Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Rampaging Roosters, Horrific Hens: Fowl Fear

The chicken here, rendered in stark black, appears ready to pounce. It is in the attack posture. In a self-consuming frenzy, it will become a mini-berzerker, drawing blood and lacerating flesh.

Some time ago, an urban anthropologist and folklorist suggested that one of his chief informants, Tommy Elliot, might have collected ballads, songs, or other sayings about chickens. This cannot come soon enough. For a poetics of poultry is urgently needed.

Still, until we can get a more definitive reading, it seems clear that Visions of Wasting and Apocalypse lurk behind the urban chicken. Adding to a newspaper piece this morning, one commenter wrote:
But what about our race to embrace Third World cultures?
Affluence could hardly be more anxious. Get these people a beer!

Update:Over at DSS, Emily has turned up some rooster rhymes! They're a little bawdy and the first stanza starts like this -
It takes me back to the good old days
when chickens ran the yard.
My cock would come out every morning
and stand up straight and hard.
Head on over to read the rest!

(Chicken in Bush's Pasture, circa 1900 - Salem Library Historic Photos Collection)


  1. Forgive me, if I stray; but, your comment
    'a poetics of poultry is urgently needed' reminded me of an oral poem, 'Poetry Is Wanted Here' by Alex Caldiero. Caldiero read his poem on NPR's 'Day to Day' on 06 April 2005. He / it can be heard at
    Further, the transcipt can be found at

    A recurring refrain in the poem is
    'Poetry is wanted here'.


  2. Ah,the great chicken debate. When will we officialy consider this urban farming movement to have gone beyond quaint and into rediculous?

    We gotta grab a beer sometime. My inability to figure out the person behind this blog disturbes me :)