BK Loren’s ANIMAL MINERAL RADICAL: A FLOCK OF ESSAYS ON WILDLIFE, FAMILY & FOOD

Counterpoint Press, softcover, 176 pp, $16.95

“THE POWER OF CONNECTION THAT GRAZED ME”

By Annie Dawid

Gustave Flaubert, the great French nineteenth century novelist, author of Madame Bovary and other classics, declared that his goal was “to write a beautiful sentence.”

Following that tradition, BK Loren, in her first book of non-fiction, writes paragraphs brimming with beautiful sentences, compelling her reader to follow her sometimes tragic, often humorous trajectory through family, illness, love, Nature, death, and birth.

I would like to learn from water, the way it penetrates without force, the way it    wears away all that is solid, stubborn, immutable, the way it understands time, the            way rivers tick ahead constantly without praying for immortality, the way they are      full at every moment, though we see them rise and fall, the way water connects      islands without destroying solitude, the subtle connections between, the silence of water.

Loren’s “flock of essays” – 12 of the 13 previously published in journals and anthologies – strays from the personal to the political, the sexual to the scientific, the best of them gathering multiple ideas like parti-colored lambs into one gorgeous herd.

“My father was a military man; in his assessment, I was a hippie.” Raised in Colorado near Rocky Flats, Loren charts a career from rural rituals like rattler gazing with her brother to suburban high school “joyrides” of bravado and danger to urban loneliness – including the story of the homeless Carlos who befriends her before being murdered by young male “hominids” – eventually circling back to where she came from, finding home and health with her partner, Lisa.

Health comes only after illness – her own and her mother’s and father’s and brother’s – some of it related to the Flats. “Three months after I was born, a massive fire struck the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons facility.” Various unsuccessful attempts to extinguish it are followed by the last resort: “several hundreds of acres of earth were saturated in water.” A week later, “in a single day, emissions registered 16,000 times the permissible level – a full 50 years’ worth of the allowable quota.”

Virginia Woolf wrote: “The beauty of the world has two edges: one of laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder.” In Animal, Mineral, Radical, all edges of beauty appear, delineating both the sacred and profane.

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About Annie Dawid

Annie Dawid teaches creative writing at the University College, University of Denver. She was professor of English and Director of Creative Writing at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR, 1990-2006. Annie won the 2016 International Rubery Award in fiction for her first book and the Music Prize from Knuthouse Press in Fiction. Other awards include the Dana Award in the Essay, the Orlando Flash Fiction Award, The New Rocky Mountain Voices Award (drama) and the Northern Colorado Award in Creative Non-Fiction. Most recent publications: Tikkun, Litro, Fictive Dream. Multiple websites feature her short works, including TubeFlash, Spelk, Octavius, Nowhere, WeSaidGoTravel, Structo, Fiction Attic Press and others. Her three published volumes of fiction are: York Ferry: A Novel, Cane Hill Press, 1993, second printing Lily in the Desert: Stories, Carnegie-Mellon University Press, 2001 And Darkness Was Under His Feet: Stories of a Family, Litchfield Review Press, 2009
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One Response to BK Loren’s ANIMAL MINERAL RADICAL: A FLOCK OF ESSAYS ON WILDLIFE, FAMILY & FOOD

  1. I had the opportunity to meet BK Loren at the recent Colorado Author League Craft Fair that Writers Studio hosted at Arapahoe Community College. The attendees were buzzing about BK’s terrific workshop. Her essays are gorgeous and I got to hear the inside information that BK is working with Hollywood on a screenplay of her first novel, Theft.

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