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Free Boat

by John Reed

Collected Lies and Love Poems, selects from a sequence of sonnets written from 2008-2015. Reed, the author of five previous books (three novels and two “stunts”) lends his voice and eclectic abilities to this singular work, which, in addition to being a book of sonnets, is part love letter, part literary ode, and part delusion.

Evolving the classical sonnet, a form which still captures our spirits, Reed summons our contemporary yearning: sugar sweet to splash of acid. “Come to me,” writes Reed in sonnet #6, “like tomorrow to a child.” Sonnet #41, in contrast, offers the lyrical confession, “All I want to do is stab people.” With his plaintive lines, Reed gives expression to the inner ghost of the Twenty-First Century; sonnet #65, a valentine, wonders “Momma, are there other wooden children?”

Free Boat spans 54+ sonnets, and that’s a lot of sonnets, but Reed’s stylistic ease guides his audience through an experience more akin to reading a photo essay. Indeed, of the 23 images in Free Boat, 9 are photographs by the author. Rhapsody, serenade, picaresque, Free Boat would be as comfortably tabled with Nadja by André Breton, as it would be with The Dream Songs by John Berryman, Delta of Venus by Anais Nin, or Under the Net by Iris Murdoch.



John Reed exploded my concept of a sonnet.
– Erika Anderson, Electric Literature

This may be what it takes to get people to read poetry.
Vice Magazine

Reed is a heartthrob of a writer.
– Molly Peacock

A wicked illusionist.
– Graham Reed, Los Angeles Journal

A swift and satisfying read, viciously funny.
– William Georgiades, New York Post

We haven’t experienced this much haughtiness since college!
Timeout New York

A proven Thomas Edison … sophisticated fun.
– Allan Jalon, Huffington Post

A dizzying feat of writing and… constant trouble.
–Lynne Tillman

Reed has brought music’s remix culture to literature with stunning results.
– David Gutowski, largeheartedboy

John Reed excels in the realm of the strange.
San Francisco Examiner


Check out Bomb Magazine’s Review and Interview

WNYU Radio has a fantastic new interview with John Reed via Soundcloud