Quite recently I reviewed a book of poetry that I didn’t much enjoy. I’d prefer not to mention it by name as it doesn’t need any sort of promotion (even bad publicity). But what that book thought it was (according to the author), this book is. And that is: Poetry of a most unusual sort, out of the ordinary … extra-ordinary.
Jeff Griffin hasn’t written a book of poetry as much as he has ‘collected’ a book of poetry by people who haven’t realized what they have helped to create. Griffin has collected scattered papers from abandoned homes and trailers around the desert and selected a few to present here. It is moving and whimsical and a masterful method of identifying what it means to be ‘man.’
Right from the start, I was hooked with “a budgie’s linguistic development.” What a great assortment of words and meanings! Once hooked, I didn’t want to finish the book and read through it in one, patient sitting. It was a voyeuristic feeling, peeking in on the private writings of those not intending to be published. The twenty pages of letters and notes to and from Est’ee and Tony, detailing their love and fear and physical abuse, were mesmerizing and ended with the simple drawing “How to set a table” that was itself tremendously powerful and lonely.
The inclusion of well-selected photographs is beautiful. The images of a construction site, taken from indoors with ghostly reflections of the photographer is a haunted moment of time, frozen in the faded colors of a cheap print.
The title itself, Lost and, suggests something that isn’t finished, which is a perfect metaphor for what Griffin has done. There will continue to be people picking up and leaving pieces of themselves behind, as long as there will always be greener pastures or the possibilities of a better life somewhere else. And the struggles that mankind faces, those of Tony and Est’ee and all those others represented here, are eternal struggles that aren’t likely to have an end, until man himself is finished.
Looking for a good book? This poetic collection, Lost and, by Jeff Griffin, is a beautiful assortment of ‘found’ poetry and philosophy.
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author: Jeff Griffin
publisher: University of Iowa Press
paperback, 170 pages