“After the presentation Dr Fowlds gave at the university I lay awake in bed unable to fall asleep, trying to decide what I could do,” Harry Owen told Grocott's Mail.
“After the presentation Dr Fowlds gave at the university I lay awake in bed unable to fall asleep, trying to decide what I could do,” Harry Owen told Grocott's Mail. The matter weighing so heavily on this renowned poet's heart is the very real danger that South Africa's rhinos face of cruel poaching and extinction.
Once the Poet Laureate for Cheshire, England, Owen currently resides in Grahamstown as a poet, performer, teacher and writer. He has authored five collections of poetry and is now trying to use this experience to help save rhinos from the crisis they are in.
Earlier this year Owen called for poets from far and wide to rally their words and voices to help spread awareness about preserving our precious wildlife. In response Owen received between 500 and 600 poems from all over the world.
“People in America and Germany told me that they had no idea how bad our problem was until I brought their attention to it,” Owen said. “And some big names in the global poetry circles replied, some very big names!”
For Rhino in a Shrinking World: An International Anthology of Poetry will include 129 poems from 108 poets with themes not only relating to rhino but speaking of our world at large.
Award-winning American poet Alfred Corn has submitted a poem, as have other big names like Pascale Petit, John Lindley and even Marc Vincenz who wrote from Iceland.
A number of Grahamstonians have also been heavily involved in the project, such as Dan Wylie, Brother John Forbis and Roddy Fox. Artist Sally Scott is donating art works to be used as illustrations for the poetry collection.
The Poets Printery in East London has kindly offered to print the anthology at cost price and none of the contributing poets or Owen will make any profit from the sales.
All funds raised from selling the book will go straight into the Chipembere Rhino Foundation that was established in 2011 after local game reserve, Amakhala, lost two rhinos to poachers. The foundation director is Dr William Fowlds, a renowned Eastern Cape wildlife vet whose commitment to alleviating the plight of the rhino inspired Owen to act.
“We're ready to go to print now, which will cost R40 000. We've raised about half of that amount and now we need help from as many people as possible to make this happen,” Owen said. “I am asking for any amount, large or small, that you feel able to offer toward the funding of this fabulous collection. All sponsors will, of course, be fully acknowledged in the published book.”
The book can also be pre-ordered for R120, which can be deposited into the Chipembere Foundation bank account with 'HO Poetry Deposit' stipulated on the transaction.
If you'd like to help in a different way, you can contact Owen at firstname.lastname@example.org. He said any and all help is appreciated. “Together we can make the difference,” Owen said. “Thank you for caring.”
Bank account details for Chipembere Rhino Foundation
Account Name: Chipembere Rhino Foundation
Bank: First National Bank
Branch Code: 210115 Humansdorp
Account Type: Cheque account
Account Number: 62330309289
Swift Code: FIRNZAJJ