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The Poetry Lesson
Andrei Codrescu

Book Description | Table of Contents
Chapter 1 [in PDF format]


"Codrescu proceeds headlong in an altogether entertaining 'pedagogical-memorialistic mode.'. . . Ultimately, this book is about Codrescu's prickly narrative voice and the delight he takes in blabbing. It's a voice confident in its charming idiosyncrasies, spicier than his NPR pieces."--Ron Slate, On the Seawall

"Not a creative writing 'how-to' manual, not an essay, not a novel, not a memoir--The Poetry Lesson resists genre classification with all the radical aplomb of an angry beatnik refusing to tick the 'which-age-demographic' box on a government census form."--Chris Jones, Times Higher Education Supplement

"The Poetry Lesson is a lucid yet playful book, that slips between memoir and fiction, jaunty anecdote and pure tangent, as it describes the first lesson of an 'Introduction to Poetry Writing' course."--Rupert Thomson, Berlin Review of Books

"A fast-paced bit of pedagogical stand-up, interspersing personal recollections of various 20th century poets with whimsical observations on poetic craft and modern culture in a stream-of-consciousness style that blurs the line between inner and outer monologues. . . . A witty and heartfelt case for poetry's end being its beginning."--Alex Good, Toronto Star

"The Poetry Lesson finds Codrescu hovering over the borders between fiction, the conventional essay and even the poetic forms."--Ben Steelman, Star News (Wilmington, NC)

"[O]ne feels incredible gratitude to and connection with this living poet. Andrei Codrescu makes clear not only that poetry does matter, but that our lives depend upon it. For him, poetry is not so much a mystery as it is a knowable entity, even a teachable one. From all the evidence in this short, gorgeous work, it seems equally clear that Andrei Codrescu was a great teacher."--M. G. Stephens, PN Review


"The Poetry Lesson is a gem--a consistently engaging and entertainingly rambling meditation on teaching and poetry that is filled with Andrei Codrescu's quicksilver mental responses. His teacher-narrator keeps vacillating between denouncing the new, text-message order of his students and trying to ally himself with youth against old-fogeyism. This dance, as the teacher is alternately chagrined and amused, gives the book a lively pulse."--Phillip Lopate, author of Notes on Sontag

"Andrei Codrescu's new book is a small comic masterpiece. It is so funny that I laughed out loud as I was turning the pages. The account of the first poetry writing class of the semester is as accurate as it is surreal. What makes the writing so delightful is the juxtaposition of student repartee and the professor's jaundiced--but never predictable--response. The Poetry Lesson is a delightful read--but also a disturbing portrait of academe today."--Marjorie Perloff, author of The Vienna Paradox: A Memoir

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File created: 4/21/2017

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