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This is a beautiful collection, in which some thirty-one poets share their work

‘to celebrate elephants in the hope that people will find a way to safeguard those that manage to remain.’

Elephants are a multitude of things to many. In here they are muse; inspirational beings to be treasured, protected, respected, admired. But on these pages, there is also grief, fear and anger over the destruction of their habitat and the poaching of their ivory. I will never forget an image I saw of an elephant whose face had literally been sliced off for its tusks. How anyone can commit such an atrocity is beyond human capacity, and yet not it seems.

The proceeds from this anthology help orphan elephants via The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which runs the most successful orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world.  And I will leave you with a poem by Valerie Morton, who is also the publisher, as well as one of the many fine poets featured.

 

The Elephant on my Mantlepiece

(after Salvador Dali)

 

floats on spidery, footless legs

of desire, its body

carrying

 

a heavy burden, tottering as if

the world could fall

into the sand

 

or float away into the thin air

of temptation

tight-tailed,

 

straining to carry the world’s sin,

shackled only by gravity –

a reminder

 

that without the uncertain nature

of survival, man’s lust

and greed

 

will end its very existence.

 

After finishing Catherine Smith’s online feedback course earlier in the year through The Poetry School and finding it extremely useful, I thought it about time I enroll on another to give life to some poems that just want to sleep and do nothing all day. So I did.

Bill Greenwell

I had heard good things about Bill Greenwell’s poetry clinic and discovered his work through Abegail Morley, an extraordinarily talented poet who Bill used to mentor. The course runs over 10 weeks and is hosted through an online learning environment out of Exeter University, with the absence of ‘live’ sessions suiting me perfectly due to the time difference.

The aim is simple – to share poems with other poets and an experienced and published tutor, cue Bill, for discussion and critique. So the idea is to present a poem a week, or two if time and length permits, and now half way through the course I have five poems to work on using invaluable feedback.

And even if widely published before, I believe a poet should never stop improving, learning and sharing to develop themselves, their work and fellow poets. Thus I’m in brilliant company, joined by the likes of Sharon Black and Valerie Morton, two poets with excellent track records, as well as solo collections.

So with that in mind I best get back to it. Stop blogging, making cups of tea, thinking about lunch…