With a career in music and performative poetry, it’s hardly surprising that we are only just seeing published work from Steven Camden, more commonly known as Polarbear. However, once you read this first collection from Steven you will immediately wonder why. Transformative, considered poetry that should be read in schools across the country, Polarbear’s work is masterful, rhyming, and yet holds a narrative. The Lost Chronicle: 2004–2009 is a must-have poetry collection and will inspire you to see Steven perform live.
Polarbear is one of the most influential poets of his generation, and yet we rarely see his name written down. The collection here is work that made his name, though I’ve sadly never seen them performed. With hundreds of thousands of views online, Polarbear’s work has found a place in the hearts and minds of audiences. It feels intimate to sit with The Lost Chronicle, which spans Polarbear’s early career and sees him marrying rap lyrics with visceral narratives.
From reading this collection it’s clear that Camden observes his surroundings and makes sense of the world around him. From ‘Jessica’ to ‘Sagat’, the poems provide vivid documentation of the lives connected to his, and the most intimate of the written words are taken from a discussion between him and poet and editor Kayo Chingonyi. Even this interview has an aural rhythm to it, if read out loud. A vital collection of poetry, The Lost Chronicle is a finely tuned collection, juxtaposing sound and story, and combining a documentary style of narrative with his rhyme, rhythm and rap.
The Lost Chronicle: 2004–2009 is out 10th November, published by Bloomsbury
Picture credit: Naomi Woddis