He laughs, too – it’s impossible not to join him when he cracks up uttering the phrase ‘waist deep in blood’ in his poem ‘The Howling’ – and occasionally takes breaks to smoke or drink water, or comment on the poems. His voice, with its precise New England R’s and woodwindy vowels, is incredibly rich and arch and funny; he’s got the timing of a great comic actor. Indeed, I think of this tape (I’ve got my own copy now) as one of the greatest comedy albums ever, as infectious and distinctive as the Steve Martin, Bob Newhart and Richard Pryor records I spent my adolescence memorising and mimicking.
At the LRB’s blog, J. Robert Lennon pays tribute to Russell Edson, the playwright, novelist and prose poet who passed away last week. Lennon recounts that Edson was that rare favorite author who he learned about thanks to a cassette tape. (If you like the blog post, you could also read Lennon’s most recent novel.)