In early April 2012 I attended a lecture at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa given by Dr William Fowlds, a wildlife veterinarian who had been called a month earlier to attend three rhino that had been attacked and grievously wounded by poachers. These animals had been mutilated almost beyond imagination by having their horns hacked from their faces while still alive, an act of callous savagery that I still find it difficult to contemplate.

Despite Dr Fowlds’s humanity and call for the world to wake up, after his lecture I felt utterly dispirited by an overwhelming sense of helplessness. Such acts of inhuman evil – and that’s not too strong a word for it – cannot be allowed to go unchallenged, yet what could I do?

I wrote at the time:

But still – how can I help?  I am a poet, not an activist.

And then it occurred to me: I know many other poets in South Africa and around the world who must feel as strongly as I do about this.  How many of you would be willing to offer some of your work for consideration for inclusion in an anthology dedicated to helping to save the rhino?   Many, I hope and believe.

But, of course, I can’t truly make such an assumption without asking.

SO – this note is to ask you if YOU would be willing to participate in the publication of a poetry anthology dedicated to the rhino if I could arrange it.

Would you?

THE RESPONSE WAS IMMEDIATE AND UNIVERSAL: 

“YES – COUNT ME IN!”

From that request has emerged For Rhino in a Shrinking World: an international anthology.  I have received literally hundreds of submissions from around the world, and now (July 2012) the selection process – extremely difficult because of both the number and the tremendously high quality of submissions – is just about complete.

I plan to use this blog to track the progress of this wonderful book to completion, publication and beyond.  I hope you’ll stay with me!

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