NONFICTION

Sun Bear

Copper Canyon. Apr. 2014. 112p. ISBN 9781556594632. pap. $17. POETRY
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One thing leads to another—sort of—in this latest from Zapruder, William Carlos Williams Award winner for The Pajamaist. These free verse poems are reminiscent of work by e.e. cummings in their general apperance, lack of punctuation, and surreal, mystical themes. Tumbling effortlessly down the page, they start out as interior observations about everyday happenings set in mundane places such as the grocery store or the zoo or a bedroom. In "Aubergine," for example, the narrator lies in bed staring at the ceiling and thinking about the book he read the previous night. The poem describes what the narrator sees and how he responds until the words begin a kind of free association that ends in a dream or dreamlike state. Initially, Zapruder's poems exhibit a logical order but then veer off in new directions that do not obviously connect to the previous thought. Yet—and here's the beauty of Zapruder's work—the poetry makes eminent sense partly because Zapruder writes until his subject develops into a poem, and then he stops. Take one of the best poems here, "What Can Poetry Do," which does not explain what poetry can do. Instead, like all good poetry, it shows how the form does what it does.
VERDICT Though these poems possess little coherence and less logic, that's part of their charm—and in fact their point. A worthy addition to most collections.
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