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The Tormented Mirror

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  161 ratings  ·  12 reviews
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- ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published February 22nd 2001 by University of Pittsburgh Press (first published 2001)
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Glenn Russell

As a novelist works with plot and characters, as a poet plays with words and metaphor, so Russell Edson in his prose poems tools images in oddball combinations. So, if we encounter a man sitting in his chair, the man’s hand could grow potato fingers, his hair stand up straight held in a magician’s trance or his chair could sprout chicken feathers, give birth to old women, play the harmonica or attack the man out of spite. Either this flavor of humor, subtle philosophy and continual metamorphosis
In this collection of prose poems, Mr. Edson gives the reader excellent examples of all the manifestations this modern form has taken. He uses their mystical and fable-like qualities to take cultural clichés and retell them (“Sweet Tooth,” 11; “The Flowerpot,” 13). The sometimes humorous tone is used as social satire (“The Clock,” 38). The parallelism of the language and sentence structure charges some of the best pieces with rich double entendre (“Madam’s Heart,” 29). But, most telling, is the ...more
Mark Baumer
This didn't feel as good as "the very thing that happens". It felt like all the stories should have ended in a rimshot, like it was telling me, "Did you see what I did there." This collection felt more calculated in a way to tell people, "Hey, I'm clever." Don't mean to pile up on it though. It was still good. Will read other stuff by Edson.

I laughed at this part:
"After going through an inventory of names they decided to name their daughter Testicle after one of the father's glands. And since Te
Jul 22, 2008 Susan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of prose poetry, American literature, Russell Edson
Shelves: poetry, 2008read
Edson is amazing. Sometimes I would like to see the world through his eyes. He has such a unique way of looking at relationships between people, between things, and he doesn't shy away from the difficult or strange or disgusting, a trait that I always admire in writers. Definitely one of the most exciting writers of prose poetry I've ever read. I think he has a novel and a play as well that I'm dying to read.

Only reason I give this a minus is because I think he overuses some of his themes someti
Justin Griffin
Edson has changed the way I think about poetry. I did an oral presentation on him for school...very interesting person indeed. My wife bought me this one, for which I have thanked her many times. It's fairly recent...2001 I guess. He certainly has not lost his voice.
Edson is not for everyone, but if you like quirky and weird, you will like his prose poetry. He is as unique and original as they get. Thee poems turn inward and end up reflecting on just what you didn't expect. And fun to read, too.
Josiah Miller
Another fantastic installment of absurd prose poems.
love love wacky love
Joana Monteiro
what the hell have I been reading.....
May 10, 2011 Matt rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
Pretty weird stuff, more prose than poetry, but a good solid 8 laugh-out-loud moments. The double entendres and symmetry word play didn't consistently work for me, but when it did, it was hilarious.
Sep 19, 2007 MikeCro added it
Recommends it for: Drunks
It's nice - it really gets your imagination going.
Edson is the master of cryptic prose poems
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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 "re ...more
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