Created by Roderick Coover

Research Assistants
Ian Markiewicz (Research Coordinator), Ellen Knechel, Bethany Mckenney, Chris Whitman

Meekus Wang, Michael Wilson, Roderick Coover


The writing in this work blends fact and fiction. It interwines actual diary accounts and published works of John Wesley Powell, George Bradley, John Sumner, and Frederick Dellenbaugh as well as primary visual works by E.O. Beaman, John Hillers, and Thomas Moran with new and original writing, artwork, and interactive devices.

The project was inspired by continuing discussions and collaborations with Lance Newman, who introduced me to the Canyonlands of the desert Southwest in the mid 1990s. A riverguide, poet, and scholar of environmental writing, Lance's viewpoints and counterpoints have guided me through the development of this project. He is also working with me as collaborator and co-producer on another work in these series. This project was also inspired by further voyages in the region following texts of Powell, Edward Abbey, and others.

My understanding of john Wesley Powell's achievements grows from some of the many excellent works in print about his life and the work of his crew and colleagues. Among these, I particularly recommend reading the works of John Cooley, William DeBuys, and Michael Ghiglieri. DeBuys is one of the clearest and most thoughtful writers on Powell's impact on thinking about the environment and sustainability in the arid West. Ghiglieri offers groundbreaking work in the analysis of original diaries of the rest of the crew on Powell's first trip, and his book, The Secret Journals & Letters of the 1869 Crew Who Explored the Green & Colorado River, provides excelllent further reading for those who wish to read more about the original voyage. Ghiglieri also draws out the unanswered questions surrounding the death of the three men who left the trip. As a riverguide, he adds a personal knowledge to his analysis of the primary descriptions. Late in the project, I was introduced to Elizabeth Child's thorough and delightful essay about art and photography in Powell's journeys. Her work confirmed many of the ideas I was developing in the latter sections of this work, and she offers a particularly good analysis of the relation between Powell's project and the art of Thomas Moran.

The completion of the project was supported by a grant from Temple University, which also helped support an excellent team of student assistants including Ian Markiewicz (Research Coordinator), Ellen Knechel, Bethany Mckenney, Chris Whitman and graphic artist, Meekus Wang. Funding also helped to support the work of the skilled Flash® designer/artist, Michael Wilson.

Last but not least, I thank friends Sarah Drury, Ian Hatcher, Holen Kahn, Jeff Rush, Stephanie Strickland, Deb Olin Unferth, and my family near and far for their generous observations and responses along the route.

This work is part of the project "Unknown Territories" connected with the Websites "", "", "" and "".


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© Roderick Coover 2008, all rights reserved.

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