cover image Lost Wax: Essays

Lost Wax: Essays

Jericho Parms. Univ. of Georgia, $24.95 trade paper (168p) ISBN 978-0-8203-5015-8

Following the inspiration for this book’s title, the lost wax method for making cast sculpture, the essays in Parms’s delicately molded collection find their form and meaning through meditations on containers and absence. She writes about journeys and distance, freedom and captivity, the losses of pets and people, and “how material textures enclose our living impulses.” Parms’s prose is as elegant and studied as the classical sculpture she admires, making wonderful leaps and astonishing juxtapositions through which her precise, startling images emerge like etchings on glass. The individual essays, though varied in subject, return to certain pulse points: the ruptures of sudden violence, the “stagnant and familiar pool of grief,” the “secular bohemia” of her childhood, and the vagaries of language, of which there is “nothing more decadent or sacred, nothing more delicate or savage.” Her reveries on substance, color, and “the intricate grace of still life” provide models for creating art and capturing the line that makes understanding leap to life. “Interpretation lies at the mercy of the viewer,” Parms writes, but each entry here carries lessons on loss and memory, and on “how we come to know the materials of the body and the brain: the substance of being alive.” Illus. by author. (Sept.)