Mr Brain was a hermit dwarf who liked to eat
shellfish off the moon. He liked to go into a tree
then because there is a little height to see a
little further, which may reveal now the stone, a
pebble--it is a twig, it is nothing under the moon
that you can make sure of.
So Mr Brain opened his mouth to let a moonbeam into his head.
Art by Stephen Eiring
Russell Edson was born in Connecticut in 1935 and currently resides there
with his wife Frances. Edson, who jokingly has called himself "Little Mr.
Prose Poem," is inarguably the foremost writer of prose poetry in America,
having written exclusively in that form before it became fashionable. In a
forthcoming study of the American prose poem, Michel Delville suggests that
one of Edson's typical "recipes" for his prose poems involves a modern everyman who suddenly tumbles into an alternative reality in which he loses control over himself, sometimes to the point of
being irremediably absorbed--both figuratively and literally--by his
immediate and, most often, domestic everyday environment. . . . Constantly
fusing and confusing the banal and the bizarre, Edson delights in having a
seemingly innocuous situation undergo the most unlikely and uncanny
metamorphoses. . . .
Reclusive by nature, Edson has still managed to publish eleven books of
prose poems and one novel, The Song of Percival Peacock (available from
Coffee House Press). All of the following poems included in this personal website collection, except for "Sleep," "Accidents," "The Death of a Fly," and "Balls," are from The Tunnel:
Selected Poems (Field Editions, Oberlin College Press).
These poems were selected by Peter Johnson, editor of The Prose Poem: An International Journal.
A Work by Russell Edson: