For the past 40 years, Russell Edson has been producing a body of work unique in its perspective and singular in its approach. He is, arguably, America’s most distinguished writer of prose poems. Here are contorted Darwinian narratives of apes and monkeys exhibiting absurdly human behavior, along with his usual menagerie of elephants, horses, chickens, roosters, dogs, mermaids and mice. Along with his trademark humor, The Rooster’s Wife finds Edson contemplating age, mortality and immortality as well.
Of Memory and Distance
It’s a scientific fact that anyone entering the distance will grow smaller as he proceeds. Eventually becoming so small he might only be found with a microscope, if indeed he is found at all.
But there is a vanishing point, where anyone having entered the distance must disappear entirely without hope of his ever returning, leaving only the memory of his ever having been.
But then there is fiction, so that one can never really be sure if one is remembering someone who vanished into the distance, or simply who had been made of paper and ink . . .
Russell Edson has been called a surrealist comic genius, a magician of metaphor and imagination. He is all of these, and a philosophical poet whose zany expeditions into the twisted labyrinths of logic resemble Lewis Carroll’s adventures through the wonderlands of paradox and illusion. Perhaps that is why even people who do not read significant amounts of contemporary poetry can immediately appreciate the playful accessibility of Russell Edson’s writing. What he pulls out of the hat of the subconscious is always unpredictable, immediate and surprising.
Russell Edson’s books include The Very Thing That Happens (1964); The Childhood of an Equestrian (1973); The Tunnel: Selected Poems (1994); and The House of Sara Loo (Rain Taxi Chapbook Series, 2002). He lives in Darien, Connecticut.