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painting by Mary McIntyre

The latest reviews of Kingdom Animalia: the Escapades of Linnaeus come from Emma Neale in the NZ Listener (December 3 -9 2011):

“…Freegard is equal parts jester and scientist…the collection is as much about human follies, infringements, betrayals and tenderness as it is about the habits and habitats of our animal cousins.”

Sarah Jane Barnett in Landfall:

“There is a lot to enjoy in Kingdom Animalia.  Freegard’s poetry is sharp and funny; she is the poet next door who I immediately like.”

and Joanna Preston in A Fine Line (the NZ Poetry Society magazine):

“At its best, Kingdom Animalia is delicious – often funny, frequently touching, unmistakeably modern, and full of swerves and quirks and strange reverses.”

Earlier reviews had this to say:

Paula Green in the NZ Herald (1 November 2011):

“…Freegard has glued the breach between poetry and science with lyricism, inventiveness, research, playfulness and miniature bursts of storytelling. Fascinating.”

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/books/news/article.cfm?c_id=134&objectid=10763178

Patricia Prime in Takahē 73 (Winter 2011):

“…Freegard’s is a restless poetry, expressing contemporary angst within a context of travel, or analyzing the stopping-places, trying to see clearly, and identifying with the flora and fauna. Yet there is also a need to try and anchor the poems to the modern world.”

http://www.takahe.org.nz/review/Takahe73KingdomAnimalia.pdf

Tedi Busch in the Nelson Mail (30 July 2011):

“…The author’s imagination is infinite. In just one piece a witch teaches her to fly like a humming bird while advising a man from Japan about his cup of spaghetti and notes that our minds have minds of their own. Hers certainly does; I think I’ll go and read this all over again.”

link to review

and Hamesh Wyatt in the Otago Daily Times:

“…There is plenty of subversive humour and a little self-indulgence but never a dull moment. …….Kingdom Animalia: The Escapades of Linnaeus will get under your skin something fierce. It’s neat to have something brand-new and shiny.”

http://www.odt.co.nz/entertainment/books/164172/plenty-evidence-osullivans-lesson

Other links:

An interview about the book with Veronika Meduna on ‘Our Changing World’ poetry-and-science.asx

and with Tim Jones on his blog.

Kingdom Animalia also has its own Facebook page.

On Thursday (17 November 2011), sometime after 9pm, I will be talking to Veronika Meduna on Our Changing World on National Radio and reading a few poems from Kingdom Animalia: the Escapades of Linnaeus.

Janis, pingao, Island Bay, wind

The words on the beach, “This is a day for the eating of clouds” are busy settling into a poem now that the tide has swept them away.  They originally came from me mishearing “It’s cloudy today” as “It’s cloud-eater day”.  I like the cloud-eater version better.

It’s so good to see all the pingao around Island Bay now the council has fenced it off.  Many years ago (over the 1985/86 summer) I did a coastal vegetation survey with Yvonne Weeber for the Wellington Harbour Board  (best job I’ve ever had!) and it was very exciting every time we found a struggling pingao plant clinging on amongst the marram.  Now they’re thriving – hurrah!

 

 

My poetry collection, Kingdom Animalia: the Escapades of Linnaeus, is now officially available.  If you’re in Wellington, I’d love to see you at the launch this Wednesday:

Venue:    the Terrace Bar, upstairs at the Garden Club (13 Dixon St, Wellington, just around the corner from the reverse bungy on Taranaki St, next to Subway, used to be Wellington Repertory Theatre)

Date:       Wednesday 4 May 2011

Time:      5:30pm to 7:00 pm (reading at 6ish)

Featuring Animal Biscuits, Cheese Straws and Various Beverages 

You are kindly invited to wear an Animal Mask or Similar (Not Compulsory). 

All welcome.  Bring your friends.

'Bluebird' by Mary McIntyre

 Here’s what it says about the book on the AUP website:

Kingdom Animalia is a collection of poems that explore the various interactions between human beings and other animals, but also deals with wider subjects: love and loss, evolution and conservation, sex and death. The poems, which involve animals, as main subject or as passing guests, are arranged according to the six classes devised by eighteenth-century naturalist Carl Linnaeus, whose life’s mission was to classify the natural world. Modern taxonomy has evolved considerably but this standardised naming system is still a common language for classifying the natural world. The sections are linked by a prose poem about Linnaeus’ life.
ISBN 978 1 86940 473 4, 210 x 148mm, paperback, 88p, $24.99| order this book
 

Isn’t the cover stunning?  I feel very lucky.  The painting is by Mary McIntyre (photograph by Jacqui Blanchard) and the design is by Jacinda Torrance.  Last year I saw a companion painting (same figure – the artist’s granddaughter – in the same garden, but in a different pose) called ‘Family Life, Puriri Drive’ by Mary McIntyre at the Portrait Gallery in Wellington and thought to myself, wouldn’t that make the perfect cover for Kingdom Animalia?  The following week, Anna Hodge from AUP emailed me the draft cover with ‘Bluebird’ on it.  Spookily serendipitous.

I have added a ‘Kingdom Animalia’ page to this blog, which includes a species list (using modern taxonomy rather than Linnaeus’ system) of all the animals in the book.  I’m struggling a bit with the formatting, so please bear with me while I get it sorted.  (I do realise most people don’t get as excited about species lists as I do.)

I will be posting more about Linnaeus and notes about the poems in the book as I go.  Hope to see you at the launch!

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Wordle: janisfreegard.com

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