Andre Codrescu

Posting a bit early as we’re off to a birthday party a bit later.

First, Happy National Punctuation Day! In celebration here’s a link to the fabulous Victor Borge video.

This is the entry that I had intended to post on Thursday.

Andre Codrescu has fascinated me since I first heard him on NPR, probably back when I still lived in Philadelphia. He’s just as confusing and funny and scary as he was then. Now he’s added anger, Melissa Block called it fury, to his lexicon as he watched Katrina devastate his adopted city of New Orleans.

For a taste, listen to “The Mold Song,” his reaction to the destruction wrought on his collection of books, an antique map, and even his cash.

According to his “Vita,” he was born in Romania right after World War II. His list of credits is truly frightening, including awards and fellowships.

The piece of Professor Codrescu that I find most difficult to understand, and that I keep coming back to, is Exquisite Corpse, an online journal that he edits from his office at LSU (Go, Tigers!). It certainly fulfills its title, which comes from an early 20th century technique via a nineteenth century game. Think of the game Telephone, or Gossip, but played with pen and paper.

Codrescu’s version began in 1983, and despite knowing that it is a cooperative effort to create “an exquisite corpse,” I become increasingly mystified each time I look at it. He combines a certain level of horror (think Dracula) with sexiness (think Dracula) with glamour (think Dracula.) Now checking for this entry, I find the choice was deliberate.

The main page of today’s Exquisite Corpse is a good example of Codrescu’s imagination. He wants to use books to construct a house and is soliciting ideas. He’s also touting his latest book, The Poetry Lesson, and his current project, 1000 Nights Storytelling Festival, which I wish I could attend.

I do take issue with an item from the Stuyvesant Bee that lists chicken, or chicken and pork, as the main ingredient in Brunswick Stew. These days I guess that’s the politically correct approach. But the most accurate history I could find says squirrel is the proper meat. I’ve heard that ’possum, muskrat and raccoon can go into the pot but not tame ol’ chicken.

One of the items that fulfills the scary, sexy, glamorous requirement is the third interview with William S. Burroughs, himself a scary, enigmatic man, whose advice consisted of “feed your cats.” That’s it? From one of the icons of the Beat Generation and a father to hippies everywhere — feed your cats? Must have been one his days of heavy drug use, though I’m not sure there were any light days.

That’s just a sampling. The Corpse is definitely worth reading, as is the rest of the Codrescu canon.

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One Response to “Andre Codrescu”

  1. Andre codrescu | UnfailingWordMinistries Says:

    […] Andre Codrescu « Lizr128′s Blog […]

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