Codrescu, Andrei – The Poetry Lesson

  • epitaph. The epitaph is a commemorative inscription on a tomb. Codrescu gives the following examples: “See you later”, “Have a nice day” and “This grave contains all that was mortal of a young English poet who on his death bed in the bitterness of his heart at the malicious power of his enemies desired these words to be engraven on his tomb stone: <Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water>
  • epigram. The epigram is a short poem dealing with a single subject and ending with a witty turn of thought. For the epigram, Codrescu write down only one example: “In my next life I will make a lot of croaking noises/ but I will live a long time/ because in my next life/ I will be a gold frog/ like the one that sits on your desk, father”.
  • epitogram. The formula for epitogram is: epitaph + epigram. For instance, following Codrescu: “I am a gold frog in this life/ and I will leap at you/ from behind this tombstone/ when you are finished reading”.
  • tools of poetry. The book, in fact, is about these 10 rules (i.e. “tools”) of poetry – namely: 1) a goatskin notebook for writing down dreams; 2) Mont Blanc fountain pen – extra credit if it belonged to Mme Blavatsky; 3) a Chinese coin or a stone in your pocket for rubbing; 4) frequenting places where you can overhear things; 5) tiny records, spyglasses, microscopic listening devices; 6) a little man at the back of your head; 7) the Ghost-Companion; 8) susceptibility to hypnosis; 9) large sheets of homemade paper, a stack a foot thick; 10) a subscription to cable TV. In short, in this book the main idea turns around the Ghost-Companion (G.C.) rule in which every (any?) student has to choose a poet, dead or alive, to whisper in her/ his ears the naked truth of life.

The allegory:


Andrei Codrescu (2010): “The poetry lesson”, Princeton University Press

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