Friday, February 4

Q&A: Russell Edson fields a grounder

Mark Tursi: Is the choice to be a "hermit," at least in terms of the
poetry world,a political choice? That is, what are your reasons for
largely disengaging from the contemporary literary scene?

Edson: "Hermit" is one of the ways of life one naturally falls into
without even noticing it. A giraffe doesn't think of itself as a giraffe.
It just happens to be a giraffe without having to think about it.

Tursi: Another related question I've been thinking about has to do
with your fairly significant "underground" or "cult" following. There
are a lot of other poets, students, and literary-types that read your
work, and perhaps even more writers today who are clearly
influenced by your work. Yet, you are still largely marginalized by
the wider academic and literary community, and often not included
in the so-called canon. Why do you think this is?

Edson: If my work, as you put it, "is still largely marginalized by the
wider academic and literary community," it's probably because they
don't care for it. Being, as you suggest, somewhat of a hermit, I've
never thought of myself as marginal or mainstream, just happy to be
writing. Of course the literary community is very much a social club,
and I'm really too distracted for organized fun.

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