The Deep Zoo
Essays by Rikki Ducornet
January 6, 2015 • 5.5 x 8.25 • 126 Pages • 978-1-56689-376-3
Rikki Ducornet’s essays explore eros, violence, dreams, fairy tales, and art as alchemy—the Deep Zoo at the core of humanity.
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.”
About the Author
The author of nine novels as well as collections of short stories, essays, and poems, Rikki Ducornet has been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, honored twice by the Lannan Foundation, and the recipient of an Academy Award in Literature. Widely published abroad, Ducornet is also a painter who exhibits internationally. She lives in Port Townsend, Washington.
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“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 butterly that metamorphosed into the Key of Life. Ducornet names these power The Deep Zoo.” —Entropy
“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.” —Heavy Feather
“A very intelligent and engaging collection of essays.” —Dr. TJ Eckleburg Review
“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 the 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
“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
“[The Deep Zoo] is like the secret at the heart of the world; other books can be put aside.” —Anne Germanacos, author of Tribute
“The veteran Port Townsend author explores love, violence, dreams, fairy tales and other things in her collection of essays.” —Seattle Times
“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
“[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
“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
“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