John Freeman celebrates his new collection of poetry, The Park, published by Copper Canyon Press. RSVP required.
In The Park, his second book of poetry, John Freeman uses a park as a petri dish, turning a deep gaze on all that pass through it. In language both precise and restrained, Freeman explores the inherent contradictions that arise from a place whose purpose is derived purely from what we bring to it—a park is both natural and constructed, exclusionary and open, unfeeling and burdened with sentimentality. Pulling from both history and his own meditations in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, the seasons pass through famous parks, personal parks, parks beneath parks, and other spaces with fabricated outer limits. Throughout, Freeman wonders at how a park, being both curated and public, can be a nexus for a manifestation of great wealth inequality. How have we created these false boundaries for ourselves—with regard to physical space, but also in our minds and societies, in our personal relationships? Freeman plucks out difference in small daily dramas of people and animals only to dissolve it. Interspersed with meditations on love, beauty, and connection, The Park is a pacific and unflinching mirror cast upon a space defined by its transience.
John Freeman is the editor of Freeman's, a literary biannual of new writing, and executive editor of Literary Hub. His books include How to Read a Novelist and Dictionary of the Undoing (forthcoming), as well as a trilogy of anthologies about inequality, including Tales of Two Americas: Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation, and Tales of Two Planets (forthcoming), which features storytellers from around the globe on the climate crisis. Maps, his debut collection of poems, was published in 2017. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages and has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The New York Times. He is the former editor of Granta and is a Writer in Residence at New York University.
D. A. Powell is the author of five collections of poetry, including Chronic, winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and Repast: Tea, Lunch, and Cocktails. Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys received the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry. He lives in San Francisco.