes must have changed radically.There are good lines in this book. There's obvious effort, mediation, and thought. However, Zapruder's lack of punctuation and style of spacing made some of the poems difficult to read. And I did feel that there were a lack of literary devices -- sensory imagery, mostly. I'm not saying a poem has to be written the w I liked Zapruder's work in "Come on All You Ghosts," but this one didn't connect with me. It's been a couple of years since I read "Ghosts," and my tastes must have changed radically.There are good lines in this book. There's obvious effort, mediation, and thought. However, Zapruder's lack of punctuation and style of spacing made some of the poems difficult to read. And I did feel that there were a lack of literary devices -- sensory imagery, mostly. I'm not saying a poem has to be written the way I like for it to be Good. I just didn't like "Sun Bear."I would still recommend "Come on All You Ghosts" to anyone who wants to explore Zapruder's writing.
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  • Caroline
    January 1, 1970
    I made it about halfway...these poems are bizarre. As in...“Beautiful pre-middle aged people, Right now in the uncomfortable moments Interposed between us and lunch Together we sleepwalkIn the best interest of claws. We have broken the future of thunder. Is it interesting or sad? There is no difference. All children’s books are now about death.”WTF?
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  • Nick Seeger
    January 1, 1970
    I picked up this collection as an introduction to Zapruder's work, as I am considering reading his treatise on the form: Why Poetry. Although there were flashes of inspiration along the way, I wasn't moved by the writing. That being said, I am still eager to hear his take on contemporary poetry.
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  • emma
    January 1, 1970
    couldn't quite get through this, not my thing. too fluid for me to really wrap my head around. the cover is my favorite part.
  • Therese Broderick
    January 1, 1970
    These marvelous poems sway with the sounds and images of an interiority that recalls, for me, the spellbinding voice of W. S. Merwin in his book The Shadow of Sirius (the Dog Star).Arising from California's Oakland region, the trance-inducing language in Sun Bear is bay-dreamy, coastal-close but also ethereal as the Golden Gate Bridge, an eloquent slow-mo surfing upon the human heart & mind, a wafting medley of tones from both the Ongoing Now and the Ancient By-gone.The striking orange-gold These marvelous poems sway with the sounds and images of an interiority that recalls, for me, the spellbinding voice of W. S. Merwin in his book The Shadow of Sirius (the Dog Star).Arising from California's Oakland region, the trance-inducing language in Sun Bear is bay-dreamy, coastal-close but also ethereal as the Golden Gate Bridge, an eloquent slow-mo surfing upon the human heart & mind, a wafting medley of tones from both the Ongoing Now and the Ancient By-gone.The striking orange-gold circle on the book's cover is an emblem distilling the fine silt of the poetry's many delicate and interweaving preoccupations:1)Places of residence or departures (the sun of Oakland & Berkeley, the red disc of Japan)2)Environmental worries (global warming, creature extinction)3)Technology (the ''wondrous and contaminated'' cloud, the hovering all-seeing drones)4)The Animal & Spirit Kingdoms (the Sun Bear, cats, wolves)5)Romantic Love (golden rings, orange tulips)6)High and Low Culture (orange basketball of sports. i.e., Golden State Warriors, golden theater of Vic Chesnutt concerts).Reading these poems, I felt that Matthew Zapruder was allowing me to float along on his own cloud of ''little harmless loneliness'' that is reflecting, fleetingly, the elusive gleaming nuggets of human existence on Earth.
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  • Caitlin
    January 1, 1970
    While I enjoy the intimacy of Zapruder's collection, it was difficult for me to find its rhythm when reading and many of the poems blended together. I especially enjoyed "Poem for England," "Poem for Engagement," and "Poem for California." The closing lines in "Poem for Jack Spicer" stick out to me: "When I died please write he tried / on whatever stone you choose." I'm likewise intrigued by the use/lack of punctuation throughout this collection.
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  • Emily Sorrells
    January 1, 1970
    I can see some people having trouble with the free, stream-of-consciousness writing Zapruder has. I find it beautiful. His poems give me life. This new book is no exception. I will probably read it until the pages fray and fall out.
  • Mark Ballinger
    January 1, 1970
    A few at the end were engaging.
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