Freedom is a word so big, or so close to us, that perhaps we don’t even see it. Certainly the poems that arrived in response to our call for poems on the theme of ‘Freedom’ were so various that often we couldn’t decide if a poem was supposed to address the theme at all. But the best of them enacted, across the gamut of political, personal, geographical and cultural life, the human freedom of the careful and electric word.
The prose pieces consider freedom from a range of viewpoints. Sean O’Brien’s piece, for Magma’s National Conversation project, reminds us that freedom entails responsibility. This year’s Forward Prize winner Kei Miller considers freedom and travel. Gwen Adshead discusses how Larkin was able to express the unsayable. Tishani Doshi, in dialogue with Elizabeth Bishop, has an urge “to engrave the words on cages”. And Matthew Sweeney remembers the great constraining freedom of collaborating with the late John Hartley Williams. We are also pleased to offer work by this year’s Eric Gregory Award winners and a fine batch of poems by Jos Smith for our regular ‘selected’ feature.
Rob A. Mackenzie & Tony Williams
Freedom will break out in London and Newcastle, with a double launch.
Kei Miller, fresh from winning the Forward Prize for Poetry, will be reading at the London launch on Friday 28 November at 7pm at the London Review Bookshop, 14 Bury Place, London WC1A 2JL. Admission is free but booking is essential.
Next month Sean O’Brien will be the guest reader at the Newcastle launch on Thursday 11 December at 7pm at the Lit & Phil, 23 Westgate Rd, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1SE. You can book your tickets here.
Admission to both launches is free and will each feature a generous batch of contributors to the issue.