Andrei Codrescu, Author . Coffee House $25 (144p) ISBN 978-1-56689-150-9 ISBN 978-1-56689-146-2

Codrescu, certainly not unknown as a poet, and widely recognizable as a cranky cultural commisar on public radio, has written a book that is valuable in the way that, say, Pete Townshend's solo records were, as crafty expressions of a guy whose more radical (druggy, horny, vagrant, political) days are behind him, but whose pop and zing has been mellowed not with age so much as the bodily memory (tobaccoey fingers, shattered tear ducts) of having seen more than most. His "to a young poet" is as myopic as it is aptly ventriloquistic: "& then if you publish a big/ book of poems I'll read/ one or two & give you my/ begrudging approval in the name/ of the new flock even though/ we are lost & nobody cares/ if we live or we die." His light formal touch includes almost exclusive use of lower-case letters and very little punctuation, providing a limpidity that allows the poet to dart from style to style and length to length. Some of these poems seem slight, but none lack the contrapuntal effects and occluded phrases of dialectical thinking; every poem has a beginning statement, a middle where it is countered and worked through, and an end that turns the tables on it all in a winning, often wittily poignant way: "now we are here what should we / do with our accents // do like me I say / keep talking." (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/21/2003
Release date: 09/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 144 pages - 978-1-56689-146-2
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