Mary Macpherson

The photographs of Mary Macpherson – with a dash of poetry

Animated animals

leave a comment »

A Wellington bar with greenery over open windows and wallpaper of plant species was the venue for the launch this week of Janis Freegard’s first solo poetry collection. Published by AUP, Kingdom Animalia The Escapades of Linnaeus is full of nimble witty poems that animate creatures and consider our relationship to the animal kingdom.

The poems are ordered by 18th century Swedish naturalist Carolus Linnaeus’s six animal classes. The work is underpinned by Freegard’s training in botany and science.

In Anemone she gives life and personality to a seemingly delicate sea creature.


when the tide returns
I’m no longer that
blood-coloured blob on
face of a rock
I do the graceful
cnidarian waltz
& sway with each wave
– my respite from the
desiccating threats
of that fearsome sun

the fine tentacles
that ring my slit mouth
stretch out into brine
and grab for larvae
my own restaurant
my littoral playground

no hard skeleton
I’m soft as jelly
but venture too close
and I’ll blast you with
poison-tipped threads from
my nematocysts
Blossom? Ha! I’m the
sea’s stinging nettle.

Janis Freegard

Auckland University Press:

Janis’s blog:


Written by Mary Macpherson

07/05/2011 at 11:53 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: