The Deep Zoo

Essays by Rikki Ducornet

Rikki Ducornet’s essays explore eros, violence, dreams, fairy tales, and art as alchemy—the Deep Zoo at the core of humanity.

January 6th, 2015
5.5 x 8.25 | 126 Pages
Trade Paper

Thanks to a 2013 ADA Access Improvement Grant administered by VSA Minnesota for the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, this title is also formatted for screen readers which make text accessible to the blind and visually impaired.

To purchase this title for use with a screen reader please call (612) 338-0125 or email us at info@coffeehousepress.org.

ISBN: 978-1-56689-376-3.

$15.95

Description

Included in Library Journal’s 25 Key Indie Fiction Titles, Fall 2014–Winter 2015

Within the writer’s life, words and things acquire power. For Borges it is the tiger and the color red, for Cortázar a pair of amorous lions, and for an early Egyptian scribe the monarch butterfly that metamorphosed into the Key of Life. Ducornet names these powers The Deep Zoo. Her essays take us from the glorious bestiary of Aloys Zötl to Abu Ghraib, from the tree of life to Sade’s Silling Castle, from The Epic of Gilgamesh to virtual reality. Says Ducornet, “To write with the irresistible ink of tigers and the uncaging of our own Deep Zoo, we need to be attentive and fearless—above all very curious—and all at the same time.”

Reviews

“Rikki Ducornet’s new collection The Deep Zoo is filled with smart and surprising essays that explore our connections to the world through art.”—Largehearted Boy, “Favorite Nonfiction of 2015″

Green Apple Books, “Our Favorite Books of 2015″

Included in Library Journal’s 25 Key Indie Fiction Titles, Fall 2014–Winter 2015 and Poets and Writers’ New and Noteworthy Titles

Praise for Deep Zoo

“Light and shadow are twins; darkness is a place to dream; the dream creates the world. If art provides illumination, it also celebrates enigma: Ducornet’s is a literature where the serpent offers not only knowledge but salutary disobedience, where terror and wonder, the marvelous and the monstrous, are two sides of the same coin. It is through this lightness, this reverie, that she reunites the human imagination with the unpredictable, prolific wilderness that made it, and so returns the wilderness to us.”—The Boston Review

“Ducornet’s skill at drawing unexpected connections, and her ability to move between outrage and meditativeness, are gripping to behold.”—Star Tribune

“This collection of essays meditates on art, mysticism, and more; it’ll leave a reader with plenty to ponder.”—Vol. 1 Brooklyn

“Ducornet moves between these facets of human experience with otherworldly grace, creating surprising parallels and associations. . . The Deep Zoo is a testament to her acrobatic intelligence and unflinching curiosity. Ducornet not only trusts the subconscious, she celebrates and interrogates it.”—The Heavy Feather

“Rikki Ducornet’s new collection The Deep Zoo is filled with smart and surprising essays that explore our connections to the world through art.”—Largehearted Boy

“Rikki Ducornet’s new collection The Deep Zoo is filled with smart and surprising essays that explore our connections to the world through art.”—Largehearted Boy

“The veteran Port Townsend author explores love, violence, dreams, fairy tales and other things in her collection of essays.”—Seattle Times

“One of our best and most enduring surrealists and sensualists, Rikki Ducornet intuits connections supersaturated with color and finds the intersection of myth, nature, and the literary world. This slim collection contains worlds wide and deep in nonfiction form. It opens up in the imagination like an amazing cabinet of curiosities or exquisite coffee-table book composed entirely of words.”—Electric Literature

“I’m facing the self-imposed task of making sense of Rikki Ducornet. . . and yet there is a part of me, selfish and lazy and honorable, that wants nothing more than to keep these books to myself (not for myself: I want everyone to read them), and to refuse to engage with the work anywhere but in reverie.”—Tiny Letter

““The Deep Zoo” acts as a kind of foundational text, a lens to view her work and the other essays through. . . Subversive at heart and acutely perceptive.”—Numero Cinq

