Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Russell Edson plays the recorder

Excerpts from a 2004 interview. Find the whole thing here

NUVO: It seems that poets are often also visual artists.

Edson: That’s good. I have a theory that a lot of poets would do themselves a lot of good if they had another art they messed with — be it painting or whatever. A lot of our poets, they write, they teach, they write blurbs, they write some criticism, but they never get out of language. To be able to do something else is a nice thing.

NUVO: Do you have something else?

Edson: I play an instrument.

NUVO: What instrument do you play?

Edson: I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it. It’s called the recorder. One term for it is a “block flute.” The fingering on it is the pattern for the clarinet, oboes and all kinds of other instruments. It’s very complex, the fingering on a recorder. I don’t know if you’ve played one.

NUVO: What kind of music do you play on your recorder?

Edson: Bach. I play Bach. He wrote for the recorder, you know.

NUVO: I bet that’s relaxing when you’ve been working on poems.

Edson: When I don’t want to think about anything, I just play a recorder.


NUVO: There’s not a lot of information about you available, even on the Internet. I understand you don’t get out too much.

Edson: I’m known as a hermit, a recluse.

NUVO: How’s that work?

Edson: It works well. The only problem is the cave gets all full of bones.