A baby that keeps losing its brain, a cow in a wedding gown, a woman whose chest is a radio — bizarre and whimsical figures populate the dreamlike prose poems of Russell Edson (1935-2014).
A seminal voice in American prose poetry from the sixties onward, Edson’s whole career is surveyed in a single volume edited for our times, presenting a new and contemporary view of a poet of startling imagination and strangeness. Craig Morgan Teicher calls us to witness Edson’s obsessions with the curious, the absurd, and the peculiar, and the ways in which they can haunt our daily lives. The prose poems in this collection mold our everyday into something extraordinary and unsettling.
Edson’s poems are surreal fables in which his characters experience all that life throws at them— marriage, parenthood, technological advances, aging, dying, the afterlife— through irreverent dialogue and vivid imagery in turns both humorous and grotesque. Russell Edson is a vital and ever-contemporary poet with a unique moral and comedic vision, whose literary career quietly yet definitively shaped the prose poetry subgenre as we know it now.
Praise for Little Mr. Prose Poem
"These off-kilter tales and tableaux balance the humorous and the serious, the macabre and the sweet, offering much beauty and endlessly startling turns to be explored."
—Publishers Weekly, ★ Starred Review
Excerpt from "Clouds"
A husband and wife climbed to the roof of their house, and each at the extremes of the ridge stood facing the other the while that the clouds took to form and reform.
The husband said, shall we do backward dives, and into windows floating come kissing in a central room?
I am standing on the bottom of an overturned boat, said the wife.
The husband said, shall I somersault along the ridge of the roof and up your legs and through your dress out of the neck of your dress to kiss you?
I am a roof statue on a temple in an archaeologist’s dream, said the wife.
The husband said, let us go down now and do what it is to make another come into the world.
Look, said the wife, the eternal clouds.
Publication Date: 10/25/2022