Robert Plant’s Foreword to the Canongate edition of Neither Wolf nor Dog


The Voice of the Native Heart

A Foreword by Robert Plant


It’s a dirty familiar history

A story of broken treaties, giddy expansion, collision and relocation

Of abuse, denial and unfair advantage

As far from the Lone Ranger as one can imagine


For almost fifty years on journeys through the extremes of the New World

I have wrestled with the questions

And carried the weight of empire


For many years Kent Nerburn, too,

Has been immersed

In the inflamed frontier that

Separates and divides


Neither Wolf nor Dog takes us on a real life journey

Playing out the exhausted residue

The push and pull between our cultures

Bringing into sharp focus the fallout from the European slog

The consuming lurch and stampede for “more”


Here is revealed, with beauty and sensitivity,

A world of miracles and connections we can only marvel at

A world that reaches out

Staggering, but still alive,

Despite the havoc of the “covered wagon” and cultural abuse


His characters twist and turn the imagination

As they reveal, slowly,

The wonders of the natural world and our relationships within it


Kent’s work has been my companion and will always remain so,

Otherworldly and evermore valuable to us

in the confusion of these modern times

This voicing of the remarkable spirit of an amazing people


21 thoughts on “Robert Plant’s Foreword to the Canongate edition of Neither Wolf nor Dog”

  1. Christine Wichman

    Beautiful foreword into a book, I now desperately want to read. Robert’s words and lyrics have always spun magic and influenced many!

  2. A marvelous and completely different way of writing a forward. It resonates as poetic and musical, drawing the reader into his thoughts and perspective of the people the story represent. I love it.

  3. Robert’s goal is to help the book get better known. If his foreword prompts you to read it and pass it on, you are helping him accomplish his goal.

  4. Please let us know when the movie has gone to disc. I want our library to order it. I have requested a number of films by and about Indian life. They have gotten all of them. Have you seen “She Sings to the Stars”? A lovely spare moment of magic…

  5. I have read the book twice, once individually, second as my church book club choice. Our church has an ongoing mission to support Pine Ridge Indian Reservation with repairs to homes, school supplies, needed supplies. This new forward has a modern reality twist that should motivate new readers. Thanks for posting it and thanks for teaching me more about the wonderful people on Pine Ridge.

  6. Such beautiful words…you can almost hear the music flowing through them. I read the book awhile ago and now I’m reading it again. I’ve learned that it is so important for First Nations/Native American cultures to learn from their elders and matriarchs and keep their traditions and languages alive. Thank you Mr. Nerburn for writing such a wonderful book, that should never be forgotten.
    Haawa. (I am trying to learn a bit of the Haida language for my grandchildren).

  7. The film is out of my hands. I don’t even have a copy of it. You should contact the director, Steven Simpson. I believe that can be done through neither wolf nor dog movie on facebook, or through inyo entertainment. Good luck.

  8. Yep. Everything is as it was, with maybe a word or two change here and there to update things. This is just an addition for the UK edition. “Value added,” as they say in our mercantile world.

  9. Ashleigh Wallace

    I have read and reread Robert’s forward for your book. It registers on the realm of awesome.

  10. cecilia preziose

    I searched for this book because of Robert’s raving about it. There are several editions which one is he speaking about. Searched on Amazon. Is Robert going to start a reading club?

  11. All the editions are the same. The second American edition, the one with the car filled with hay, has a new introduction. The UK edition, the one with the abandoned gas station on the cover, adds Robert’s foreword. Otherwise, the contents are identical. As to starting reading clubs, you’d have to ask him, and to ask him, you’d have to find him. I’m sure he has a website, though I don’t know what it is.

  12. Kirk Knighton

    Still smiling and shaking my head over this unexpected pairing of esteemed men of letters. What Robert has written here is beautiful – poetic and powerful, truthful and just. Just like the book.
    Sigh, I guess I will now have to place an order with Amazon in the UK to get this new edition? Gladly!

  13. Makes me wish I could read this book for the first time all over again. Maybe I’ll read it again.

  14. Andrew Esa Pederson

    I was given a copy of “Neither Wolf Nor Dog” by a friend who sings with me in a Lakota Drum group in the S.F. Bay area. It hit home to me in the first chapters read. I had gone to Pine Ridge reservation in earlier years as a counselor to boys from substance abuse parents, and knew much of the beauty of the people, and their ways. Seeing the recent endorsement of the book by Robert Plant, and now his foreword,has made a double joy, as I have followed his recording work over many years. Congratulations,he seems to know a great book when he sees it, too…

  15. Wise and wonderful words, both Kent and Robert Plant. Reading of your friendship inspired me to buy Plant’s newest release – I was not disappointed.

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