Biography

I'm a former newspaper sub-editor, and now oversee the news and reviews sections of this website. My debut pamphlet collection, 'Trainspotters', was launched in the pub at King's Cross station in 2015, and published by Indigo Dreams. A first full collection, 'Marples Must Go!', was published by Dempsey & Windle in 2021, and is available from them, UK orders only, or from me. A further pamphlet collection, 'The Fall of Singapore', also from D&W, can now be ordered from the publisher's website on the same basis, or from me. (I posted a number of poems from 'Singapore' here shortly after publication, a few days before the Russians attacked Ukraine. They have an awful contemporary significance that I never expected when putting the collection together). I'm the organiser and co-compere with Rodney Wood of Write Out Loud Woking, an open mic poetry night that meets every last Thursday of the month at the Lightbox art gallery in Woking, and on Zoom earlier in the month. https://www.dempseyandwindle.com/gregfreeman.html Online launch of 'The Fall of Singapore' Online launch of Marples Must Go! 'Four Statues' film made by Dominic James https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUz77VlUF48YoxS1jRMkUbA Interview with Radio Woking Sep 2021 https://www.mixcloud.com/radiowoking/fiery-bird-show-with-elaine-mcginty-08-sep-2021/ Interview on Woking writer Mal Foster's blog https://wokingwriters.blogspot.com/search?q=Greg+Freeman Interview with SoundArt Radio, Totnes Apr 2021 (starts 20 minutes in ...) https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-9psb9-1013857?fbclid=IwAR0GIf7vA6gBajsqSjI1uy6PT5WqeXWzbsavlpNXs3ZHbkF1SiinZy4OwWQ https://thewombwellrainbow.com/2019/10/10/wombwell-rainbow-interviews-greg-freeman/ https://heathermoulsonpoet.com/2020/08/10/interview-4/ http://sabotagereviews.com/2017/04/21/saboteur-awards-2017-spotlight-on-the-best-reviewer-shortlist/ http://footballpoets.org/members/gregoryfreeman/ http://sabotagereviews.com/2015/03/17/trainspotters-by-greg-freeman/ https://heathermoulsonpoet.com/2020/08/10/interview-4/ 'Trainspotters' featured on local Pyrford TV Arts programme Poem on first world war website http://www.1418now.org.uk/letter/greg-freeman/ http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2012/may/04/chuck-berry-my-ding-a-ling http://www.theguardian.com/profile/greg-freeman https://twitter.com/gregfreempoet

