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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 15, 2006

NOTE: If you reached this page in error and are looking for the release titled Hancher Hosts Reception For Elementary Art Exhibition Feb. 26, click here. The links to these two stories was inadvertently switched in the Feb. 15, 2006 UI News Digest. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Prose-Poet Russell Edson Reads At UI Feb. 27

The University of Iowa Writers' Workshop will present a free reading by Russell Edson, a distinctive voice in American poetry for more than 40 years, at 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27 in Room S401 of the John Pappajohn Business Building.

As a result of his playful and accessible prose poems, Edson has been called a "surrealist comic genius" and "a magician of metaphor and imagination," and his work has been hailed as "some of the most original American art of the 20th century." His expeditions into the labyrinths of logic have been compared to Lewis Carroll's adventures through the wonderlands of paradox and illusion.

His books include "The Very Thing That Happens," "The Childhood of an Equestrian," "The Tunnel: Selected Poems" and "The House of Sara Loo."

A review in Rain Taxi observed that Edson "occupies a closet in the house of American poetry that most readers (and writers) dare not even open. . . . Edson is not merely an offbeat original but a profound contemporary poet deserving of wider recognition."

A review by Ray Olson in Booklist explains, "Other American poets of Edson's now almost elderly generation have written and still write prose poems, but Edson has written precious little else. Perhaps his persistence accounts for him being the only American prose poet most readers can recall. Or perhaps his memorability stems from his reliability as a surrealist.

"Like dreams, Edson's prose poems are directly and indirectly concerned with feelings customarily suppressed during wakefulness, whose content is violent, scatological, and, especially, sexual. An Edson prose poem, however amusing and ridiculous -- however joke-like -- it may be, is disturbing. The line between acceptable and forbidden appetites is definitely skirted. Laughter never blunts the edges of Edson's elegantly maculate conceptions"

The Writers' Workshop is a graduate program in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073,