no time like now: Poems
University of Pittsburgh Press March 2019
I wrote my first book of poems, License to Carry a Gun (Big Table, 1970), when I first lived in New York City, 1967–1970. Those were troubled times and I was 21 years-old. Decades later the city has changed and the times are still troubled. These poems, 2016–2018, try to find out just how changed my dear city and how troubled my days.
“In his newest collection of lyric poems, the brilliant Andrei Codrescu reveals himself yet again as our funniest/saddest contemporary bard. Newly returned to New York, the city of his youth, Codrescu the flâneur observes the daily disjunctions of Manhattan life in all their absurdity. Astonishingly honest, bittersweet, hilarious, and heart-breaking: no time like now is a book you must read!” –Marjorie Perloff
"Andrei went there as an adolescent (U.S.); later I came here (France): we have known each other forever. I read his new book no time like now and see how similar (semblable) we remain in a zoo world of cellphone-users with customs. Older ones who have mastered their art are left with the glee of language. These poems also contain plenty of love.” –Alice Notley
On every page of No Time Like Now, Andrei provides us with a poetic tap on the shoulder: “We are still in the wine roses goat and sesame seed phase of the revolution.” In other words, there is as much joy as there is threat in the world, as much threat as there is possibility; we are called to respond, and remember. I hear the echo of Apollinaire’s “Zone” in some of these poems – the way they begin in one place then carom off into stratospheric conjunctions: the line “lovers of serial killers guarantee the persistence of art” followed by a photo of Lee Miller naked in Hitler’s bathtub. His prose poems are like a chance meeting between Kafka, Russell Edson and Lydia Davis at a dinner party where Louise Nevelson rumbles in slinging mamaliga. And we must attend to these surprises because when Andrei was new in America America vibrated “in a newness new even to the new world.” We may not be new anymore, but we aren’t dead yet. This collection repairs and raises our spirit(s). —Sharon Mesmer