It’s National Poetry Day in New Zealand on Friday and there are poetry events across the country. Here’s the full calendar of events and a link to the Facebook page.

I will be reading at an event in Lower Hutt on Friday evening. Here’s more:

Poems of Place; Landscape Poetry and Open Mic
We live in a land of hills, river and sea. We experience wild changes in our weather and our remoteness affects who we are as a people in Aotearoa, New Zealand.  Much of our literature and poetry reflects our unique landscape. This National Poetry Day event held in Lower Hutt will feature writers reading their landscape poetry and reflecting on what this means for them. There will be an opportunity during the open mic for people to read their own or their favourite author’s poetry on the subject of nature, landscape and the environment. Everyone is welcome, poets, poetry-lovers and those interested in the local environment. Featuring the poets Anne Powell, Harvey Molloy, Kerry Hines, Keith Westwater, Tim Jones, Adrienne Jansen, Kerry Popplewell, Keith Johnson and Janis Freegard.

Entry Details: Free. Open to all ages. Sign up for the open mic on the night.
Date/Times: 28 August, 7.30 – 9.30pm.
Location: St Marks Complex 58 Woburn Road, Lower Hutt. Opposite the Lower Hutt Library

Further Info: www.facebook.com/events/667972266672138/

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Te Rerenga Wairua / Cape Reinga

A number of people have kindly enquired as to the wellbeing of ‘The Year of Falling’ and ‘The Glass Rooster’, so I thought it might be time for an update. I do feel as though I have released hand-reared orphaned wild things out into the world to seek their fortunes and I’m very much hoping they don’t fall into a ravine or get eaten by bears.

glass rooster cover

So how’s The Glass Rooster?

Thank you for asking. He’s been somewhat elusive lately, but is no doubt striding about happily somewhere looking for hens to impress. There was a sighting on Beattie’s Book blog in June, where Elizabeth Morton gave the book a very nice review which starts:

“Grab your knapsack. Pack for all conditions. Janis Freegard wants to be your travel companion, and she has a cross-country junket in mind. ‘The Glass Rooster’ takes you through forests and oceans, deserts and space, all the while chaperoned by the eponymous bird who ‘was nothing if not well-travelled’. An unlikely tour guide, perhaps, but he will strut and call and pose for photographs like the best of them.”

Novelist and poet Helen Lowe was also kind enough to feature a Glass Rooster poem as one of her Tuesday poems, which you can read here.

If you’re interested in roosters (mostly glass), you might want to have a look at my Glass Rooster Pinterest page,  There is also a Glass Rooster cannery in Ohio which I may have to visit one day.

 

 

Year of falling small

And what about The Year of Falling?

A little busier, actually. The lovely Helen Lowe let my three narrators – Selina, Smith and Quilla – take over her blog for an interview recently.

There have also been some lovely reviews. Emma Bryson on Beattie’s Book Blog, said:

“Quirky, funny and inspiringly touching, Freegard has a knack for writing scenes which are painfully human. I watched as Selina’s life start to drift away from her, and screamed in frustration as she ‘reasoned’ her way into further trouble. And I became a silent observer (albeit slightly tearful) as the stoic Smith dealt with the heart-breaking complexities of losing a friend, raising a child, and caring for a sister.”

Felicity Murray on the Booksellers blog said:

“This is a story of searching for one’s self, trying to identify and then hold onto the important things, and finding a place to call home whether it be a physical place, or simply in your own head and heart. There is hope, forgiveness, joy and love. It is a wonderful story, I very much enjoyed reading it. I really hope this book gets widely read and promoted, because it certainly deserves to.

And Catherine Roberston said in the NZ Listener: “…the pace and assuredness quickly increase, building layers of tension and pleasingly ambiguous characterisations that hold interest to the end.”

I’ve also had some very nice emails, texts, Tweets and Facebook messages from people saying they’re enjoying the novel or were up all night reading it, or they really like one of the characters, which is exactly what any writer loves to hear when wondering whether anyone will ever read the book you spent years fretting over.

 

Where can I buy them?

Indie bookstores like Unity Books (Wellington and Auckland), University bookshops, Page and Blackmore (Nelson), Almo’s Books in Carterton and some Paper Pluses (like the one in Coastlands on the Kapiti Coast). They’re also available directly from AUP and Makaro Press and online retailers like fishpond.

I was chuffed to see both books squeaked into the Indie Top 20 list for 20 June 2015, which means I am on a list with Patricia Grace, Kate Atkinson, Anne Enright, Atul Gawande, Helen MacDonald and other great writers.

Many thanks to everyone who’s bought, read or plans to read the books, who’s requested them from their local library, reviewed them, rated them on Goodreads or told me they enjoyed them. Makes it all worthwhile.

Janis Freegard poster Aug 2015 (2)

Looking forward to reading some Glass Rooster poems and extracts from The Year of Falling in Carterton on Sunday 2nd August 2015. It starts at 3pm at the Carterton Events Centre. I believe there’s also an open mic, so I’ll get to sit back and enjoy other people’s poetry too.

So, yesterday I was interviewed (live – eek!) by the lovely Lynn Freeman on National Radio about The Year of Falling and The Glass Rooster and here is a podcast link in case you’d like to listen to it.

