Russell Edson

Russell Edson

Russell Edson was very, very funny. I’ve heard a rumor that one day he just decided to become a poet, and so he did. I believe this is true. He is a serious and quiet man, and many people in attendance didn’t appear to know what to make of him because he wasn’t what we expected. Silence is funny. And he began by standing in front of the room sucking on a cough drop and shuffling papers quietly. He said he didn’t want to begin because that would mean he’d have to go through with the whole thing. His poems were often funny. Some were seemingly serious, and he read them seriously, but some people laughed at these, and the ones who didn’t laugh wondered what was so funny. Other poems were very funny, like about pianos pooping, and the majority of the people laughed at them, including Russell Edson. The people who didn’t laugh at these funny poems wondered what serious aspect they had overlooked. The nicer a person was dressed, the more often he or she laughed at the wrong time; this illustrates something important about Russell Edson’s work. When the poem is funny, it’s because it is funny. Edson’s poems are very good to be read aloud because they don’t need extensive analyzation before some meaning can be extracted. If the poem is sad, it broadcasts sadness, and if the poem is wonderful, it broadcasts wonder. For those who heard the poems, the messages were clear, but for those who truly listened, there was no message – and those people laughed at the wrong times. The most pleasurable part was hearing Edson stop mid-line and declare that what he wrote was simply hideous and that he wishes he had written something else instead. Then he’d shake his head and continue.

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