Animals Strike Curious Poses, Elena Passarello


Animals Strike Curious Poses, Elena Passarello


Available for preorder only. Publication date February 28, 2017.

Beginning with Yuka, a 39,000 year old mummified woolly mammoth recently found in the Siberian permafrost, each of the 16 essays in Animals Strike Curious Poses investigates a different famous animal named and immortalized by humans. Modeled loosely after a medieval bestiary, these witty, playful, whipsmart essays traverse history, myth, science, and more, bringing each beast vibrantly to life.

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Elena Passarello is an actor, a writer, and recipient of a 2015 Whiting Award. Her first collection with Sarabande Books, Let Me Clear My Throat, won the gold medal for nonfiction at the 2013 Independent Publisher Awards and was a finalist for the 2014 Oregon Book Award. Her essays on performance, pop culture, and the natural world have been published in Oxford American, Slate, Creative Nonfiction, and The Iowa Review, among other publications, as well as in the 2015 anthologies Cat is Art Spelled Wrong and After Montaigne: Contemporary Essayists Cover the Essay. Passarello lives in Corvallis, Oregon and teaches at Oregon State University.

Praise for Animals Strike Curious Poses

“There is an agile intelligence at work. . . . as [Passarello] makes connections among disparate elements and wields keen perceptions on the creatures she encounters. There are some real dazzlers. Passarello manages to chronicle humanity's cavalier exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals without getting preachy in the process—no mean feat.”
Kirkus Reviews

Animals Strike Curious Poses turns the bestiary inside out, holds the mummified mammoth heart up against our own, and, from the braided ventricles, springboards into intoxicating and animated meditations on our penchant for ownership via naming, our drive to saddle the world and its creatures with our weary, ponderous patronymics, and the attendant and cockeyed faux-fame. This book is a gift to us from one of the best, most important, and most exciting essayists of the 21st century.”
Matthew Gavin Frank, author of The Mad Feast and Preparing the Ghost: An Essay Concerning the Giant Squid and Its First Photographer

“Let’s face it: animals are interesting, words are interesting. Put them together in arresting match-ups—Mozart and starling, Darwin and refugee tortoise, spider and astronaut, gorilla and lexicon, ‘endling’ and genetic futurist—as Passarello does in this delicious collection, and you get a gorgeous picture of a curious mind engaged beyond self-interest. As she digs around in the animal images buried inside us, she finds that ‘It is as if every animal a human brain has ever seen, it has swallowed.’ And we get to share here this fine and nourishing meal, artfully prepared, with her playful intelligence for company at the table. I am now forever in love with starlings and spiders and . . .” 
Alison Hawthorne Deming, author of Zoologies