Samples

LEARNING BY HEART It was that time of year; there would be daffodils at home, beside hedges, glowing in the rain. Labouring in the cutting, he saw them dancing. A poem they had been schooled to learn by heart. An “inward eye” … that was the trick. A railway journey back to Raynes Park, shut out the darkness, the despair of Hellfire Pass. Once, in Thai darkness, in weather that would have drowned daffodils, they camped in a padi field, beside the railway. Sodden voices in harmony, through the rain. Those Liverpool-Irish boys lifted his heart, helped him escape to Streatham rink, dancing, polished ice, swish and hiss. He guided her dancing, escorted the girl from the office through the darkness. She allowed him to caress her, feel her heart beating. He found himself thinking of daffodils. Taffy, why was he running? Slid in the rain, fell onto slashed bamboo, ruptured spleen. The railway snatched another life; impossible, military, slave, railway. After each downpour, mosquitoes dancing. Best pal married on leave, perished in the rain; one week joking, next week dead. This darkness in which no one matters. Bloody daffodils? Look out for number one, suh! Harden heart. Speedo, bashings, indifference at the heart of everything. Picks, shovels, railway driving onwards. He bought his mother daffodils, heard her laugh out loud, saw her dancing to the radio, ‘You Are My Sunshine’ in the darkness, lullabies drowned by the thunder of the rain hitting the atap huts, relentless rain seeping into bones as they lay there, hearts groaning, a life for every sleeper. Ravenous darkness. He’d whiled away time in a faraway railway ticket office; now they were dancing to another tune. Did Tokyo have daffodils, nourished by Japanese rain? A job on the railways. Don’t dare lose heart. See those comrades dancing in the darkness; a crazy gang of golden daffodils. THE BUTTERFLIES OF YORKSHIRE Colonised, old railway tracks and pits. Spread of creeping thistle and bracken. Limestone grasslands, brimstone broods; fritillaries, clouded yellows. Migrations on the Spurn peninsula. Spoil heaps, soot pollution, westward movement towards Pennines. Painted ladies that travel by night, overwintering wanderers; honeydew and damp meadows. Conservation, hibernation, extinctions. Late sightings in gardens, allotments, cemeteries, headlands, clearings. Malham Tarn, Knaresborough, Robin Hood’s Bay, Orgreave. The damage to populations wreaked by faraway eruptions. (Found poem from words in The Butterflies of Yorkshire, ed: Howard M Frost, Butterfly Conservation Yorkshire, 2005) MIDNIGHT TRAIN FROM BULAWAYO Each night the darkness arrived like a switch being flicked. And it grew cold. The dancing girls would appear and disappear; but whenever you thought they were about to conclude, the marimba band would start up again. Odd-job man, housekeeper, and two children lived at the end of the aid worker’s garden. The boy kicked a ball for hours with our lad in the yard. Dreamed of escape to play football in England. Let his feet do the earning. Bungee jumpers leaping from the bridge, deserted tourist lodges, hippos in the lake at sunset. War veterans entered government offices, to draw attention to the state of their pensions. ‘This is very odd,’ a local told us, in 1997. ‘Zimbabwe is a peaceful place.” The midnight train from Bulawayo: half-waking in the early hours somewhere in Africa, looking out of the window, glimpsing strangers leaving along dusty, well-trodden paths, bearing goods, disappearing into the dark. These three poems all appear in my pamphlet Trainspotters published by Indigo Dreams http://www.indigodreams.co.uk/greg-freeman/4587958507

All poems are copyright of the originating author. Permission must be obtained before using or performing others' poems.

Do you want to be featured here? Submit your profile.

Comments

Profile image

Greg Freeman

Mon 1st Aug 2022 17:18

That was fantastic, Steve! Can't believe I'd never seen that one before. PS Looking forward to reading one of your Ukraine poems at the launch later this month. A great privilege.

Profile image

John Botterill

Wed 2nd Mar 2022 11:42

Re: Merely a Player
Thanks so much for your comments, Greg and for providing the historical backdrop of which I was unaware. It makes sense of the journeying aspects. Much appreciated!

Profile image

Tom

Wed 2nd Mar 2022 09:31

Hi Greg, thanks again for your recent comments. Much appreciated you stopping by to read. And thanks for the invite to Write Out Loud Woking's Zoom event. I'm traveling next week Wednesday but will drop you a line in due course. I'm mostly keen to get to a live event too and see there is now one in Worcester, so I may even pop along to that next time I'm in that neck of the woods. 😃 Thanks again, Tom.

Profile image

John Coopey

Tue 8th Feb 2022 16:32

Thanks, Greg. Yes, I had forgotten the Mid-Hants Line stuff. Thanks for this; some nice stories there.
John

Profile image

David Cooke

Wed 29th Dec 2021 19:05


Thanks Greg for you kind words. I was a bit worried about the poem because it is, I suppose, a 'warts and all' description. However, Martin was a lovely man. He was happy jogging along the way he was and although he didn't look after himself he never did a bad thing to anyone else. It's been a bloody awful two years for everyone and the loss of my mother at the start of lockdown and now my brother certainly isn't making it any better. I hope you and yours had some kind of Christmas.

Profile image

Laura Taylor

Thu 12th Aug 2021 09:24

Hi Greg

Sorry, only just seen your comment re Orison.

