Plato’s Peach is both a collection of individual poems which can be enjoyed in any order and an unfolding adventure which takes on fuller resonance if read in sequence. These poems combine vivid evocations of time and place with an ongoing meditation about life and death, nature and art, home and abroad, family and friendships. They are by turns – and sometimes all at once – moving, disturbing, consoling, funny, playful and profound. They invite the reader to participate, as one put it, in a joyful celebration of what it is to be sentient.
Awarding the first place to ‘Exhibition’ (included in this book) in the Bridport Poetry Competition, 2018, Daljit Nagra wrote that it was ‘a powerful and subtle meditation on sexual dawning and flirtation between the sexes…the poem increases in complexity as the screw on the syntax is turned…a highly accomplished and beautiful poem.’
Reviewing What Possessed Me, Charles Ashleigh wrote: “What I find attractive in the writing is the relaxed and friendly way in which the reader is invited into the poet’s world.” D. A. Prince wrote: “What impresses in this collection is Freeman’s constant desire to share his eagerness for life, other writers and the delights of places – all the things that ‘possess’ him – with readers. This is not abstruse or cryptically coded poetry but a collection lit with humour and openness.”
Adjudicating the poetry prize in the Wales Book Awards in 2017, Jonathan Edwards said: ‘this is a brilliant, witty, charming, accessible and above all moving collection … in a way that’s so insightful and generous and entertaining and tender that the poems are of the greatest power. Make no mistake, this is also a deeply ambitious book.’
These qualities are as fully present in Freeman’s new book as in his previous one.
“Considered, contemplative, and humane, this is a wonderful, wondrously disarming, collection” – Mab Jones, Buzz Magazine, November 2021. Read the full review
“There is a wealth of enjoyment for the reader to discover in Plato’s Peach– the warmth, compassion and humour of the poems, delightful pen-portraits and anecdotes […] entertaining, varied and as always, perfectly crafted. It is also a book for our times. A book to console and cheer.” – Mandy Pannett, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, December 2021. Read Mandy’s in-depth review here.
“Conversational poetry is a thoughtful and insightful method for exploring and meditating on objects, events and relationships. John Freeman develops this style in impeccable prosody with fresh and interesting topics and engaging situations. He presents a journey of self-discovery that opens up unusual perspectives.” – Carla Scarano, London Grip, January 2022. Read the full review
“Reminiscences, family history and relationships, nature, music, and art are all examined minutely and compassionately. In everyday language, Freeman sets up scene after scene with characters in a series of narratives that open out into wider truths that provoke the reader into deeper thought. With poems that sound like conversation, the poet achieves an easeful philosophical view of his world that is memorable and incisive. […] A rich and varied collection: each poem is a journey of self-discovery, exploring the essence of experience, as if the writer is delving for truths in the act of writing. In a spirit of openness, the smallest moments are celebrated and held up to the light for the poet’s eye to look at closely.” – Rebecca Gethin, Wales Arts Review, January 2022. Read the full review