"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..., 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
This book 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 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.
Andrei Codrescu is an award-winning poet, novelist, essayist, and NPR commentator. He edits the online journal Exquisite Corpse and taught literature and creative writing at Louisiana State Uiversity for 25 years before retiring in 2009. His recent work includes The Posthuman Dada Guide and Jealous Witness: Poems.