Cover image for It was today : new poems
It was today : new poems
Codrescu, Andrei, 1946-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Minneapolis, MN : Coffee House Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
144 pages ; 26 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3553.O3 I85 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



In praise of his poetry, The New York Times calls Andrei Codrescu "one of our most prodigiously talented and magical writers." Part genius, part tongue-in-cheek provocateur, Codrescu is an audacious and passionate poet. The heart of this first new collection in nearly a decade is a beautiful conceit containing the "recently discovered" correspondence between a warrior and a courtesan in fourteenth-century China. These tender, timeless verses contrast nicely with tough, funny -poems about modern life and millennial malaise.

Andrei Codrescu is a celebrated poet, novelist, essayist, screenwriter, and commentator on National Public -Radio. A World Heavyweight Champion Poet, his many awards include the Literature Prize of the Romanian Cultural Foundation and the Peabody Award for his film Road Scholar . Born in Romania, Andrei Codrescu lives in New Orleans.

Author Notes

Romanian-born poet and essayist Andrei Codrescu, who also utilizes the pen names Betty Laredo and Maria Parfeni, emigrated to the United States in 1966. Codrescu earned a B.A. at the University of Bucharest, and has taught at numerous academic institutions including Johns Hopkins, the University of Baltimore, and Louisiana State University.

Codrescu worked for National Public Radio as a commentator and has been featured on ABC News' Nightline. Some of Codrescu's short stories and novels include his first poetry collection, License to Carry a Gun and a memoir entitled In America's Shoe.

Throughout the years, Codrescu has been awarded many honors including the Big Table Poetry Award, General Electric Foundation Poetry Prize, and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships for poetry, editing, and radio.

His titles include The Posthuman Dada Guide: Tzara and Lenin Play Chess, The Poetry Lesson, and Whatever Gets You through the Night: A Story of Sheherezade and the Arabian Entertainments.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Codrescu, certainly not unknown as a poet, and widely recognizable as a cranky cultural commisar on public radio, has written a book that is valuable in the way that, say, Pete Townshend's solo records were, as crafty expressions of a guy whose more radical (druggy, horny, vagrant, political) days are behind him, but whose pop and zing has been mellowed not with age so much as the bodily memory (tobaccoey fingers, shattered tear ducts) of having seen more than most. His "to a young poet" is as myopic as it is aptly ventriloquistic: "& then if you publish a big/ book of poems I'll read/ one or two & give you my/ begrudging approval in the name/ of the new flock even though/ we are lost & nobody cares/ if we live or we die." His light formal touch includes almost exclusive use of lower-case letters and very little punctuation, providing a limpidity that allows the poet to dart from style to style and length to length. Some of these poems seem slight, but none lack the contrapuntal effects and occluded phrases of dialectical thinking; every poem has a beginning statement, a middle where it is countered and worked through, and an end that turns the tables on it all in a winning, often wittily poignant way: "now we are here what should we / do with our accents // do like me I say / keep talking." (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Poet, radio commentator, essayist, and novelist, the prolific Codrescu never seems to lack for inspiration. His offbeat, often biting sensibility has become a trademark, yet some of his most sensitive poems emerge when he is not his typically acidulous self. The long sequence "Lu Li & Weng Li," written in the dual personae of two royal Chinese lovers in the 14th century, reveals a romantic idealist that will remind readers of the personae whose "poems" appeared in Codrescu's magnificent first collection, License To Carry a Gun. Even the more personal poems in this volume display two clearly different selves: the author of day-to-day poems, which are dawdling, often cute, sometimes easily dismissed, and the Romanian refugee, returning to Eastern Europe in 1990, still in many ways held by the political chains that bound his youth. As he says, playfully, in "how I got to america," "I swam over a barbed wire fence./ There was a hair curtain & I scaled it." No matter which poet is speaking, the effect is arresting. Essential for most libraries.-Rochelle Ratner, formerly with "Soho Weekly News," New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

1. The fire truck comes to your housep. 1
We livep. 2
Oncep. 3
A nantucket sleigh ridep. 4
Houses, scams, languagep. 5
Nickelodeonp. 6
1968 for leonard cohenp. 7
January 3 2001p. 9
To poetryp. 11
Haiku + onep. 12
Birthday poem & bed-frame I.O.U.p. 13
The portuguese eat a dishp. 14
Laurap. 15
After twenty-five yearsp. 16
Old snake pondersp. 17
My name is andrei codrescup. 18
My son came overp. 20
Greetings they weren't using thenp. 22
As tears go byp. 23
Draftp. 25
A geography of poetsp. 26
My sympathyp. 28
Defense of the meekp. 29
Poetry, the ancients saidp. 30
To the museum curatorsp. 31
To a young poetp. 32
On drunkennessp. 34
Young men write poetryp. 35
I hate youthp. 36
The massesp. 37
Taxesp. 38
The dorkeryp. 39
Morning hikep. 40
For lynn luria sukenickp. 41
Dream of january 11, 1999 after the first copies of messi@h arrived & laura & i celebrated at molly's and it was gwen albert's birthday toop. 43
I need a ponyp. 45
What am I? art?p. 46
New orleans aubadep. 47
Another yearp. 48
When dreams get thick on easy streetp. 49
Sleeping with an open eyep. 50
Opera laterp. 51
There are a lot of masseusesp. 52
Soaking in rich people's tubsp. 53
It has been going on a whilep. 54
Bad girls with glassesp. 55
I knew what I wantedp. 56
The dinersp. 57
Sheep (patriotic poetry)p. 58
Roryp. 59
2. Lu Li & Weng Li
Prefacep. 63
Lu lip. 65
Weng lip. 76
Codap. 90
3. Often after a public eventp. 93
Every morningp. 94
Brancusi's fishp. 95
How I got to americap. 97
The revolution and the poetp. 98
Eliade: a poemp. 99
The failed encounterp. 103
The american dreamp. 104
Babies and the twop. 106
In jerusalem on my 48th birthdayp. 107
The vision & prophecy plazap. 110
The hidden jewsp. 112
Todayp. 114
Our gangp. 115
Writersp. 119
The view from the baby seatp. 120
Two desert monks encounter the christ of happiness, christinap. 125
What some of them were wearingp. 128
My favorite boat has a horn on its sidep. 130
The party was boringp. 131
New orleans art for wall streetp. 132
Robert has a newtonp. 134
Last night at the reliefp. 135
Wartime questions & answers in montrealp. 137
9/11p. 142
Alternativesp. 144