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Speakbright Leap Passwood is a major selection of Ulli Freer’s poetry covering more than a decade. The poems have been extracted from eleven major sequences beginning with Rushlight and ending with a sample of recent work from Mobile and Redirect. For Freer the titles of these sequences serve as icons to denote a space that is energised, where storm and transcendence translate into poems. The language reflecting an emotional and political resistance to organised systems of knowledge. The writing is that of an outsider, recording a journey of the mismatches between memory and perception. Words break down in this space to reform outside the centres of control and corporate world surveillance. The poems weave improvisation from fragments of order and personal dilemmas that rush through environments of urban decay and Freer’s exaggerated landscapes. The writing combines tension of lines with built in rhythms to stress a pulsating speed and meanings borne out of velocity. To gain maximum impact Freer advocates that the poems be read aloud, in order to flatten any barriers or obstructions preventing change.
‘The pulse of the lines of Freer’s vital poems propels the reading eye and its phantom voice through these extended sequences. Words form and re-form on the page. Ordinary connections are often suspended. Detached from experience, word clusters become themselves an experience, a utopian glimpse. But they recognise that the forces of the old world are still there and are best contested (in language) by these acts of re-formation.’ —Robert Sheppard
‘I wonder if anyone more than Freer has worked out how to express transcendence through a linguistic medium, to summon up the million fine details of language to form a pattern that tells of a belief about the whole cosmos.’ —Andrew Duncan
‘With the arrival of this green Selected from Salt, Ulli Freer’s poetry emerges from an existence in small-circulation but much talked about pamphlets. The poems consist of short, stubby lines which seem to work best read – or chanted – aloud, where sonic resonance, performance, add a sometimes needed extra dimension. Freer’s work perhaps marks the point where a Sound poet, whose work needs a voice to bring it off the page as a score needs an instrument, meets an Allen Fisher’s Place. This is a kind of sound-pattern poetry that might be associated with other writers loosely centred on London, though here the patterns keep re-patterning, or, to paraphrase Cleanth Brooks’s The Heresy of Paraphrase, it is a “pattern of unresolved stresses.”’ —Edmund Hardy, Terrible Work
‘It's typical of current British publishing that the first major appearance of Ulli Freer's work hasn't been met with more of a fanfare. His Salt book Speakbright Leap Passwood is a major event, a book that excites me more than most things. After years of small productions – small even by the standards of the poetry underground – here is a chance to register the level of his achievements in poetry over the last decade. As all exploratory writing does, it maps a cosmology, but one that understands that it is necessarily poisonous, and that the periodic table of the elements is only the latest in a long series of cosmic diagrams. Here's a poetry of total awareness of reality as it stands now : basements, traffic jams, tree rings, poisons.’ —Sean Bonney, Readings