The divine magnet is in you, and my magnet responds. Which is the biggest? A foolish question - they are One. - Herman Melville in a letter to Nathaniel Hawthorne, Pittsfield, November, 1851

Thursday, October 8, 2009

"The Faculties of Yes": On the Poems of Lewis Freedman, by Jessica Fjeld

Lewis Freedman’s poems are necessary toys, jungle gyms of the mind, small machines all the parts of which are words. They are jointed objects, which ask their readers to animate them. They are recombinant, a resistance to ordinary, linear thought.

They do the work that poems have to do, and they do it admirably well. As creatures of language, we are creatures of habit. Poems, good poems, place themselves in the ruts of the roads we travel and overturn the horse-carts of our minds. Until we come across a poem, we go about making grocery lists and talking to bus drivers and reading the news. What we don’t know, what we can’t name, where we haven’t been—the uncertainty raises our hackles. Few among us approach it with grace.

And that’s where Lewis Freedman comes in. When confronting the undefined, grace, kind and patient and brilliant, is his specialty. His poems are a challenge, yes. They are documentation of a brain on the move, working fast through open fields of sense, self, intellectual history. But Lewis’s poems do what they do so gently, with such tenderness and faith in language. They encourage—even quietly require—active reading, a three-dimensional movement of the reader’s mind, made in tandem with the poet. Other people’s poems maybe take you on a trip through some caves in a miniature train. Those poems move as much as a train can, squeaking around the corners, all hitched up on itself. When you’re in the care of Lewis’s poems, there’s no seat to sit in. You are on your own reconnaissance. Lewis writes about “the faculties of yes”: you possess them. You have a chance to recover that absorption in play that you had as a child. You can stake your claim on a new homestead of language. You can take these poems apart and find your every impulse validated. You can put yourself back together in a new way.

Hearing Lewis Freedman read is a treat: congratulations, you.

1 comment:

  1. Every poem demostrates the love, compassion and good will human being. In fact i read a wonderful poem few time ago. I really loved. That´s why i think this blog is very interesting, most of all for the people who enjoy the poems. I saw
    costa rica investment opportunities recently, it was a great site and i want to share it for you.