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“An Evening with Andrei Codrescu: From Transylvania to New Orleans—A Poet’s Journey”
Codrescu will discuss the politics and culture(s) of East and West, the collapse of communism (which he covered for the U.S. media) and its aftermath, and the historical and literary changes that are reshaping Eastern Europe and informing his own relations to spaces of origin or adoption. He will talk about what it means to live simultaneously in several worlds, both chronologically and biographically, and what political sense this nomadism makes (or doesn’t). His talk will draw on his memoir, “The Hole in the Flag: an Exile’s Story of Return and Revolution,” and recent play, “Ghidul Copilariei Retrocedate” (“Guide to a Recovered Childhood”), which premiered recently at the International Theater Festival in Sibiu, Romania, his birthplace.
March 23, 2010, 4:30 pm
Andrei Codrescu will be reading from his new book, The Poetry Lesson (Princeton University Press, 2010). Book description (Princeton UP) The Poetry Lesson is a hilarious account of the first day of a creative writing course taught by a “typical fin-de-siècle salaried beatnik”–one with an antic imagination, an outsized personality and libido, and an endless store of entertaining literary anecdotes, reliable or otherwise. Neither a novel nor a memoir but mimicking aspects of each, The Poetry Lesson is pure Andrei Codrescu: irreverent, unconventional, brilliant, and always funny. Codrescu takes readers into the strange classroom and even stranger mind of a poet and English professor on the eve of retirement as he begins to teach his final semester of Intro to Poetry Writing. As he introduces his students to The Tools of Poetry (a list that includes a goatskin dream notebook, hypnosis, and cable TV) and The Ten Muses of Poetry (mishearing, misunderstanding, mistranslating… ), and assigns each of them a tutelary “Ghost-Companion” poet, the teacher recalls wild tales from his coming of age as a poet in the 1960s and 1970s, even as he speculates about the lives and poetic and sexual potential of his twenty-first-century students. From arguing that Allen Ginsberg wasn’t actually gay to telling about the time William Burroughs’s funeral procession stopped at McDonald’s, The Poetry Lesson is a thoroughly entertaining portrait of an inimitable poet, teacher, and storyteller.