How to Draw a Rhinoceros, the first book of poems by Canadian writer, scholar, and lawyer Kate Sutherland, mines centuries of rhinoceros representations in art and literature to document the history of European and North American encounters with the animal--from the elephant-rhinoceros battles staged by monarchs in the Middle Ages; the rhinomania that took hold in response to the European travels of Clara the 'Dutch' Rhinoceros in the mid-1700s; the menageries and circuses of the Victorian era; the exploits of celebrated twentieth-century hunters like Teddy Roosevelt and Ernest Hemingway; and the trade in rhinoceros horn artefacts that thrives online today. Along the way, it explores themes of colonialism, animal welfare, and conservation, combining Robert Kroetschian documentary poetics with the meticulous research and environmental passion of Elizabeth Kolbert, to successfully examine the centuries-long path of the rhinoceros that's brought it to the brink of global extinction.
Readers of contemporary poetry, as well as those interested in natural history, animal welfare, and conservation, and people who have followed Sutherland's scholarly and literary careers, will relish the rich detail and odd tales of historical rhinoceroses and the people who have kept, shown, and traded in them, as depicted using a range of poetic techniques that only a critical eye like Sutherland's could deliver.
Praise for How to Draw a Rhinoceros:
"Kate Sutherland has created a surprising, beautiful and often tragic menagerie of poems about a powerful, peaceful beast that has the misfortune of being both magnificent and magnificently horned. Her brilliant resurrection of 18th-century rhinosuperstar Clara is an enchanting bonus." --Stuart Ross, author of A Hamburger in a Gallery and A Sparrow Came Down Resplendent