Arts Literature

Book Feature: The Donkey Elegies

Book Feature: The Donkey ElegiesNickole Brown, Author

Asheville poet Nickole Brown has written about animals, our “non-human cousins,” as she calls them for the past four years. And writing about them, she knew, required her to make an effort to understand them. “I couldn’t just continue to read about animals and observe them from a comfortable remove, not if I wanted to write any poem worth keeping about them,” she says. “I needed to understand what it was to be among them: I needed to be close enough to smell them, to begin to read their body language; I needed to listen not just to what was written about them, but to listen to what the animals themselves might have to say.”

To that end, she began volunteering as often as her schedule allowed with Appalachian Wildlife Refuge, Animal Haven Farm Sanctuary, Heart of Horse Sense and Western North Carolina Nature Center. It was at WNC Nature Center “where I was lucky enough to work with two donkeys,” she says, “a time that eventually inspired The Donkey Elegies.” The chapbook is structured in the form of an essay composed of “prose-poem-like sections that weave in the gravity of the donkey’s long, exhaustive history with us in an attempt to understand our relationship with this most useful but often misunderstood beast of burden,” Brown says.

The Donkey Elegies, January 2020, poetry, paperback, $12, by Nickole Brown, and published by Sibling Rivalry Press, Little Rock, AR. To learn more, visit

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