Amusements & Useful Devices from K. A. Wisniewski
by Jan Freeman
Acclaim for Blue Structure
“In this strangely beautiful and long-awaited collection, Jan Freeman again brings her rich, lyric gift to bear on human connection, ‘the value of proximity.’ Fragmentary, elegiac, and rife with secrets, illuminated with a taut and exquisitely aching intimacy reminiscent of the poems of H.D., Blue Structure inhabits ‘the iambs of longing’ that compel us to love despite loss and instruct us in the beauty of mourning.”
— Michael Waters
“Terrifying in courage and grace, the poems of Jan Freeman’s Blue Structure explore the brutal architecture of love, grief, and survival. Freeman writes ‘Blue is above your head and you cannot touch it/though it is almost always there’ and yet Freeman manages to graze and grasp love’s luminous azure shards. In the strange wounds that great loves know, Freeman opens language to its throat and bones. These poems are horizons, tunnels, gardens, holes, mazes, curtains, stones, fences, mythologies, branches, windows, and hands. These poems, elegiac and muscular, ache and sing. Freeman’s muted voice soars, deft and searing, as it ripples with piercing depth. Here, we discover again what exists, spoken and unspoken, about those who endure the full tilt of life: ‘If loneliness becomes freedom, ring the bells.’”
—Rachel Eliza Griffiths
“‘After great pain, a formal feeling comes’ Dickinson taught us, and I can’t escape those words as I read through Jan Freeman’s poems of remembrance, her elegies–or, wait, not elegies exactly, but musical symphonies of mourning, where silence is the most important instrument. Jan Freeman knows of those of stunned moments, which like ‘freezing persons, recollect the snow – / First – Chill then Stupor – then the letting go –’ And yet, Freeman also knows the mythology of loss, the spell of it, and in her hands we see those ‘fields’ which are ‘great aunts, librarians.’ We see how ‘pills in the house put the house asleep,’ and how even the deer are ‘stealing sleep from the barn.’ It is a book that teaches us how to say goodbye to the walls, to our arms, yes. We learn that ‘hands, like boys, when the sky is blue, disappear,’ yes. And, yet, this a magical book, stands up to silence with ‘voices’ which do not console against the mystery of death, but open it to us. And so the silences are those we once heard. When? Before the language itself, perhaps. Before it invaded our lungs, our mouths. How one person’s throat is shaped by other person’s rages, how each of us stands ‘like a section of a fence, disconnected,’ how we love–yes, love, that most of all–you learn in this book, this strange, wise, marvelous Blue Structure to live with.”
JAN FREEMAN is a poet, photographer, and publisher. She is the author of Simon Says (nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry), Hyena (recipient of a Cleveland State University Poetry Center award), and the chapbook Autumn Sequence. She is the recipient of many fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the MacDowell Colony.
Her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. Freeman is executive director of Paris Press, which she founded in 1995 to bring back into print Muriel Rukeyser’s The Life of Poetry. She lives in western Massachusetts.
For more information, go to janfreeman.net
Speak, Immortal One,
And tell the tale once more in our time.
—Opening lines of The Odyssey, as translated by Stanley Lombardo (2000)
Calypso Editions is a cooperative, artist-run, 501(c)(3) non-profit press dedicated to publishing quality literary books of poetry and fiction with a global perspective. Calypso takes its name from the sea nymph in one of literature’s most timeless texts, Homer’s The Odyssey. Calypso, who kept Odysseus captive on his long journey home, embodied youth and immortality. It is an analogy for the wisdom we find in the company the immortal. At Calypso Editions, we believe that literature is the embodiment of immortality. The enduring nature of great literature is relevant to every generation across every geographical border.
We believe that literature is essential to building an international community of readers and writers and that, in a world of digital saturation, books can serve as physical artifacts of beauty and wonder. We seek out excellence in literature, across the globe and across the centuries, and present lost and undiscovered works to the modern English-speaking world.
Calypso’s mission is to publish books that will endure in both content and form. We are committed to unearthing literary gems from previous generations, translating foreign writers into English with integrity, and providing a space for talented, new voices.
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