The Deep Zoo

The Deep Zoo

Rikki Ducornet

Language: English

Pages: 165

ISBN: 1566893763

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


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."

"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

"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 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 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

“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

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

"This book is like the secret at the heart of the world; I've put other books aside."—Anne Germanacos, author of Tribute

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

"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

"Ducornet's skill at drawing unexpected connections, and her ability to move between outrage and meditativeness, are gripping to behold."—Tobias Carroll, Star Tribune

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

"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

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Beauty’s power to rend the heart and sear the mind is the subject of Clarice Lispector’s The Imitation of the Rose, in which the repressed, mousy Laura, who has only just returned from “the perfection of the planet Mars,”6 is made to sip milk for safety’s sake, on the hour. Yet she must also relax! “Take things easy. . . . It doesn’t matter if I get fat,”7 Laura thinks, “beauty has never been the most important thing.”8 And yet nothing matters more to this woman who was raised in a convent and

opening pages I find: sea, firewater, whisky, rum; ocean, sea-talkers, sailors, mermen; moonshine, shellback, dancing ships; fish, mists, listing ships; foam, sea wolf, jellyfish; flood-lands, liquid amber, tears; starboard, sea worm, milky haze; hail, surf, tidewater, rain; sops, floating island, sponge, splashing, drifting . . . And I imagined a book bathed in light, light a sensuous medium that, like water, seeps into every crack. Chapters three and four take place in an underwater haze. The

In a poem Jara managed to write that was hidden in a friend’s shoe, are the lines, We are ten thousand hands Which can produce nothing Yet in that moment in hell, One dead, another beaten, As I could never have believed A human being could be beaten. Eros, its tree of life and serpent, triumphed—the serpent, that tireless emblem of inquiry and indignation; Jara wrote: What I see, I have never seen before. What I felt and what I feel, Will give birth to the moment. We are keepers, you

Egypt’s Thoth—the one who guards Death’s Portal, and who authored certain chapters of the Book of the Dead). He was exacting, malicious, and incontournable. But because I stood my ground he vanished; no trace of his acute gravity, nor his malevolence, haunted my first and last visit to . . . I have no idea where! After all, there was no there there. And yet I returned from virtuality to here—which is also a dubious place, its sands very quick, its Amazons shrinking, its gleaming fish and yielding

mystery of otherness and also—and evolution assures this—of likenesses. I am thinking of those instances over which we have no control, that surpass our wildest imaginings: here aesthetic intuition lies in ambush—fertile and dynamic, invigorated by delight. Like the sea, the moment—and it is forever—is upon us; the moment spills open. And we are here to receive it and bear witness. Her Bright Materials: The Art of Margie McDonald steel          wood boat plug          bronze fire hose

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