Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mathew Freeman's got something good

Whenever I need a language fix, I read poetry. Right now I’m re-reading Matthew Freeman’s book, The Boulevard of Broken Discourse, one of four he’s written. Freeman graduated from Saint Louis University, where he was twice awarded The Montesi Prize for his poems. He’s currently at UMSL working on an MFA.

I heard him for the first time when he spoke to a group at St. Louis Community College at Wildwood, and knew within minutes that he was an extraordinarily talented poet. It’s not that he knows how to use language, because he does, but it’s like language is the needle he uses to inject us with his vision of a world that is both familiar and strange.

I think we’ve all felt the loneliness of that strange world, but may be afraid of spending too much time there. He bravely examines, deconstructs, and analyzes it without losing its essence. Every poem takes us on his journey and allows us to come full circle, so that by the end we are satisfied with the experience that played out in the poem, while still contemplating the initial question. Amazing.  Here’s a sample from a poem titled Highfalutin Hooker:

You know it’s bad when
A prostitute makes you feel terrible about yourself.
But that’s the way things go at Parkview Place.

When asked by a member of the audience how to get from the intermediate level of writing to the advanced, Freeman said “Despair.” After a big laugh, he explained that there are a lot of talented poets but they don’t have that little extra something. “I think if you get at the root of why you are doing this, and can pick out the most intense moments, that can help your writing.”

i don't worry too much about what a poem means or is supposed to be about, i worry about the intensity of the language and the authority of the writer...we comment about the little things in a work but we have to get to the root: meaning the way a writer looks at the world, the writer's most intense experiences, the 'why' of the writing...the only poems that ought to be written are the ones which MUST be written...we have enough poems unless someone wants to dig deep....PLUS anything is possible in writing if it is done in the right way, you can get away with anything!
He also said the best artists are usually the ones who work the hardest.” You have to lay the groundwork and when inspiration comes, you will know what to do with it. You have to be disciplined. It wasn’t until I got discipline that I got something good.”

He’s definitely got something good, and you can find it on, Coffeetown Press, Left Bank Books and Subterranean Books.

Write soon,