Dakron, Ron 1953–
Dakron, Ron 1953–
PERSONAL: Born September 30, 1953, in Chicago, IL. Religion: "Atheist." Hobbies and other interests: Scuba diving, history, biography.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Black Heron Press, P.O. Box 95676, Seattle, WA 98145. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Writer and poet. Has worked a variety of odd jobs, including street musician and industrial painter.
AWARDS, HONORS: King County Fiction Prize, 1991, for Newt.
Infra (novel), Black Heron Press (Seattle, WA), 1987.
Given Nightingale Sleep (poems), Black Heron Press (Seattle, WA), 1989.
Newt (novel), Black Heron Press (Seattle, WA), 1992.
Hammers (novel), Black Heron Press (Seattle, WA), 1998.
Also author of self-published poetry chapbooks, including Medusa's Brat and What's new, what's new.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A novel based on B-movie monster themes, for Black Heron, tentatively titled Mantids.
SIDELIGHTS: Ron Dakron is a poet turned novelist whose fiction-writing style, greatly influence by his background as a lyricist, has been described as difficult yet rewarding by a number of critics. Growing up in a suburb of Chicago, he attended college for two years before moving to Seattle, Washington. In Seattle he held a number of odd jobs, occasionally indulged in drugs, and enjoyed a cultural atmosphere that has since faded from the scene. His interest in poetry began in his teens, when he experimented with song lyrics. "My entire approach to poetry came first out of popular song lyrics," he told an interviewer on the Black Heron Web site. While in his twenties, he tried to publish his verses but found little success. Although he produced some self-published collections, he felt he might have better luck with prose, and so he turned to novel writing.
Dakron's first novel, Infra, is a tale of "obsession, vengeance, innocence turned inside out, sex and death," according to Ergo reviewer Nora Rourke. The author described the book to CA as a story about "a tormented lover on a revenge hunt through a noire-infested Europe." Though Rourke felt the plot made for a "good read," the reviewer emphasized that the main attraction is the author's use of language, resulting in "a sex and violence story told more in dream and nightmare."
According to Dakron, Newt "follows a young Bahamian woman's incestuous past until it dooms her present hopes for love." The novel focuses on the ill-fated relationship between the sculptor/bartender of the title and a mulatto woman named Alysha whose tortured past includes an incestuous relationship with her father. The young woman's father is dead when the book begins, but Alysha still believes he pursues her. Again, Dakron's poetic language captured the attention of several reviewers. A critic for Reflex magazine, calling Newt a "more successful" effort than Infra, noted that "language may be the real protagonist here." John Jacob, writing in American Book Review, commented that Dakron's style can make for difficult reading but added that "what intrigued me most was Dakron's ability to ensconce his narrative in the minds of both characters without losing the closeness of a limited omniscient narrative."
With Hammers the author took an unusual turn in his narrative tactics, writing a kind of mock science-fiction tale about people who have been turned into hammerhead sharks. This premise, as he revealed to CA, masks another goal of the book: "Hammers is a literary fiction novel sneaking into the bookstores under the guise of science fiction. The work concerns itself with identity, the attractions of evil, and the shark as our icon of absolute hunger." He explained that the novel "takes six Seattleites on a genetic ride into animal form…. In [writing] Hammers I explore the unique world under the waves—I logged nearly forty scuba dives in researching this work, diving off various points in the Puget Sound area. The power and vitality of this underwater world seduces each character into becoming [his or her] animalistic self." A Publishers Weekly contributor believed that sometimes Dakron's "experimentalist affectations" get in the way of "a writer with a fine ear and plenty of gusto."
As Dakron told CA, "All of my novels have placed one or more characters in an exotic locale, where they undergo personal stress and crisis. The strangeness of the locale is mirrored in the tumult of the individual's soul…. Besides locale and character, my prose is (hopefully) a hybrid of modern and ancient poetic sonics. American prose is a sumptuous language, imbued with the slang and poetry of the ethnic groups in America who have spoken it. My novels (and poetry) ride this unique speech form through the myriad sonic hoops and spangles it contains, to wrestle out a hybrid uniquely my own.
"Although my novels are fictional in terms of character and plot, I do let my own life, my passions and frustrations, become partially those of my characters. I don't model my characters on myself; rather, I let them become composites of behavioral traits I note in myself and others. Like all true comedy or tragedy, hopefully the action flows naturally from those psychic fissures that life causes in every human."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Book Review, June-July, 1993, John Jacob, "Alive and Well," review of Newt, p. 22.
Ergo, 1987, Nora Rourke, review of Infra, p. 19.
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 1997, review of Hammers.
Publishers Weekly, September 8, 1997, review of Hammers, p. 60.
Reflex, January-February, 1992, review of Newt, p. 27.
Black Heron Press Web site, http://mav.net/blackheron/ (May 12, 2005), "Ron Dakron."
Ron Dakron Home Page, http://www.rondakron.com (May 12, 2005).