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Lost and

Jeff Griffin

Publication Year: 2013

Ever since he was a child sitting in the back of his parents' car, Jeff Griffin has been taking explorative journeys into the desert. In 2007, as an art student, he started wandering the back roads of the Mojave Desert with the purpose of looking for a place to reflect in the harshly beautiful surroundings. What he found were widely scattered postmodern ruins—abandoned trailers and campers and improvised structures—whose vanished occupants had left behind, in their trash, an archaeological record of astonishing richness and poignancy.
Lost and is both a chronicle of Griffin’s obsessive journeying and a portal into a world of dispossessed people and enduring desires. Comprised entirely of unaltered reproductions of extraordinary found materials—drawings, charts, questionnaires, compulsively detailed letters, legal documents, jottings, journal entries, stunningly vivid and mysterious photographs—this is a work of sociological and literary daring that defies categorization. Part documentary history, part literary adventure, part mystical detective story, Griffin’s immersion in extremity has yielded wrenching annals of the modes and manners in which lost people inscribe their psychic, sexual, religious, and economic yearnings.
At the core of the work is a collection of poems, mostly handwritten and composed without pretense to literary sophistication, that give direct expression to the abiding impulse to tap language’s transformative potential. Assembled with deep regard for the dignity of its collective group of anonymous authors, Lost and is a book of profound conceptual originality—an engrossing, shocking, and tender work of art that strives to awaken voices from the wilderness of the inexpressible.

Published by: University of Iowa Press

Cover

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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

...Special thanks to Janet Griffin, Steve Griffin, Ron Griffin, Bryan Moss, Jason E. Smith, Mark Levine, and James Galvin. Some of these pieces have been previously published, sometimes in slightly different form, in the journals...

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Preface

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pp. xi-xii

...The following work I found discarded at various locations around the desert, mostly in abandoned trailers and homesteads, from 2010 to 2013. The pieces are either transcribed verbatim or scanned as is...

I. Brisbane Valley, California

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pp. 1-24

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II. East of Twentynine Palms, California

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pp. 25-42

...My husband has a problem controlling his anger. He will “blow up” at the smallest things. It is difficult on the entire family. I get especially upset when he fails to control his anger around our children. On many occasions he has thrown and broken things. Once he threw a plate over our older daughter’s head and it struck the wall and shattered, almost hitting her. Another time he threw a pop...

III. Lucerne Valley, California

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pp. 43-52

IV. Barstow–Yermo, California

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pp. 53-62

V. Lida Junction–Pahrump, Nevada

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pp. 63-116

VI. East of Fallon, Nevada

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pp. 117-144

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Afterword

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pp. 145-150

...Part archaeology, part scrapbook, part catalog of the modes and manners of representation available to subjects of postmodern American struggle, this work documents a journey through an underworld that adjoins our own familiar, ordered world, with which it comes to bear unnerving affinities. The book’s materials are brutally, literally, real, and the austerity of its means rejects alteration or fabrication...

Kuhl House Poets

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pp. 151-152


E-ISBN-13: 9781609382094
E-ISBN-10: 1609382099
Print-ISBN-13: 9781609381998
Print-ISBN-10: 1609381998

Page Count: 174
Illustrations: 1 drawing, 31 color photos, 2 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: 1st ed.
Series Title: Kuhl House Poets
Series Editor Byline: John Smith, Will Wordsworth