“Poetry is often an antidote” – a note from the editors, and preview to RHINO 2016


December 2015


Dear friends,


Most of us stand inarticulate at some crucial moment, unable to find the words to coax understanding, to offer solace, to fire courage, to convey regret or forgiveness, to affirm love. Moreover, there are things we simply fail to “see” because we have no name for them, things we fail to “feel” because we don’t have words ready to express the currents of emotion that flow deep within us. And some occurrences are so dazzling or so horrendous as to render us mute.


Yet poetry is, in Eliot’s phrase, “a raid on the inarticulate.” It continually pushes against the limitations of language. Thus poetry is often an antidote to all that shuts us down, that makes life meager, thinner, more numb, more complacent, less meaningful. Poems can magnify our sense of presence in the world, open us up to the mystery and wonder, no less than the troubled reality and robust beauty all around us.


For 40 years RHINO has sought to be such a “raider,” providing an annual selection of the best contemporary poetry in English. This anniversary year’s edition is no exception.

Some of this coming issue’s poems bring to life the ordinary, fugitive, often plangent details of dailiness:


I insert the otoscope in the patient’s right sound cave. A’s and H’s cling to the tympanic membrane like tiny fruit bats                                 

Max Barry


A bird I did not see struck / the glockenspiel in her throat.                                                                      

– Malisa Garlieb


Where the water / touches the land just // to leave it, scared of salt / and every last boot heel, // unsure of what to / wear to interviews.        

– Michael Estes


Other poems capture life’s small and large incongruities, some comic, some provocative:


capitalism troubles me especially / dear aliens / when I think about supply and /how I demand toile patterned trousers                                

Doug Paul Case


When the businessmen meet / by the coat check, it’s summer // and the farthest stars’ final light / passes through the astronomer’s telescope.      

John Gosslee


Of course, many poems give voice to the transitions, trials and abiding struggles of life:


nothing there son, he seems to say / looking at me, a word loosening/ in him barely audible, parched, / his tongue running along the dryness / of his lip. We’re past forgiveness.  

– Adam Chiles


shorty shine shonuff but she got issues / shellshocked from block showdowns   glocks & shotguns / chiraq’s finest   minus shrapnel

& shit    

– t’ai freedom ford


The evening lamp in her hand gleams lambent through the fog; / Her voice merges into the howling wind. With abundance, desolation.                 

– Dipika Mukherjee

Foxes will fox in various ways and hedgehogs curl fetal, / the one good trick they  know. And still, the question of how to live / with no filter…

– Mathew Landrum


At 40 years old, RHINO remains committed to producing a beautiful and compelling print journal. Yet this year we also grieve the loss of Helen Degen Cohen, the singular poet, Senior Editor, and one of RHINO’s founders. In keeping with Helen’s vision, we continue to foster and support Illinois poetry and poets with workshops, readings, events, awards, resources, and information, including our monthly RHINO Reads! poetry series and The Poetry Forum workshop series.


We have also expanded our online resources for local, national, and international poetry audiences. RHINO’s website and Big Horn Blog, as well as our Facebook and Twitter posts, support our print publication and local events. The blog features essays, articles, interviews, audio poems, photos, and online publication of prize-winning poems. Six months after print publication, all published poems are now presented online, with placement occurring throughout the year. Our website receives more than 7000-8000 unique visitors per month.


Rhino-GivingImageThanks to you—our readers, fellow poets, our friends, and family—RHINO continues to thrive. As an independent, all-volunteer journal, we rely on you for your support. Your contributions and subscriptions continue to make up 75% of RHINO’s income. We thank you for making RHINO possible for the past 39 years.`


Wishing you peace, poetry, and inspiration for 2016 and beyond,
The editors of RHINO


Virginia Bell     Jan Bottiglieri     Lisa Croneberg     Carol Eding
Gail Goepfert     Ralph Hamilton     David Jones
Beth McDermott     Kenyatta Rogers     Deborah Nodler Rosen     Jacob Saenz
Angela Narciso Torres     Valerie Wallace

Donation Levels

Pablo Neruda   –     $25
Elizabeth Bishop   –    $35*
Dante Alighieri  –   $50*
Rumi  –   $100* +

*Donations of $35 or more include a complimentary copy of RHINO 2016

Donations accepted online through our secure JustGive portal: http://rhinopoetry.org/donate/
or mail your donation to RHINO, PO Box 591, Evanston, IL 60204

RHINO 2016 will ship in April, 2016
All contributions are tax deductible.