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Janis Freegard and Matchbox Studios invite you to the launch of “The Continuing Adventures of Alice Spider”, a chapbook of prose poems published by Anomalous Press.






Alice Spider is a spinner of words, dancing them around until some spill on to the page. She’s both your one true friend and a trollopy little tart. Alice the Webster is weaving herself a wild, wild life. This prose poem sequence includes drinking champagne in a hot air balloon, an exploration of surrealism and an unusual encounter with a burglar. Welcome to Alice’s labyrinthine web.

“Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety” – these words weren’t first written for Alice Spider, but they should have been. She is a heroine for our times – a multitasker of the human spirit and a joy in all her manifestations. Cherish her, and take her to your hearths.
-Mary Cresswell, author of Trace Fossils

Poet, photographer & blogger Mary Macpherson has posted an interview with me on her blog, about The Continuing Adventures of Alice Spider which was published recently by Anomalous Press.  You can read the interview here:



Well, the Alice Spider book from Anomalous Press is fast becoming a reality.  You may have met Alice before, but this will be the most Alice there’s ever been in one place.  This is how she will look:

The Continuing Adventures of Alice Spider by Janis Freegard

The stunning artwork on the cover is by Kristen Necessary.

There is one last hurdle.  The lovely people at Anomalous Press are making six chapbooks altogether (small collections of poetry, of up to 40 pages) as a labour of love and have launched a Kickstarter campaign to get the funds together for printing.  They need $US5,000.  If you would like to support them – and receive books, postcards and other goodies in return (this is  a pre-order type deal rather than a charity drive) – here’s where you can pledge the amount you would like to pledge and a description of what you will receive.  Yes, I’ve already put my money where my mouth is, and huge thanks to everyone else who is supporting the campaign.

The Kickstarter link shows all the chapbooks being published and they look great!

A selection from The Continuing Adventures of Alice Spider is now available as a limited edition hand-made pamphlet, published by Anomalous Press and featuring line drawings by Jill Kambs.  It’s available from Vamp and Tramp booksellers in the States ($US45).  More adventures for Alice coming soon!

I have news.  It concerns poetry and spiders.

When I was about eighteen, I started writing about the adventures of a character called Alice Spider.  And I kept on writing about her, on and off.  A couple of decades after I started, I realised all the little Alice fragments were part of a prose poem sequence.  Sections of Alice have since been published in Turbine, AUP New Poets 3, JAAM and US-based Anomalous Press.  And now Alice is getting her very own chapbook, courtesy of the wonderful folk at Anomalous.  And it’s not just any old chapbook – it’s 3 types of chapbook: a  limited edition of 26 handmade, letterpress-printed chapbooks with images by Jill Kambs (I’ve seen the proofs and the book looks beautiful), as well as a regular, offset-printed chapbook and an e-book.   Very exciting!

This would not have happened without Mary MacCallum’s Tuesday Poem site – the Christmas before last, the Tuesday poets all had a “secret Santa” poem-swapping session, where we paired up with other Tuesday poets and posted each other’s poems.  I was paired with US poet Melissa Green, who writes stunningly beautiful poetry.  Melissa graciously hosted Alice on her blog,  where she was spotted by Anomalous Press and invited to appear in their new journal, and now Alice is moving on to her next adventure.  Many thanks to Cat Parnell and Erica Mena of Anomalous Press for this opportunity and to Jill Kambs for making beautiful books.  I”ll post a photo when the books arrive.

Also, Anomalous Press has just announced its first chapbook competition.  Entry fees are $US15 and all submissions will be considered for publication in the Anomalous Press journal.  There is a separate category for translations.

I’m feeling very international at the moment.  I have a short story in the new online journal Anomalous (based in the US), two poems in the New Zealand feature of the online International Literary Quarterly, another poem in UK-based print journal Magma and one in the Australian print journal etchings.  Some of it is work I submitted 18 months ago, but somehow it’s all appearing in the same week.

The Anomalous connection came about courtesy of the Tuesday Poem.  Last December, the Tuesday poets paired up and swapped poems with each other, and I was lucky enough to be paired with the wonderful American poet Melissa Green.  An Anomalous editor (Cat Parnell) read my poem on Melissa’s blog and asked if I had anything else.  Anomalous also features recordings of the writers reading their work.  My story, Tattooed Ladies, is here.  Or you can watch a great little 30 second clip of the entire journal here.  Anomalous describes itself as “a non-profit press dedicated to the diffusion of writing in the forms it can take”.

The International Literary Quarterly is in the process of publishing more than a hundred NZ writers over the next couple of months.  I’m part of the third instalment, alongside Tim Jones, Janet Charman, Robin Fry, Sonia Yelich and many others.  My poems are here.  The NZ literary showcase also features NZ artworks and is well worth dipping into.

Magma is a longstanding UK journal, packed with great poetry and interesting articles.  I am in Magma 49, the ‘Build it up & knock it down’ issue, which sports a lovely digger on the cover.  (I always thought it would be fun to drive one, but I have no doubt it would end up stuck in a swamp, like the time I was in charge of some sort of sandbag compacting machine).

Etchings is based in Melbourne and published by Ilura Press.  The issue I am in is etchings 9: Love & Something.  The cover image is by Adam Elliot, the clay animator responsible for that great little movie ‘Mary and Max‘ about  the friendship between a little Australian girl and a reclusive American man.

Whew!  So much reading material.  Got to be a good thing.



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December 2020

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