In 1993 Jim Freeman left his hometown Chicago to live and write in Europe. He found himself in the golden city of Prague in the golden era of post-revolution growth – a strikingly beautiful city with a lively community of writers, musicians and artists. Although not exclusively about Prague, these poems reflect the shift in personal life and cultures, the disconnected relationships on one end and new emerging ones on the other. They explore connections between lovers, friends and family or glance into the lives of complete strangers.
Jim Freeman is not the kind of guy you’d expect to write poetry, and his poems are straightforward, often narrative, nothing to decipher and wonder what he meant. He’s clear on that, but still lets you read between the lines.
This volume is dedicated to his father. Its title poem, ‘The Smell of Tweed and Tobacco’, reaches into the mystery of a father-son relationship, exposing some of the tender points as well as mutual love. We often don’t get to know enough about our parents. Fathers are especially reluctant to tell us their real story or expose their weaknesses. Expressing feelings in the context of poetry provides another way to look at them. It’s an enjoyable read, and if it sparks conversations or helps bridge some gaps, even better.