Lost Wax

Jericho Parms

Coming-of-age essays that examine the ways that life, art, and memory intersect


"The intricacies involved in the weaving of these 18 luminous essays in Lost Wax will please even the most fastidious Virgo. . . . Written in the galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, each sentence is carved like a sculpture."
—Kelly McMasters, Oprah.com

“The essays in Jericho Parms’s Lost Wax read exquisitely as poems, each piece a lyrical moment resplendent with imagery. In a work punctuated by art and music, and tinged with drama and heartache, Parms retraces her steps through the family rooms of her youth, across the galleries of adulthood, to create a portrait of a cultured life borne out of curiosity and relentless wonder.”
—Rigoberto González, author of Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa

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For her collection Lost Wax, Jericho Parms borrows her title from a casting method used by sculptors. As such, these eighteen essays, centered on art and memory, offer an investigation into form and content and the language of innocence, experience, and loss. Four sections (each borrowing names from the sculptures of Degas, Bernini, and Rodin) frame a series of meditations that consider the boundaries of the discernible world and the extremes of the body and the self. Here Parms draws heavily on memories of a Bronx upbringing in the 1980s and 1990s; explorations in Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and the American West; the struggle to comprehend race, love, family, madness, and nostalgia; and the unending influence of art, poetry, and music.

Written largely within the galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lost Wax is an inquiry into the ways we curate memory and human experience despite the limits of observation and language. In these essays, Parms exhibits and examines her greatest obsessions: how to describe the surface of marble or bronze; how to embrace the necessary complexities of identity, stillness and movement, life and death—how to be young and alive.

Crux: The Georgia Series in Literary Nonfiction

Page count: 168 pp.
4 b&w illustrations
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5


List price: $24.95

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Jericho Parms is the assistant director of the MFA writing program at Vermont College of Fine Arts and teaches at Champlain College. Her essays have appeared in Fourth Genre, the Normal School, Hotel Amerika, the American Literary Review, Brevity, and elsewhere.