Author(s): Janet Frame
'The sweet daily bread of language. Smell it rising in its given warmth taste it through the stink of tears and yesterdays and eat it anywhere with any angel in sight.' Janet Frame used to keep geese, using the base of an old garden fountain as their bath. In later years the geese went but the bath was brought indoors as a receptacle into which Janet piled her poems and jottings as she reworked and developed them. Over time the goose bath overflowed with paper, including hundreds of unpublished poems. By the time Janet died she had named her hoped-for but elusive new selection "The Goose Bath". From this treasure trove, Pamela Gordon, Denis Harold and Bill Manhire have selected over a hundred poems that illustrate the shape of her life: her childhood and the subsequent difficult years in mental hospitals; her travels around the world; her life as a writer and return to New Zealand; and growing older and facing illness and death. The poems reveal her love for words, for cats, for the changing seasons, the arts and for this country. There are love poems, meditations on mortality, flashes of humour and startling imagery. And always she celebrates the power of the human imagination. This selection is beautiful and thought-provoking, a lasting legacy from one of this country's most acclaimed writers.
Winner of Montana New Zealand Book Awards: Poetry Category 2007.
Janet Frame was born in Dunedin in 1924. She is the author of eleven novels, five collections of stories, a volume of poetry, a children's book and a three-volumed autobiography. She was a Burns Scholar and a Sargeson Fellow and won the New Zealand Scholarship in Letters and the Hubert Church Award for Prose. She was made a CBE in 1983 for services to literature, awarded an honorary doctorate of literature from Otago University in 1978, and one from Waikato University in 1992. She received New Zealand's highest civil honour in 1990 when she was made a Member of the Order of New Zealand. Janet Frame died in January 2004.