Yeh, I did wonder why you hadn't mentioned it - I had the opening and closing poems very much set in my mind for a long time, precisely because they bookend so very well. I had a real little epiphany as I played with that Newton's cradle, not long after my friend's death.

Oh give over, it's not too clever for you - it's easy, really ?

And thank you.

Profile image

Stephen Gospage

Sun 23rd May 2021 21:49

Hi Greg

I didn't want to air the Brexit debate on the poetry blog, but I do agree that Brexit has lost the UK some friends in Europe. The recent treatment of some EU nationals at the UK border (detention centres etc) has been shameful and things like this, almost imperceptibly, have an impact.

Profile image

Erika Montoya

Tue 9th Mar 2021 15:48

Thanks for your comments in my poems, Your words inviting to write, thanks for that.

Profile image

Stephen Atkinson

Mon 28th Sep 2020 22:57

Thank you Greg for your comment on my bio poem Aye, Wingate. And yes, 'Johnnie's cafe' , which had been a fixture in the village since the early 50's ( sadly closed around 10 yr ago) still had all the original 50's decor: wooden seats, counter, fixtures etc. So Beamish museum bought it & are rebuilding it in the new 1950's village. But, sadly, the way things are going they might not have the money to complete it. And, as you say, if you visit these days it's more like a ghost town ?

Profile image

Various

Mon 28th Sep 2020 19:13

Hi Greg thank you so much for your comments. Things come to mind, I do suffer still, always will apparently.
One thing I have held onto is my hatred of the BBC. They reported and told the Argentinians we were getting ready to assualt Goose Green, so The Argie reinforced Goose Green With 1000 more men, our lads were outnumbered 3 to 1.
Then many of their bombs were not exploding they hit my ship and the bombs didn't explode, they had the detonators set wrong... the fucking BBC reported this! Consequently our ships started blowing up what seemed everywhere. Bastards.
I know a lot of lads who if the BBC embedded someone with them they'd find themselves with a bullet in the back during the next action.
There was a sadness... we were fighting kids with three months training who'd been given a gun, canon fodder for our well trained professionals. We all felt an admiration for their airforce...so brave with low survival chances. They didn't have the fuel to "dog fight" or make much manoeuvring and only had five minutes over target or they would splash down in the Atlantic getting home. But they still came, their limitation of speed made our Harriers look far better than they were. I got that from a couple of Harrier pilots I was drinking with.

Profile image

Dominic James

Thu 3rd Sep 2020 08:18

Hi Greg
photo at Soller, great little railway from the capital en route to Deya, Majorca. You'd love it, Ray too!

Profile image

David Cooke

Sat 30th May 2020 11:03

Hi Greg Thanks for the encouragement. Just hope a few people pick up on them!

Profile image

David Cooke

Sat 16th May 2020 14:55

Yes, Greg, that was the one that got me started again after all that time. I had eight amazingly prolific years in which I must have written getting on for 300 poems until three years ago I stopped again. It is all a bit of a mystery to me. It seems to me that the real poems come unbidden and I don't need to chasing after the ones that don't need to be written.

Profile image

Greg Freeman

Sat 25th Apr 2020 09:37

You're very welcome, Maria. Hope you stay, and add more poems to this site.

Profile image

Maria

Fri 24th Apr 2020 20:33

Thank you for your lovely comment on my poem and your welcome- It was a while back, but I have only just seen it ?
Maria

Philipos

Thu 16th Apr 2020 16:38

Greg, PIPS - glad you liked and what a plucky chap for sure. P. ?

Profile image

Don Matthews

Wed 15th Apr 2020 23:48

Glad you stopped to read Scroll Greg and got deep meaning from it.

?

Philipos

Wed 8th Apr 2020 17:53

Greg, Creaking Gate, yes don't we all hope it isn't that ongoing. But then these events have been around for rather a long time - didn't I read somewhere about the 'seven plagues of …. in one of the ancient texts? Heaven forbid. P

Profile image

Greg Freeman

Wed 18th Mar 2020 00:04

You're absolutely right, Phil. Sorry the word hadn't reached you. We cancelled March's poetry night at the Lightbox last week. And the Lightbox is closing its doors tomorrow for the foreseeable.

