Title: THE POETRY LESSON
Publisher: Princeton University Press, Princeton
Publication Date: 2010
Book Condition: Very Good
Dust Jacket Condition: very good
Signed: Signed by Author(s)
Edition: First Edition.
118p. 1st printing. Signed by author on half title page. (8-3/4"x5-3/4"). Bookseller Inventory # H11103
"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-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.
From the Author:
After 25 years of teaching, I revealed a secret method of making better human beings in my new book, "The Poetry Lesson," which I am advertising shamelessly here, because I asked my Ghost-Companion, Blaise Cendrars, what I should do, and he said, on page 152 of his "Complete Poems": "A banker tells us all about an artificial egg factory on the outskirts of Bordeaux." Now I'm no banker, but even I know that laying the artificial eggs of advertising is the chief occupation of public persons today. I have therefore laid this before you. It beats commenting on the upcoming elections, or other nonpoetic horrors that will decide what happens to us in the future. Poetry doesn't care about the future: it already knows everything.
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