Archives for posts with tag: rhino anthology

I have now seen the draft (sample) copy of the anthology and am impressed. Keep an eye on this space during the next few days – there should be good news to report by the end of next week.

I think I owe you all an explanation for the unfortunate delay we have experienced in releasing For Rhino in a Shrinking World.

The anthology was sent by the publisher to the printer some time ago and we expected the book to be available shortly after this. Unfortunately, it then became evident that the shape and design of the book’s cover and spine could not accommodate some of the features we wanted. For example, the font size of the poems inside became much smaller than was acceptable to me if we persisted with the original dimensions. This had to be corrected.

So the book was returned to the designer and we have now made it rectangular (26 x 21cm) rather than square. This has resolved the problem with the font size and we hope that everything is now as it should be. The book has been re-submitted to the printer and I am expecting to have a sample copy in my hands within the next few days.

I can’t tell you how frustrating this has been for all of us, but I am determined that the book will be as beautiful and as fine as it is possible to make it: the delay is annoying but necessary to ensure its quality.

As soon as I have seen and checked the sample copy I shall post here again to let you know where we stand – and I truly hope it will be to say that we’re there!

Thank you once again for your patience and support.

Christmas, it seems to me, is a time for reflection, acknowledgement and gratitude.  So I would like to offer my warmest thanks here to the innumerable people who have, in one way or another, made publication of For Rhino in a Shrinking World possible.  The following is extracted from my Introduction to the anthology:

Almost at once the poems started to arrive – literally hundreds and hundreds of them. People all over the world, some very young or inexperienced as writers, others well known and widely published, clearly were deeply touched by the plight of the rhinos and as sickened and horrified as I had been by Will Fowlds’ eyewitness account, film of which was also made widely available on the Internet.

By the deadline date it had become clear to me that compiling and editing an anthology from so many generous pieces of writing would be a gargantuan task. Many submissions could not, by sheer weight of numbers as much as anything else, find their way into the book – but I wish to put on record my sincere gratitude to all those who wrote and submitted work supporting the rhinos’ cause. Without them this book would not have been possible.

I wish all who have supported us and all who will continue in the coming days to help the rhino and the natural world a truly Happy Christmas and the most uplifting of all New Years.

Thank you all!

This evening (Tuesday 11 December) I held a telephone conversation with Dr Amitabh Mitra, publisher of the rhino anthology, and we agreed that the book is progressing nicely and looking very good indeed. It is now in the final stages before publication and is awaiting its signing-off after concluding a thorough proof reading and re-checking. Next step is the printer.

Unfortunately, since the Christmas period in South Africa is when the whole country goes on its summer vacation (and this begins for most people – including those in the printing industry – at the end of this week), it is now most unlikely that For Rhino in a Shrinking World will be available by Christmas as I had hoped and planned.

I regret this profoundly and can only apologise to those of you who had hoped to give the book as a Christmas gift. I really am as  disappointed as anyone, but we have done our best and not quite made it on time.

On the other hand, the book should certainly be ready early in the New Year and I am looking forward very much to its launch then. To be honest, I could not in all conscience have forced the pace and risked the finished product being less than excellent. I do hope you will understand.

As soon as I have any more information I will post it here, so please keep checking in.

On behalf of both myself and our grievously persecuted rhino, I do thank you for your continued support and wish you all the happiest of holiday seasons.

We (Sally Scott, John Forbis, Amitabh Mitra, the designer Rentia Ellis and I) are currently in the process of finalising the anthology’s covers, front and back, and I think they look very good. As soon as the cover is finished I will post it here, so keep checking in.

Meanwhile, in response to a few understandable queries: it is still my hope and intention to have the anthology available very soon, but it must be as perfect as we can make it first. This might mean that, although the official launch may now have to be after rather than before the Christmas holiday, the book should be available for purchase in advance of this so that it can be ordered, if you wish, as a beautiful Christmas or New Year gift.

I’ll let you have full details just as soon as I have them.

