Russell Edson and “The Tunnel”

I tweeted this earlier this week, but wanted a little more room to stretch my legs on this thought:

Have been recently turned on to the prose poetry of Russell Edson in his collection “The Tunnel.” Savoring this magically challenging work.

Oh, it’s been a long time since I’ve been so stirred by a particular writer or work.

I’ve learned a lot about myself and my reading habits as well as my writing habits this year. I’ve really started trying to be an excited reader again; countless semesters of reading for school instead of pleasure can really take that out of you. But even knowing that I had become a grumpy reader, asking a book to meet me where I was instead of going to it, I still find a lot of the bestseller material to be trite – the same old characters repackaged and settled into the same old towns. Today’s popular literature seems to be all about twists at the end, and it’s hard not to get bored during the setup.

Russell Edson, though… Well, he came out and met me where I was, then said, “hey, let’s keep walking this direction and see what we find.” An enthusiastic reader who wants to see the impossibility of the world, of single moments, of unknowable feelings, that reader will love Russell Edson.

I want desperately to tear through this book, to gobble up every word as quickly as possible. But I can’t, because each piece of prose poetry here should be absorbed slowly, savored, considered on its own. I’ve started reading it almost as I would a devotional: one piece per day. And thus far, just as would be expected from a devotional, I walk away learning something new about the author, about myself, about the world I inhabit and how I walk in it.


One response to this post.

  1. Not prose poetry, but if you want savory reading, try Jeffrey Lent (In The Fall, Lost Nation). Each sentence is a meal. Each paragraph leaves me stuffed. After savoring every sentence of In The Fall, I made the mistake of reading The Davinci Code, which left me starving…


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