“[Ducornet is] attuned to the pleasures of both language and thought. . . We may not have the white phosphorus of her poetry (really, who can write like she does?), but we’ll have her example. Let us take our own obsessions and follow them to their ends.”—Your Impossible Voice

“Within the writer’s life, words and things acquire power. For Borges it is the tiger and the color red, for Cortázar a pair of amorous lions, and for an early Egyptian scribe the monarch butterfly that metamorphosed into the Key of Life. Ducornet names these powers in The Deep Zoo.”—Entropy

“What struck me most about this collection, and what I am confident will pull me back to it again, is Ducornet’s obvious passion for life. She is . . .  attentive, fearless, and curious. And for a hundred pages we get to see how it feels to exist like that, what it’s like to think critically and still be open to the world.”—Cleaver Magazine

The Deep Zoo defies one’s expectations of what essays are, bringing a rich, vibrant sound and inspirational tone, which illuminates the role of the artist in the 21st century.”—Nomadic Press

“Ducornet reminds us that our position in the universe reflects our imagining of it and that as a consequence, we should be wary of those who attempt to cordon this spark. This is a valuable, possibly even necessary, lesson made more powerful by the beauty and terror of The Deep Zoo.” —Stephen Sparks, The Improbable

“Prepare to be smitten with allusion upon allusion upon illusion.” —Corduroy Books

“A very intelligent and engaging collection of essays.”—Dr. TJ Eckleburg Review

“Language, in Rikki Ducornet’s hands, is a living and revivifying thing. These essays—lyrical, magical and occasionally scabrous—are a perfect introduction to the work of one of the singular figures of American letters.”—Green Apple Books on the Park

“Rikki Ducornet is imagination’s emissary to this mundane world.”—Stephen Sparks, Green Apple Books on the Park

“[Deep Zoo] is like the secret at the heart of the world; other books can be put aside.”—Anne Germanacos, author of Tribute

“Like my favorite museums, THE DEEP ZOO is brimful with anomaly, informed by what Ducornet calls the “mysteries of matter.” The clauses revel in their obscurity, the sentences dazzle as “potencies… fall into sympathy with one another,” and the essays cohere with their matrices of association.”—Brazos Bookstore

“The Deep Zoo is not didactic, but wise; not zealous, but possessed with great clarity of thought. It is simply a seed, willing to be planted on fertile ground and blossom as it is tended — and like the seed, it is mutable, shaped by its resonances with its reader’s own sympathies or secret impulses.”Weird Fiction Review

“Ducornet reminds us that our position in the universe reflects our imagining of it and that as a consequence, we should be wary of those who attempt to cordon this spark. This is a valuable, possibly even necessary, lesson made more powerful by the beauty and terror of The Deep Zoo.”The Improbable

 

Praise for Rikki Ducornet

“A novelist whose vocabulary sweats with a kind of lyrical heat.”—The New York Times

“Linguistically explosive . . . one of the most interesting American writers around.”—The Nation

“A novelist whose vocabulary sweats with a kind of lyrical heat.”—The New York Times

“Linguistically explosive . . . one of the most interesting American writers around.”—The Nation

“Ducornet—surrealist, absurdist, pure anarchist at times—is one of our most accomplished writers, adept at seizing on the perfect details and writing with emotion and cool detachment simultaneously.”—Jeff Vandermeer

“A unique combination of the practical and fabulous, a woman equally alive to the possibilities of joy and the necessity of political responsibility, a creature—à la Shakespeare’s Cleopatra—of ‘infinite variety,’ Ducornet is a writer of extraordinary power, in whose books ‘rigor and imagination’ (her watchwords) perform with the grace and daring of high-wire acrobats.”—Laura Mullen, BOMB Magazine

“The perversity, decadence, and even the depravity that Ducornet renders here feel explosively fresh because their sources are thought and emotion, not the body, and finally there’s some pathos too.”—The Boston Globe