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The Tormented Mirror

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


This is the first book in the Pitt Poetry Series by this popular and enigmatic poet, considered the foremost writer of prose poetry in America. In eleven collections over thirty years, Edson has created his own poetic genre, a surreal philosophical fable, easy to enter, but difficult to leave behind. In The Tormented Mirror, Edson continues and refines his form in seventy-three new poems.

From Publishers Weekly

Apr 16, 2001 – To echo Mark Twain's famous warning to his readers, attempting to locate a motive, moral or plot in any of these 73 miniature narrative poems is ill-advised. "The Babies" begins: "He wanted to know what she had in her blouse that heaved so nicely when she moved./ My babies, she said as she opened her blouse and showed him her breasts." The poem does not develop much further, and the rest of the work here pointedly does not boast much more sophistication. Like carnival mirrors in which images are distorted and exaggerated for low entertainment, the images they reflect are vulgar and most often sexist: "The Flower Pot" asks "wouldn't the nice gentleman like to drop a seed or two into an old lady's flowerpot?"; "Night Song" clarifies the fact that "If mice are interested in human hair it is the hair found at the lower end of a woman's torso. They love the idea of secret passageways." When the circus actually does come to town, it's an occasion for remembering how "the last time... it left a fat lady dumped on the sidewalk like a pile of varicose cottage cheese wearing lingerie." None of this is a departure for Edson, who, in over 12 small-press books of similar vignettes (selected by Oberlin in The Tunnel) and a novel (The Song of Percival Peacock, from Coffee House), has taken Ivy Compton-Burnett style domestic strife and banter further than most might care to go. The amount of ironic violence on these pages is indeed startling; as Pauline Kael once said of Billy Wilder's movies, these poems "pull out laughs the way a catheter draws urine."
The Tormented Mirror
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Poetry
  • Published: Feb 22, 2001
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Seller: University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Print Length: 96 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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