Russell Edson

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Russell Edson (1935 – April 29, 2014) was an American poet, novelist, writer, and illustrator. He was the son of the cartoonist-screenwriter Gus Edson.

He studied art early in life and attended the Art Students League as a teenager. He began publishing poetry in the 1960s. His honors as a poet include a Guggenheim fellowship,[1] a Whiting Award, and several fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.[2]


Early on, Edson self-published several chapbooks and later, numerous collections of prose poetry, fables, two novels, Gulping's Recital and The Song of Percival Peacock, and a book of plays under the title, The Falling Sickness. His final book was See Jack (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009).

He lived in Darien, Connecticut with his wife Frances.[3][4]

Selected bibliography[edit]

Full-length prose poetry collections

  • See Jack (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009)
  • The Rooster's Wife: Poems (BOA Editions, Ltd., 2005)
  • The Tormented Mirror (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2001)
  • The Tunnel: Selected Poems of Russell Edson (Oberlin College Press, 1994)
  • The Wounded Breakfast (Wesleyan University Press, 1985)
  • With Sincerest Regrets (Burning Deck Press, 1980)
  • The Reason Why the Closet-Man Is Never Sad (Wesleyan University Press, 1977)
  • Edson's Mentality (OINK! Press, 1977)
  • The Intuitive Journey and Other Works (Harper & Row, 1976)
  • Gulping's Recital (Guignol Books, 1984)
  • The Clam Theater (Wesleyan University Press, 1973)
  • The Childhood Of An Equestrian (Harper & Row, 1973)
  • Ceremonies in Bachelor Space (1951)


  • Wuck Wuck Wuck! (with linocut by Richard Mock, Red Ozier Press, 1984)


Short Stories & Fables

  • Tick Tock: Short Stories (illustrated with woodcuts, Demitasse/Coffee House Press, 1992)
  • What a Man Can See: Fables (with drawings by Ray Johnson, 1969)
  • The Brain Kitchen: Writings and Woodcuts (Thing Press, 1965)
  • The Very Thing That Happens: Fables and Drawings (New Directions Publishing, 1964)
  • Appearances: Fables and Drawings (Thing Press, 1961)
  • A Stone Is Nobody's: Fables and Drawings (Thing Press, 1961)



  • Ketchup opera in 2 acts. Text By Russell Edson, music by Franklin Stover. Scored for 2 voices & chamber orchestra.
  • The Song of Percival Peacock - an entertainment for reed quintet and narrator set to prose poems of Russell Edson, by Franklin Stover. (Edition Hohenstaufen, 2017)

Honors and awards[edit]

  • 1992 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship[6]
  • 1989 Whiting Award
  • 1981 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship
  • 1976 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship
  • 1974 Guggenheim Fellowship


External links[edit]