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February 2001
96 pages  

5 1/2 x 7 1/2
9780822957638
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The Tormented Mirror
Poems
Edson, Russell
This is the first book in the Pitt Poetry Series by this popular and enigmatic poet, considered the foremost writer of prose poetry in America. In eleven collections over thirty years, Edson has created his own poetic genre, a surreal philosophical fable, easy to enter, but difficult to leave behind. In The Tormented Mirror, Edson continues and refines his form in seventy-three new poems.

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Russell Edson was a playwright, novelist, and poet. He authored eighteen previous poetry collections, including The Tormented Mirror, The Reason Why the Closet-Man is Never Sad, The Wounded Breakfast: Ten Poems, and The Tunnel: Selected Poems.
“Edson . . . is the writer as sleight-of-word trickster, the prestidigitator of the soul who pulls not rabbits but meanings out of the darkness inside the hat we call the universe. Magician, shaman, mystic, call him what you will—through his words he brings us back to primal definitions we have forgotten, so we can rediscover a wholeness of vision and sense of self we have lost in our pursuit of material comforts and conscious-deadening technologies.”—Morton Marcus, “The Prose Poem,” Web Del Sol (webdelsol.com)

“It is not surprising to discover . . . that Edson is an artist as well as a poet. His treatment of language is essentially plastic, verging at time on the cubistic.”—Poetry

“Edson is the undisputed master of the prose poem. . . . though his poems are nearly always accessible, dealing with the commonplace and commonness of life, they do so in highly uncommon ways, and our assumptions are continually being put topsy-turvy.”—Choice

“His prose poems are brief glimpses into a visionary world with haunting analogies to our own. The tone ranges from weird humor through the poignant and melancholy to the genuinely scary. The images are hard and clear.” —Library Journal

“With 10 previous collections to his credit, Edson is the godfather of the prose poem in America. His work sets a standard for prose poetry that few other practitioners can meet. Most of them don’t try, telling anecdotes and offering aesthetic and ethical musings in their prose poems instead of practicing the pure surrealism that is Edson’s forte. An Edson prose poem proceeds like a joke, beginning with an odd situation . . . developing with skewed logic, and concluding with some kind of surprise. But Edson’s jokes are dreamier than any stand-up comic’s, full of sexual and scatological twists and weird metamorphoses. They can elicit laughter, disgust, or both simultaneously, and they defy easy interpretation, for they lack overt symbolism. They are disturbing but often, especially in this book, as dazzling as a good Dali or De Chirico painting.”---Booklist

“Edson practices a surreal and often hilarious form of the prose poem, filled with elipses, talking animals, flying humans, contradictions, and coincidence. . . . The Tormented Mirror confirms Edson's artistry with the prose poem as a form; he continues to maintain a precarious balance between unfettered imagination and the observable world, both of which are often darker than they seem.”—ForeWord

With “The Tormented Mirror”, Edson once again shows himself to be a master of the prose poem ... Edson’s competent hands ... make the genre of prose poetry his own by the using the history of a tradition and opening it up for a contemporary audience.” --The Bloomsbury Review

“Edson’s poems, as always, are odd, mysterious and funny ... (The Tormented Mirror) should expand and deepen contemporary knowledge of the prose poem.”—Boston Review

“There is no tortured confessional postulating here. There are only worlds undiscoverd until now revealing themselves.”—Virginia Quarterly Review, Vol. 78, No. 2 Spring 2002

“For decades, Russell Edson has been producing a body of work unique in its perspective and singular in its approach. ... Readers of Edson will be delighted to his powers undiminished in this newest collection. —Harvard Review 22, Spring 2002

“Reaffirms [his] status as a unique and compelling voice. . .On some fundamental level, all of Edson’s poems are about human foibles and fears. In part, Edson’s subversive slapstick provides a means of tapping our deepest psychic reservoirs.”—Ian Brand, Another Chicago Magazine, fall 2003

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This is the first book in the Pitt Poetry Series by this popular and enigmatic poet, considered the foremost writer of prose poetry in America. In eleven collections over thirty years, Edson has created his own poetic genre, a surreal philosophical fable, easy to enter, but difficult to leave behind. In The Tormented Mirror, Edson continues and refines his form in seventy-three new poems.
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