Dear Everyone, by Matt Shears

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Part lyric, part procedural, Dear Everyone blurs the line between the public and private self while illuminating the porous borders between ourselves and others. Written out of and for an enormity of voices, this collection of poems adopts very “unpoetic” elements— lists, litanies, indexes—in a sustained effort to sensualize and critique our transient natures, our knowledges, our ways of performing power. These pieces work against forms of beauty that anesthetize or privilege the composed self of the lyric speaker—that which can be data- mined, profiled, targeted for advertisement—in order to encounter an unauthorized language framed by clashing experiences, from which the self grows. Playful, meditative, unexpected, & hypnotic, Dear Everyone acknowledges our false intimacies and fears even as it urgently fights to discover new ways for us to connect.

Dear Everyone
by Matt Shears

Pub Date: December 2016
204 Pages

Order Paperback: $18

Order PDF: $9

Order Ebook: $9

A unique voice in San Francisco poetry returns with a raw, powerful new book. The speaker occupies several fields, always ambivalent, restless, shy. Part novel, part Adderall dosage, part ragtime lament of rhythmic surplus and lyric denial, Dear Everyone may be the most prophetic poetry book you ever read, and shall come to pass.”

Kevin Killian

“Exclamation marks! They abound in Matt Shears’ Dear Everyone, whose grammar often employs the command and whose meter is clipped. Why? Because this epoch is no time to mess around with the languid or personal. And yet it’s certainly no time to stop laughing— lines too numerous to quote made me chuckle. My rambling reading was arrested at the book’s fulcrum, though: a memorial page beginning with “Newtown, Connecticut.” Here language tumbles and poetry’s perception-thickening purpose is clear. Crack open this book to any page and there you are, right where you need to be.”

Jill Magi

“Matt Shears invites us, Dear Everyone, to participate in a world where we are, at any moment, a moving pastiche made up of (but not fully determined by) repetitive images of the past, interactions with people and the inanimate world, identities we borrow from and lend to others, all in a constant state of flux, endlessly interruptible and open to interpretation. The voice of these poems avoids rhetorical tracking—we receive whimsical manifestos, questions, warnings, snatches from social media, popular culture, politics—all circulating together so that no one style can orchestrate the others. It is through this rollicking variety that Shears actually achieves unity. We learn that social identity as an external construct breeds exclusivity, which in turn breeds violence and poverty. Shear’s Dear Everyone envisions an end to such systemic damage, envisions being as becoming and unbecoming, always together, always porous enough, inclusive enough, mysterious enough to resist spiritual stagnation and the destruction it causes.”

Heather Winterer




Matt Shears is the author of 10,000 Wallpapers (Brooklyn Arts Press 2011) and Where a road had been (BlazeVox 2010). He was a Schaefer Fellow at the University of Nevada Las-Vegas, and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop. He has taught most recently at California College of the Arts in Oakland and San Francisco, and at the San Francisco Art Institute. He lives in Berkeley, California with his family.


Read an excerpt of Dear Everyone.

Publishers Weekly
“Shears clips and collages the endless scroll of new media into a searching portrait of America’s addled culture.”

Fjords Review
“The collection reads like a deceptive cadence….Reading [Shears’] work is like listening to Bach’s Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor: every ending only leads to a further suspension….The species of Shears poetics is one meant to be dismantled and discerned. If anything, this is a collection about deletions, a Zen-like exercise eliminating ego to reform perception, clarify existence.”

Luna Luna, 5 Books That Should Be on Your Bookshelf
“Shears writes a magnificent book of poetry that overwhelms the reader, while also gripping in the best possible sense. It’s a dialogue between speaker and reader, between the public and private self. The book is one long poem with a collective voice, which is done well with lists, addresses, and an absurdist, dark sense of humor.”

Musician Kyle Bruckman takes Matt Shears’ work and puts it to music.