The Goose Bath

The Goose Bath

By  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 Over time the goose bath overflowed with paper, including hundreds of unpublished poems.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 selected over a hundred poems that illustrated 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. Since first publication, this book has become a Premier New Zealand Bestseller and many of its poems have been anthologised and even set to music. The book went on to win the Poetry Section of the 2007 Montana New Zealand Book Awards. It is also being released internationally, in countries as wide-ranging as the UK, Australia and Spain. It is a beautiful and thought-provoking work, a lasting legacy from one of this country's most acclaimed writers. 'Janet Frame's The Goose Bath is essential reading. This is a volume that alters the landscape of New Zealand poetry.' - New Zealand Listener

Also by Janet Frame

Awards & Recognition


Montana New Zealand Book Awards