Paperback/Publication Date: December 2014/Publisher: Antonin Artaud Publications/80 Pages
ISBN 13:978-1-934851-61-6 /USD: $15
Cal Freeman’s debut poetry collection, Brother of Leaving, is a lyrical allegory set in contemporary Detroit. Combining surrealistic sensibilities with Midwestern grit, Freeman’s family drama, involving an academic father and a chronically ill mother, mirrors the slide of this rust belt city into economic recession and historical senescence. The lineated poems draw upon neighborhoods in Detroit where Freeman has lived and taught, while his prose poems employ the language of Euclidian geometry to examine the ways relationships to family and place falter over time. The theme lies somewhere along the dialectical plane of madness and cogency. With language that is as emotionally charged as it is at times cerebral, Freeman delimits the existential field and rejects the tidy categories that contemporary culture asks us to embrace. The book employs a schizoid logic whereby the consciousness of the speaker is inextricable from the topography of place, and disparate mathematical and linguistic ordering devices are clung to as institutions of family and late capitalism fail. The collection reads like a tireless, at times impatient, search for hope in a world that, for the speaker and his tribe, roils in a state of active decoherence.