Volume Four: Rikki Ducornet

Rikki Ducornet festschriftRikki Ducornet is a magical surrealist, postmodern fabulist, multi-talented artist and poet, and author of several novels ripe with epicurean vocabulary, vivid and outrageous imagery, fantastically arcane trivia and erudition, and Rabelaisian re-imaginings of history, among them the Carteresque hellfire of The Stain, the Lewis Carroll homage and wonder-of-wonders The Jade Cabinet, and the beautiful, slowly unfurling heart-attack, Netsuke. Across her career, spanning four decades, Ducornet has pursued her inexhaustible obsession with Eros, the violence of the Marquis de Sade and other monsters, and the enchantment of the wunderkammern. The fourth VP festschrift, including critical essays, personal memoirs, fiction homages, and two in-depth interviews, explores Ducornet’s passions and obsessions, with particular attention to her novels, illuminating the unforgettable work of a “linguistically explosive” author whose “vocabulary sweats with a kind of lyrical heat” (NY Times). CONTRIBUTORS: Forrest Aguirre, Ricco Barbels, Mary Caponegro, Robert Coover, Rikki Ducornet, Tammy Dasti, Mike J. Emmons, Brian Evenson, Allan Guttmann, Lily Hoang, Joanna Howard, Laird Hunt, Carolyn Kuebler, Nadine Mainold, Steven Moore, Warren Motte, Michelle Ryan-Sautour, Eleni Sikelianos, Raymond L. Williams, and Igo Wodan.

“For those who know her, Rikki Ducornet’s very name signifies enchantment and her works induce a state of rapture.” — Michael Silverblatt, KCRW Bookworm

“The first time I met Rikki Ducornet I could not say a word. This was no fairy tale. I was just a girl with nothing to say in the presence of genius. The Complete Butcher’s Tales had been, by that time, for several years a truly mystical volume for me — a magic tablet — a prayer book that I had devoured over and over again. I could not stay away from it. So perfect. Immodest, hilarious, horrible, mystical, cold, heated up with every sorrow and desire one could imagine. Its words welcomed unwelcome thoughts — I never knew such a thing was possible in a new fairy-tale book, and I was illumined, excited, driven mad in the best way, the way a person wants to feel when a person is reading. ‘A book is above all a place to think,’ Rikki Ducornet explains in ‘The Deep Zoo’ (one of the most important essays of the 21st century). Reading The Complete Butcher’s Tales was one of the first adult reading experiences I had where I felt the electric vibration of thinking — the author was thinking and making me think. A fairy-tale author, and also a woman. And I loved it — I fell in love with the author, as well. The cover bears Rikki’s strikingly beautiful visage, so she herself or so I imagined gazed into my bedroom for months into the dark room as dark dreams filled my worrisome head. I would wake and, with a flashlight, so as not to disturb my companion, I would read her dark and beautiful words. Rikki’s language sings as a glorious ghost might at a seance, a nursery rhyme of a song scolding its foolish listeners that this is not a game and they are not rising to the occasion of life. And here, at a ridiculous restaurant, full of ridiculous people at a ridiculous conference, was the author: in person she was as mesmerizing as inside of her books. We were seated at a light-drenched table populated by fancy people from a foundation. It was too hot. The light was ungrateful, unforgiving. I felt ill. In the presence of genius one often feels poorly at first because it’s so unfamiliar; so often we are really not in the presence of genius at all, whatsoever. The foundation people were ravished by her. Why was I there? I can’t even remember. Who had invited me? Suddenly I feared I was an unwelcome guest —in the wrong lecture hall, with no sharpened pencil, delivered a test. No, I was not in my element, and here was this elemental artist beside me — the sun hit my eyes at a terrible angle, its sharp brightness stole my vision and somehow, as in a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, also my voice. But I was not in a Hans Christian Andersen story, he would have turned me into vapor. Sent me up into the sun to burn a hot and fiery (but happy!) death. Thankfully, no: I was in a Rikki Ducornet tale. And so the queen reached a hand toward my face, touched my cheek, and said, improbably, perfectly, which we all know never happens in real life, ‘You have the most beautiful eyes.’ I did not deserve it, in the way that our time does not deserve Rikki. We have not earned her.  We have not done the work.  We are not spectacular thinkers. Yet still she gives us her words. Why? Because we need her.  That’s what saints do. In a world grossly populated with punishing human thoughts and behaviors, Rikki reminds us we have permission to dream ourselves out of this mess. First, we must abandon ourselves. In her hands, we can be sentient dreamers. This book is above all a place to think about Rikki — to shine a bright, grateful light on her Vision. To think, to think how lucky we are. This festschrift, this wonderful book, is above all a place to think about Rikki — to shine a bright, grateful light on her Vision. The contributors have done a miraculous job celebrating the work of an unspeakably beautiful, significant artist, thinker, and friend.” — Kate Bernheimer, author of Horse, Flower, Bird

Release Date: Dec 18th, 2015.  ISBN: 9789810967635. 248pp. Available from all booksellers and usual online retailers.

Pricing Information:

Paperback: GBP9.99 + postage GBP2.00 within UK, US, AU, CAN, EU, ZA, NZ, IN and SG. .

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