Winner of the Roland Mathias Poetry Award, Wales Books of the Year 2017
Evoking childhood memories and lifelong relationships with humour, poignancy, and preternatural clarity, What Possessed Me also explores the natural world and landscapes in various parts of England, Wales, France, and Greece. There are salutes to writers like Edward Thomas, Dannie Abse and Jack Gilbert. Separate sequences celebrate visits to Llandaff Cathedral, and the revelations of a stay in Athens. This is a book diverse in its moods and subjects but unified by an infectious openness to the moment and to life’s joys and sorrows, and an unfolding sense of accumulating experience and insight. It is illuminated by a recurrent sense of inspiration, of ‘what possessed me.’
“Full of precise and telling detail and powerful and memorable imagery.”
“The clarity of perception that we have come to expect and treasure…”
“What matters to Freeman… is perception itself and the possibility of founding meaning about the world in that perception. But there is also a great sense of fun in the poems. He is good and stimulating company, and more readers should get to know him.”
“The thing that immediately strikes me about John Freeman’s poems is their consistency – of tone, of rhythm, of clarity. There is a sure voice in evidence at all times. What is particularly affecting is the way in which a poem, and I’m conscious of this whole book being, in a sense, really one poem, can be triggered by a small incident or observation. What I find attractive in the writing is the relaxed and friendly way in which the reader is invited into the poet’s world.”
Charles Ashleigh, Penniless Press. Read the full review here.
“What Possessed Me is a visionary collection. There are shadows as well as light but there is an overwhelming sense of transformation and the connection of things in the ‘undeniable/fellowship, whatever it means, of being.’ (‘Morning in the Parc Lefèvre’).”
Mandy Pannett, Sentinel Literary Quarterly. Read the full review in the online version here.