Author(s): Janis Freegard
Swedish-born naturalist Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778) is known as the "Father of Modern Taxonomy", his legacy to the world the standardised genus and species system we still use to name animals and plants. Linnaeus believed it was his mission in life to catalogue everything on the planet: animals, plants, minerals, even a few mythological creatures. The poems in this first, full collection by Wellingtonian Janis Freegard are categorised according to his system in six sections: Mammalia, Aves, Amphibia, Pisces, Insecta and Vermes interspersed with the seven-part poem "The Escapades of Linnaeus". Freegard catalogues the various fantastic and artistic, rational and self-serving ways that human beings draw on the animal world: as symbol and allegory, food and friend, ravening enemy and sacred icon. From surreal prose poems to gorgeous lists, featuring a stuffed kuri, murderous magpies, cake-shop cockroaches, Freegard's verse reflects the diversity of the animal kingdom, its lighthearted fancifulness belying a strong commitment to conservation.
Janis Freegard was born in South Shields, England, and has lived in New Zealand most of her life (Whangarei, Auckland, Wellington). She has a BSc in Botany from The University of Auckland and a BSc (Hons) in Plant Ecology from Victoria University of Wellington. She now lives and works in Wellington, where she is currently writing a novel. She won the BNZ Katherine Mansfield short story competition in 2001 and her work was included in AUP New Poets 3 (2008).