Standing Room only podcast

20150616 075 Janis Freegard Book Launch_L

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Well, the books are out there and have already been spotted in Unity Books (both the Auckland and Wellington branches), as well as the Auckland University bookshop and Rona Gallery in Eastbourne.

It would be lovely to see you at the launch:
The Year of Falling (Mākaro Press) and
The Glass Rooster (AUP)

by Janis Freegard.

5:30- 7 pm, Tuesday 16 June 2015
Meow Cafe
9 Edward Street, Te Aro.
Wellington
Bar tab for first drinks.

Is it just me, or does it feel like open season on NZ bookshops and writing at the moment? There’s an axe hanging over Te Papa Press, no NZ Book Month, no book awards, BNZ pulling out of the Katherine Mansfield Awards and now the demise of the Queen St Whitcoulls. And it’s all coming on the heels of ever-increasing bookshop closures. On Lambton Quay alone, we’ve lost Parsons, Dymocks, Paper Plus, that one at the end near the Beehive… Among Wellington’s second-hand bookshops, Quilter’s is gone and apparently Ferret’s too now. Where will it end? Online shopping is all very well, but there’s nothing quite like browsing in a bookshop: the smell of fresh pages, the feel of a spine… Thank goodness for Unity.

unity

 

Two things!

Thing 1:Poets for Peace

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The… um… white bird of peace…

Poets for Peace is an evening of poetry on Saturday 18th April 2015 where I will be reading with these other lovely people:

* Teresia Teaiwa * Maria MacMillan * Sophia Tara * Ali Jacs * Martin de Jong * Meg Hartfield * Vivienne Plumb * Tim Jones * Madeleine Slavik * and more, with a musical interlude by Mighty Ukes for Peace.

From 7pm to 9.30pm at the St Andrew’s Conference Centre, 30 The Terrace (entry via the pathway on the right hand side if you’re standing on The Terrace facing the church).

Entry by donation, all proceeds to a West Papua peace and justice initiative.

Poets for Peace is part of the ‘Remembering war / ending war: Challenging militarism and building peace’ weekend – an antidote to the militaristic myth making fervour around the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli invasion – details at https://www.facebook.com/events/972037769491199

For more information, please contact Peace Movement Aotearoa, email pma@xtra.co.nz

Thing 2: Projected Fields Community Picnic

On Sunday 19 April from 12-3pm, there will be music, poetry and activities in MacAlister Park (Vogeltown). Jodie Dalgleish and I will be reading a few poems.

Norwegian-born artist Siv B Fjærestad, with Letting Space and in partnership with Wellington City Council, is creating an enormous artwork on the fields of MacAlister and Liardet Street Parks, Berhampore.

Her painting has been inspired by field markings, and the stories and activities of the people who use the parks and their dreams for its future. Over 2014 Fjærestad and volunteers surveyed the local community and park users to inform the painting’s design and how it might be activated.

11am Pre-picnic Tai Chi by Tai Chi Associates on MacAlister Park

11.50 am Join a dog walkers parade to top of park (meet at Berhampore dog zone off Stanley Street) – off lead, on lead, off lead.

12noon  Bring a blanket and food to share. Spoken word and poetry, Acroyoga, Hula Hooping, Zumba, DJ Kedron Parker.

2.15pm    The game of Ki o rahi – guided instruction (on Adelaide Rd side).Have a go at painting the field blindfolded – bring old clothes.History Booth –  Bring along stories of the area and talk to co-author of the forthcoming Berhampore History, Kerryn Pollock. Bring photos to be scanned and added to the archive.Kite making and flying

Rain day: Sunday 3 May

Contribute to discussion about the parks at this Facebook page.

Learn more about the artist’s process at the Projected Fields Blog.

More info here: http://www.lettingspace.org.nz/projected-fields

Bring your friends, neighbours, work mates, cousins, children, parents, dogs; some kai to share and something to sit on.

Oh look! I still have a blog! A sadly neglected blog. :(

These past few weeks, when I am not at my day job, I have been running very fast in my little hamster wheel getting two books ready for publication. This is the poetry collection with a great cover by Keely O’Shannessy:

Freegard_the-glass-rooster

‘The Glass Rooster’ is coming out in May, published by Auckland University Press. It’s arranged in eight sections (or ‘echo-systems’) which are a mix of natural ecosystems (deserts , the alpine zone) and other types of places (like cities and outer space). Each section is introduced by a triolet (a French poetic form with repeated lines) and the other poems are arranged in pairs, each echoing something about the other.

It also features a glass rooster – who appeared in my last AUP collection Kingdom Animalia: the Escapades of Linnaeus. You can read sample poems here.

But wait – there’s more! Much of my hamster activity of late has involved The Year of Falling, a novel, which will also come out in May. It’s being published by Wellington-based Mākaro Press. More on this to come!

White face roborovski dwarf hamster

Photo By Sy (Own work) [<a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0″>CC BY-SA 3.0</a>], <a href=”http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AWhite_face_roborovski_dwarf_hamster.jpg”>via Wikimedia Commons</a>

 

 

 

 

 

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Wordle: janisfreegard.com

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