The Glass Rooster
I am not made of concrete, no. I am not made of sand.
Nor of light, nor air, nor the sound that rain makes
as it splashes on the upturned leaves of my forest home.
Have you seen my feathers? How the colours glint
in the dappled light. Have you heard my call? Oh I am king
of all I see. Hear me, hear me. This tree, mine. This whole
The poems in The Glass Rooster explore the spaces inhabited by humans and other creatures – not just natural ecosystems like deserts or the alpine zone, but cities and outer space.
Our guide on this journey is a glass rooster – observer of stars and lover of hens – who first popped up in Janis Freegard’s poetry years ago and wanders unchecked through the book. These are searching, remarkable poems – about art, about places, about unusual expeditions, and about love.
Each of the eight sections (or ‘echo-systems’) in the book – The Damp Places, Forest, Cityscape, The Alpine Zone, Space, Home & Garden, Underground and In the Desert – is introduced by a triolet, a French poetic form with repeated lines. Other poems are arranged in pairs, each echoing something about the other, whether desert plants, the presence of balloons or the dangers of working in a mine. The result is a tremendous, riotous exploration of an interconnected world.
Janis Freegard lives in Wellington, with an historian and a cat, and works in the public service. Her first full-length poetry collection, Kingdom Animalia: The Escapades of Linnaeus, was published by Auckland University Press in 2011. She is also the author of a chapbook, The Continuing Adventures of Alice Spider (Anomalous Press, 2013), and co-author of AUP New Poets 3 (AUP, 2008). Her poetry has appeared in a wide range of journals and anthologies in New Zealand and overseas, including Essential New Zealand Poems: Facing the Empty Page (Random House, 2014), Best NZ Poems 2012 and Landfall. In 2014 she held the inaugural Ema Saikō Poetry Fellowship at New Pacific Studio in the Wairarapa. She also writes fiction, is a past winner of the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Award, and will publish her first novel, with Mākaro Press, in May 2015. She blogs at http://janisfreegard.com.