Philipos

Tue 17th Mar 2020 22:11

Greg, Leave to Speak - appreciate the comments - thanks. BTW I take it the Lightbox won't be open for business as usual this time round. Am I right?

Profile image

Greg Freeman

Fri 30th Aug 2019 19:42

Thanks for that Lightbox message, Phil. Yes, little Kayla was marvellous. I have two lovely pictures of her which I have put on our Facebook site - maybe I should post them here, too. Her dad said it would be all right. There were 21 floor readers, plus Pete the featured poet and Rodney the compere. And thanks for your comment on my Three Kings poem. That was a pub where myself and fellow former newspaper colleagues met once a month from March 2013 until earlier this year. It changed hands, lost its rhinoceros, and we have moved to a pub a few staggers away, across the road. It's not the same - our pints often slide off the table and crash on the floor. Although maybe the subject of the poem has something to do with that ... that has never occurred to me before ...

Philipos

Thu 29th Aug 2019 22:03

Greg - I really enjoyed the Light House event, such a pleasant atmosphere - could you please let me have an idea of the numbers in attendance - I usually like to keep a note of these in my project book. Thought the African kid and family was simply fab. Blessings. P. ?

Philipos

Wed 28th Aug 2019 19:10

Hello Greg and thanks for the message. Am not sure if you know but I am on a determined campaign to have some of this junk mail (as delivered by our posties) stopped. I have 2 short eco poems (both seen by HRH Charles) to recite and will carry a stock of my Opt out forms for anyone wishing to stop receiving all this wasteful garbage through the door. If I could present early-ish - it would enable me a chance to scarper after the break, as I don't drive any more. Blessings. P.

Profile image

Laura Taylor

Tue 23rd Apr 2019 13:48

Thanks for your note on The Ties That Bind, Greg. Wrote itself really quickly, funnily enough ?

Deffo going in the next collection! And in the set, soon as I get it learned!

Profile image

jennifer Malden

Thu 19th Jul 2018 22:03

Hello Greg- thanks for the comment about Meditterranean August - have only just realized that incredibly it was POW
Jennifer

Profile image

George Harris

Thu 5th Oct 2017 02:06

Hi Greg,

Thanks for taking some great photographs of us all from William Cornelius Harris Publishing Poets on Saturday at the Free Verse Poetry Book Fair. Would it be ok to use one of them for some publicity and profile image? I will give you credit.

All the best

George

Frances Macaulay Forde

Sat 26th Aug 2017 12:20

Thanks for posting 'Midnight Train to Bulawayo' - I enjoyed it! Were you there in 1997? How long did you stay?
As you know, I grew up in NR/Zambia from 1955 - 75. Last time I was there was in 1971 - a weekend trip to Salisbury for shopping and a new hairdo from Kitwe, on the Copperbelt in Zambia. I spent between 68 - 74 travelling and working between UK and Zambia. Back to Africa every time I got too homesick and saved up for the next trip to UK.
My little brother went to St George's in Salisbury so we'd go down to take him out for a Sunday lunch at Meikles every so often but I only went to Bulawayo twice on the way to SA.
I have added another African poem from my 1968 notebook to my profile... yes, I still have it. Ha-Ha!

Profile image

Nigel Astell

Sat 6th May 2017 12:35

Write Out Loud without you Greg not even worth thinking about you are one of the main anchors and those two were just a mere scratch on this huge huge network!

Profile image

Greg Freeman

Sat 6th May 2017 08:34

Thanks for tapping me on the shoulder about that, Nigel. It's the second time in a week I've made a mistake like that. Expecting my redundancy notice from Write Out Loud any day now ...

View all comments

If you wish to post a comment you must login.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more Hide this message