A slight man, a stooped man, a great sort of kidder on the stage, taking nothing about his reading seriously and having for himself a grand old time since the audience was glad to join along with him in taking nothing seriously, so if you know his poems, and prose poems, you can just imagine what sort of delicious madcap cookie was made at this reading.
First he was nervous and resistant, then he was welcomed by the audience and he welcomed back the audience, then we couldn't get him off the stage.
It helped the reader tremendously that the audience was mainly young men, maybe one or two with a girlfriend, but for the most part it was a male thing and none seemed familiar with Russell Edson's poetry and that fit right into his hands to bring them into his chaos and adventure. It was like watching a child holding a loaded shotgun.
We weren't in a basement, but it looked an awful lot like where The Beatles when they first started out in Liverpool at The Cavern. Dungeon lighting. It could have even been stone escarpment walls, low ceiling, everybody snorting and hooting and naturally enough Edson is rolling out one of his poems about an ape.
You had to be there. We won't be any more.
[ BA ]
an interview with Russell Edson ~