The Poetry Lesson

The Poetry Lesson Cover

The Poetry Lesson

By Andrei Codrescu

Princeton University Press, Hardcover, 9780691147246, 128pp.

Publication Date: September 5, 2010

Description

"Intro to Poetry Writing is always like this: a long labor, a breech birth, or, obversely, mining in the dark. You take healthy young Americans used to sunshine (aided sometimes by Xanax and Adderall), you blindfold them and lead them by the hand into a labyrinth made from bones. Then you tell them their assignment: 'Find the Grail. You have a New York minute to get it.'"--"The Poetry Lesson"

"The Poetry Lesson" is a hilarious account of the first day of a creative writing course taught by a "typical fin-de-siecle 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.



About the Author
A poet, novelist, essayist, screenwriter, and commentator for NPR s "All Things Considered", ANDREI CODRESCU is the MacCurdy Distinguished Professor of English at Louisiana State University and the editor of the literary journal "Exquisite Corpse".


NPR
Tuesday, Sep 16, 2014

Commentator Andrei Codrescu remembers the first word processor he had � the Kaypro II in the 1980s. Its inventor, Andrew Kay, died Aug. 28, at the age of 95. More at NPR.org

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