Circus Rex


Product Details

$18.99  $17.66
Calumet Editions
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 0.63 inches | 0.91 pounds

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About the Author

Loren Niemi has spent forty-five years as a professional storyteller creating, collecting, performing, teaching and writing about what it means to be human. He has served as the Humanities Scholar in Residence for Northern Minnesota, been the ringmaster and tour manager of In the Heart of the Beast Puppet & Mask Theatre's Circle of Water Circus, and spent twenty-five years performing with Kevin Kling and Michael Sommers in the iconic performance art trio "Bad Jazz." In 2016 he received the National Storytelling Network's Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2020, he founded the American School of Storytelling, providing online classes in traditional, personal and applied storytelling narratives and in-person oral narrative workshops and performances.He is the co-author, with Elizabeth Ellis, of the critically acclaimed Inviting the Wolf In: Thinking About Difficult Stories on the value and necessity of the stories that are hard to hear and harder to tell and the author of two award-winning books on crafting narrative: The New Book of Plots, and Point of View and the Emotional Arc of Stories which he co-authored with Nancy Donoval. His collection of non-traditional "ghost" stories, What Haunts Us, won a 2020 Midwest Book Award for Sci-Fi/Horror/Fantasy/Paranormal fiction. His most recent book, A Breviary for the Lost, a poetic memoir of his seven years in a Catholic religious order.Loren has a BA in Philosophy and Studio Arts from St. Mary's University, Winona, Minnesota, and a MA in Liberal Studies/American Culture from Hamline University, St. Paul, Minnesota. He taught storytelling for twenty-six years in the Communications and Theater Programs of Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, Minnesota, and at workshops across the country.


Loren's use of literal and nonliteral utterances requires the reader to go beyond what is said to infer what is meant. A gifted unreliable narrator, we sift through the myriad of images and landscapes. Still, we are perplexed from beginning to end and prepared to pull out whatever hair we may have on our head when the last word is read. The clues are clear: Circus Rex is a masterpiece in fun.

-Hank Roubicek, Professor, Radio Personality, Storyteller and Author

If the Cliff Notes edition for Circus Rex existed, it would be useless. Simply do the easiest and most productive thing: Enjoy the hell out of Loren's brilliance as a storyteller.

-Hank Roubicek, Professor, Radio Personality, Storyteller and Author

Yeah baby! You know how I feel. I wanna put on my tap shoes and give it a ride!

-Kevin Kling

Circus Rex is not only Loren Niemi's best book, it's also his most ambitious. Niemi is important to Midwestern writers because his clever wit helps remind the rest of the nation that you can live in "flyover country" and still have an edge. Who should read Circus Rex? Anyone who enjoys Johnathan Franzen and John Irving books. Anyone who enjoys the journey more than the outcome. Circus Rex is clever. Circus Rex is fresh. Circus Rex is one of the five best books you'll read this year. Trust me...

-Danny Klecko, author of Hitman-Baker-Casketmaker, Lincolnland and The Dead Fitzgeralds