Andrei Codrescu

American writer

Andrei Codrescu (born December 20, 1946, in Sibiu, Romania) is a Jewish Romanian-American poet, novelist, essayist, screenwriter, and commentator for National Public Radio.

Andrei Codrescu in 2009


  • The Modernist’s command was Pound’s “Make it New.” The postmodern imperative is “Get it Used.” The more used the better.
    • “The Shipwreck of Dada and Surrealism,” The Disappearance of the Outside: A Manifesto for Escape (1990).
  • Unchecked, the tourist will climb over the fence and come right into your house to take pictures of you in your habitat. Cities mindful of tourists have built elaborate “tourist traps” which, luckily, work. Tourists are kept confined to these, and few escape. There is, of course, the type known as the “intrepid tourist.” This one has to be watched carefully or he can become most annoying. Little wonder these are so often the target of terrorists. If there is an aspect of benign terror about the tourist, there is also a great deal of tourist in the terrorist. Terrorists travel with only one thing in mind, just like the tourist, and the specifics of places escape them both. Terrorists travel for the purpose of shooting unsuspecting foreigners, just as tourists travel for the purpose of shooting them with a camera.
    • “The Tourist,” Raised by Puppets (1990).
  • The language of the game is interesting. You can think of the pauses as caesuras, breaks between the lines. As a poem the game is composed of a number of short lines representing the pitches. The number of lines per batter form a stanza. Then there is a space. Sometimes the stanzas become breathless, rushing full paragraphs that build rapidly on each other until the poem-inning explodes. The poem lives for this sudden blossoming out of prosodic regularity. Should someone make a computer analysis of baseball prosody, I believe that they would come up with something close to the prosody of some great American lyrical epic, Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, let’s say, or Doc Williams’s Patterson.... The game is definitely an epic … formed of many lyrical moments dependent on silences for their effectiveness. An unfolding story punctuated by brief emotional swellings.
    • “A Kind of Love,” The Muse Is Always Half-Dressed (1993).
  • There is undoubtedly something religious about it: everyone believes that they are special, that they are chosen, that they have a special relation with fate. Here is the test: you turn over card after card to see in which way that is true. If you can defy the odds, you may be saved. And when you are cleaned out, the last penny gone, you are enlightened at last, free perhaps, exhilarated like an ascetic by the falling away of the material world.
    • “Dice,” Zombification: Stories from National Public Radio (1994).
  • Only the poor can create art.
    • From a public forum held at the Los Angeles Public Library, 28 April 2010.
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