Synopses & Reviews
“A loving paean to the surprisingly complex world of chickens. . . . If you own chickens, are considering bringing them into your life, or simply find them fascinating, you’ll crow over Cluck.”—Judy Ettenhoffer, Capital Times
“Medaris is an extraordinary painter and printmaker who has a way of capturing chickens in all their absurdity and charm. . . . The art is reason enough to get the book. But you’ll also get a lovely collection of personal essays that cover Susan Troller’s experiences with chickens.”—Kirkus Reviews
From barnyard to backyard, lowly hens have flown the country coop and joined the city chicken movement. A new generation of small-acreage farmers raising heritage breeds has inspired urbanites and suburbanites across America to install some poultry out back for eggs, meat, fertilizer, and cockeyed companionship. Whether the breed is Jersey Giant, Wyandotte, Buff Orpington, or Silver Frizzle Polish—chickens are now chic.
This is not a how-to book on raising chickens but rather a wry, fascinating, sometimes startling appreciation of them, conveyed in compelling accounts by Susan Troller and striking prints and paintings by S.V. Medaris. A bonus: chicken stories from three of Wisconsin’s most celebrated writers—Jane Hamilton (The Book of Ruth, A Map of the World), Michael Perry (Coop, Population 485), and Ben Logan (The Land Remembers)—round out the collection.
About the Author
Susan Troller took an interest in chickens when she met Consuela, miraculous survivor of a mass gassing of laying hens at a factory farm. Susan lives on a farm near New Glarus, Wisconsin, with her chickens, dogs, cats, horses, and husband. She retired from a long career as a reporter on local food movements and K–12 education for the Capital Times newspaper to open her own specialty store for chicken aficionados in Paoli, Wisconsin. S.V. Medaris is a keen observer of her art subjects—the livestock and pets on her farm in the Driftless Area of southwest Wisconsin where she lives with her husband. Her art is included in collections in Holland, Japan, Spain, United Arab Emirates, USA, and in juried and invitational exhibitions in California, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, New York, Texas, and Wisconsin.
Table of Contents
Why . . . Chickens?
The Joy of Chix
Wicked Roosters This Way Come
Tastes Like Chicken
In the Matter of Cats and Chickens, Jane Hamilton
Creative Coops and Poultry Palaces
Which Came First?
Which Came First? Ben Logan
The Name Game
Scrambled Eggs for Easter, Ben Logan
What a Turkey
How to Hypnotize a Chicken, Michael Perry
Birds of a Feather
The Zen of Hens
About the Author; About the Artist