The Unforgiven

By Russell Edson b. 1935 Russell Edson
After a series of indiscretions a man stumbled homeward, thinking, now that I am going down from my misbehavior I am to be forgiven, because how I acted was not the true self, which I am now returning to. And I am not to be blamed for the past, because I’m to be seen as one redeemed in the present...
         But when he got to the threshold of his house his house said, go away, I am not at home.
         Not at home? A house is always at home; where else can it be? said the man.
         I am not at home to you, said his house.

         And so the man stumbled away into another series of indiscretions...

Russell Edson, “The Unforgiven,” in The Wounded Breakfast © 1985 by Russell Edson and reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press. www.wesleyan.edu/wespress

Source: The Wounded Breakfast (Wesleyan University Press, 1985)

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Poet Russell Edson b. 1935

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Living, Disappointment & Failure, Relationships, Home Life, Social Commentaries, Life Choices

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

 Russell  Edson

Biography

Called the “godfather of the prose poem in America,” Russell Edson’s idiosyncratic body of work is populated with strange and intriguing figures: a woman fights a tree, a mother serves ape; in the poem “Let Us Consider,” there’s a “farmer who makes his straw hat his sweetheart” and an “old woman who makes a floor lamp her son.” The poems are surreal and fablelike, sometimes resembling brief plays. Donald Hall has said of Edson’s . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Disappointment & Failure, Relationships, Home Life, Social Commentaries, Life Choices

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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