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Freeman’s "Fight Songs" gives poetic voice to the unseen among us

Eyewear Publishing, 2017

Credit Shadia Amen
Poet Cal Freeman

Cal Freeman’s newest collection of poems, Fight Songs, has nothing to do with ‘The Victors’ or ‘Victory for MSU.’ Instead, his poems are about unsung, little-noticed lives, about underdogs, about animals, plants, and nature.

Freeman grew up in Detroit. He won the Devine Poetry Fellowship and has been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes in both creative nonfiction and poetry. He joined Stateside to talk about his new collection of poems.

Listen to the full conversation above, or read a poem from Fight Songs below.

Toledo A Jeep Wrangler looms above the pitted lot of the closed-down Chrysler plant. Toledo’s emptiness is the one misnomer that can bring the game birds back to patchwork green spaces sutured over post-industrial scars. Toledo has towering blue spans that cross the river and a searing wind through trees where the Maumee Bay writhes in its torrent. Toledo has gulls that cry like puppies over produce tumbling from the trucks at weekend market. Toledo has a listless energy that staggers through birdsong and hypodermic needles in botanical gardens; jackals, bamboo shoots in the lairs of pandas at the zoo. Storm doors with rusted handles stuffed with health insurance offers, handbills for pizza, epiphanic notes blown out beneath a greening sky.

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