Wisdom of the Elephants


There’s more to our bones

than curved hunting ivory.

At two years old we lose

our first four teeth,

then gain five more spade sets,

each set stronger and more elaborate.


On the savannah we grind rough bark,

roots, leaves and young grass.

Each year a brick-sized molar

retires, and a new one

fills in from the back.

But when the last gives,


That’s it. We’ll turn,

follow the wisdom of the wind –

with the strange thoughts

solitary dreamers may have –

and remember, with fondness:


each river, each plain,

each star, before reaching

down to the brown water’s edge

with a silent, almost

moist-eyed reckoning.


Jennifer Wong

All material for the anthology is now with the publisher and we are working hard to have the book available as soon as possible.

Sponsors, however, continue to emerge. I am immensely grateful for their generosity and want to acknowledge all of them even at this late stage, so here is the current and updated list. If you know of any omission, please let me know at once.  Thanks.


A number of organisations and many persons (some of whom prefer to remain anonymous, and there are too many anyway to name each individually) have generously supported the publication of this book in various ways and the editor would like to express his gratitude to every one of them.

Amongst many others, thanks go to:

Bastion Graphics, Johannesburg

Chipembere Rhino Foundation

Department of Arts and Culture

Clyde & Kendra Dicks, Carrollton, Texas, USA

Kichaka Luxury Game Lodge

Kisma & Co, Grahamstown

Poems & Pints at The Lodge public house, Alsager, Cheshire, UK

PostNet, Grahamstown

Rhodes University Business School, Grahamstown

Theart Press

We Share Their World, Grahamstown

WESSA, Grahamstown Branch

Campbell Westcott, Grahamstown

Wilderness Foundation

Pat Whitfield (for back cover image of Charging Rhino petroglyph)

And in memory of John and Sheila Martel

Will Fowlds’ passion for helping the rhino was the original inspiration for this book. Here is his Foreword to the anthology:

The deepening crisis faced by our rhino threatens to overwhelm us as we are assaulted daily by rotting images of animals mutilated at the hands of greedy man. The gruesome account of just two of the victims of poaching has reached into the hearts of these writers and resonates back on us from across the world. A challenge for us all to react. Our simple personal responses as caring custodians in the face of such a daunting reality is all that stands between life and extinction.

Who will join this global collection of humane reactions? Will there be enough to express our value for the natural world?  Are we able to focus fear, anger and bitter sadness into those simple abilities we have been blessed with and create the change on which we all depend?  I trust the power of the written word gathered within this wonderful collection, inspired by Harry Owen as an expression of his own journey, is enough to change our hearts and ignite us into action.

Today is World Rhino Day and there have been hundreds of events across the globe to raise awareness of this magnificent animal’s plight. The large numbers of children and young people involved are a cause for celebration and optimism, for they are truly the future of our planet and a major reason for us to continue the fight to save our dwindling wilderness areas.

It would have been fitting if For Rhino in a Shrinking World had been ready for launch today but that was never a real possibility. It will, however, be launched before the end of the year – and perhaps we can hold a ‘World Rhino Anthology Day’ then.

What do you think? Any ideas? Let us know!

Work behind the scenes continues apace: Andrew Martin from NELM (National English Literary Museum) has volunteered his own personal time and expertise to organise the Contents, the Index and the lists of contributors, and editing continues in an effort to make this book something everyone will be proud of.

Happy Rhino Day to you all!

At a special poetry reading last night in Grahamstown, South Africa, to raise awareness of Saturday’s impending World Rhino Day, some of the wonderful poems from For Rhino in a Shrinking World were given an airing – either by me or fellow poet Dan Wylie. Poems by Philip Neilsen (Australia), Susan Richardson (Wales), Elisabeth Gowans (South Africa), Pippa Little (England) and Madeleine Begun Kane (USA) all received warm approval from a receptive and discerning audience. And many people have already placed orders for the anthology in advance of publication – a good sign!