Read See Jack by Russell Edson Free Online
Book Title: See Jack|
The author of the book: Russell Edson
Date of issue: March 28th 2009
ISBN 13: 9780822960300
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 783 KB
Edition: University of Pittsburgh Press
Read full description of the books See Jack:Russell Edson (1935-2014) wrote and published his quizzical, surreal, distinctively Russell Edson-like prose poems for nearly 50 years. Reading one of his collections published back in the 50s, 60s, 70s or 80s you might think Russell would run out of ideas for these curious mustachioed eggs, but not so -- right through his ripe old age he could, like a farmer’s prize hen, still keep laying his eggs. And since his prose poems are half-pagers or one-pagers, nothing better than offering a sample for a taste test: below are several of the shortest from this collection, his last published book. Oh, Russell was also an illustrator and artist – Russell did the cover art for See Jack. Here you go:
AFTER THE CONCERT
After the concert the cellist takes his cello home and gets into bed with it.
He knows if his fellow musicians knew what he did at night with a cello old enough to be his great grandmother, they’d report him to the Humane Society.
But they don’t know, he thinks as he falls asleep, his face buried in the cello’s ancient bosom.
There was a woman whose face was a cow’s milk bag, a pink pouch with four dugs pointing out of it . . .
A man with a little three-legged milking stool comes. She stoops and he begins to milk her face . . .
A MAN WHO WENT FOR A WALK
There was a man who attached a collar and leash to his neck. And, holding the leash in one hand, took himself for a walk, lifting his leg every so often to mark his way.
He had only one eye. In the other socket was a belly button.
Oh, but not to worry, in his umbilical depression was his other eye fully equipped with eyelid and lashes. It even had tears for sad stories and onions.
But because his belly button, I mean his umbilical eye, was nearsighted, it wore a monocle ground for distant viewing.
He would stand at a window at night letting his belly button, I mean, his umbilical eye, view the moon as it flowed through the monocle into his belly button, I mean, his umbilical eye . . .
PORTRAIT OF A REALIST
There is an old man who pukes metal. Today bedsprings. Yesterday, the iron maiden of Nuremberg.
His wife is more for cloth. Today she pukes used mummy wrappings. Yesterday a teddy bear without a head.
Suddenly the old man pukes a battalion of lead soldiers. He wife upchucks a bundle of soiled diapers.
They have a son who’s also a puker. But, unlike his parents, he pukes real puke . . .
WAITING FOR THE FAT LADY TO SING
It was the longest opera ever written. By the time the fat lady sang most of the audience had died in their seats still holding their programs, the theater full of flies and microbes.
Some began to think that perhaps the opera was a bit long, that maybe the fat lady should start singing a little earlier so the audience might have time to write their wills, and to say goodbye to friends and family.
But the others felt, what better way to die than waiting for the fat lady to sing in the make-believe of theater, where nothing’s real, not the fat lady, nor even death . . .
Russell inspired me to write my own prose poems. Keeping with Russell’s themes above, here are a couple I wrote some time ago:
THE TIGHTROPE WALKER
Will the tightrope walker fall? Who can tell? Her torso and legs display an uncanny sense of balance. Nevertheless, there are some significant deterrents. Like the rolling pin she’s holding, the jumbo spheres with geometrical inscriptions squatting next to the net, an, oh yes . . . one end of the tightrope is fastened around her ankle.
THE THROW-UP CLUB
By a stroke of luck, my application for membership was accepted by the throw-up club. As a full-fledged member, I was allowed to join the club’s next meeting way out in the woods.
Once alone in the woods, all the members of the throw-up club could throw-up in peace. Starting in the morning and continuing until late afternoon, members took turns throwing up. After dinner, having that overly full and crapulous feeling, the throw-up club has a sing-along. Some members threw up before the songs, other members threw up after the songs, but all the members, including myself, observed restraint and proper decorum by not once throwing up during the songs.
Read information about the authorRussell 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).
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