Discipline: Literature – poetry

Jan Freeman

Discipline: Literature – poetry
Region: Ashfield, MA
MacDowell Fellowships: 2008, 2023

Jan Freeman is a poet and the former director of Paris Press (1995–2018). She is the author of three collections of poems, most recently Blue Structure, nominated for the Kingsley Tufts Award and published by Calypso Editions; Simon Says, nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award in 2000; Hyena, recipient of the Cleveland State Poetry Center poetry prize; and the chapbook Autumn Sequence.

She has received fellowships from Moulin a Nef, MacDowell, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Wurlitzer Foundation, and others. She was a 2020–22 associate at the Five College Women’s Studies Research Center.

Her poems have appeared in many anthologies and journals, including American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, The Women's Review of Books, The Southern Review, Bloom, the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, POETRY Magazine, Salamander, Welcome to the Resistance: Poetry as Protest, and most recently Plume.

Freeman founded Paris Press in 1995 to bring back into print Muriel Rukeyser's groundbreaking prose work The Life of Poetry. During the next 23 years, she published groundbreaking yet long-overlooked literature by women and choreographed educational-outreach programs nationally to educate the public about each Paris Press book and author. Other Paris Press titles include those by Virginia Woolf, Emily Dickinson, Ruth Stone, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Bryher, Zdena Berger, Adrian Oktenberg, Rukeyser, and numerous other authors. Paris Press books received critical acclaim from The New York Times, The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, National Public Radio, The LA Times, The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, and numerous other national and international review venues. Before founding Paris Press, Freeman wrote and edited secondary-school literature textbooks. In April 2018, Paris Press was acquired by Wesleyan University Press, and the Press’s archives and Freeman's archives were acquired by the Amherst College Frost Library.

At MacDowell in 2008, Freeman completed poems for Blue Structure. Several poems from the collection were published in Women's Review of Books, the Southern Review, and Prairie. During her 2023 Fellowship, Freeman completed the first full draft of her collection of poetry, Mobius. She wrote and revised new and earlier drafts of poems in addition to determining a tentative order for her new manuscript. She also drafted an essay about the poet Sharon Olds for an upcoming anthology, and she submitted poems to select poetry journals for publication. Prior to coming to MacDowelll, poems from Mobius were recently published in Barrow Street, The Brooklyn Rail, North American Review, Plume, POETRY, Salamander, and several other publications.



Jan Freeman worked in the Mansfield studio.

The Helen Coolidge Mansfield Studio was donated by graduates of the Mansfield War Service Classes for Reconstruction Aides. Helen Mansfield helped found the New York MacDowell Club. The small, shingled frame structure with stone foundation was originally fronted on the west side by a neat white picket fence and gate, a garden, and a stone pathway…

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