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2013 National Book Award Longlist

So Recently Rent a World is a landmark poetry selection that follows the upswell, downfall, and wake of 41 years of wrestling the muse.

Raconteur, poet, and NPR commentator Andrei Codrescu delivers in his inimitable, irreverent style a collection that traverses subjects from aging to consumerism and religion to mass media. Brilliantly funny yet deeply insightful, these poems illuminate Codrescu’s acerbic tone and outsized personality and capture the best of his oeuvre.



“One of our most prodigiously talented and magical writers.” - New York Times Book Review

"Andrei Codrescu is today the great American poet of intercultural encounter, absolutely exceptional in his capacity to elucidate with analytical power, emotional sensitivity, and lyric force the most revealing points of tension between ethical and imaginative perceptions in a world under the gun. With sympathy for eruptions against authority, Codrescu has infused child-man rebellion and passionate desire into the many poems of self-recollection that are now presented with incisive comment and context in this 408 page collection entitled So Recently Rent a World: New and Selected Poems: 1968-2012." - Kenneth Warren

Entertainment Weekly, included in "Must List" (2012 Year-end issue, tablet version)

"For Codrescu, culture is no more nor less than the whole, and poetry its most faithful handmaiden. In a world where poetry is still often considered a highbrow pastime and a relic of a former cultural era, Codrescu’s exceptionally varied writing and career represent a kind of home run for poets and poetry everywhere." - Recours au Poème

"Codrescu’s distinctive, playful, and iconoclastic work has always gone its own way. . . . [his] work stands as a distinctive chapter in the story of the New York School, and contemporary American poetry more broadly." - Locus Solus: The New York School of Poets

Andrei Codrescu reading in Anne Arbor, Michigan

"[O]ccasionally, as one grows older, it’s time to tell it like it is. That, in any case, is the 'bridge work' of the new poems in this impressive collection, and it is surely the case that for Codrescu, 'parentheses not closed.'" - Marjorie Perloff, Los Angeles Review of Books

"If Codrescu's poetry has represented to some extent a mordant or ironic paen of the schizophrene, this observer has loved it. By providing this illogical logic, often using a surrealist lens, Codrescu illumines just how fractured our lives have become. He does so with a deft painterly touch. . . . In this new and selected book of poems, Codrescu is still one of our most skilled interlocutors and he sings above the abyss skillfully." - Best American Poetry

"So Recently Rent a World is a book rich in poetry and history. . . ingeniously organized." - BODY

"So Recently Rent a World gathers new poems and selections from the 16 books of verse that Codrescu has published since arriving in the U.S. as a teen refuge from communist Romania...'So Recently Rent a World let me to put a period on four decades writing and the old culture that the writing reflected."—The Times-Picayune

"Since his emigration from Romania in the late 1960s, his work has lodged itself in the poetic consciousness of both America and Europe for its sheer edges – its energy, its voice, its deft wit, and like all great dadaists, at heart, he is the hardest of realists, a man who cannot lie to himself above all others, in his poetry or in his ebullient criticism, journalism and collected writing." Poetry International

"For Codrescu, culture is no more nor less than the whole, and poetry its most faithful handmaiden. In a world where poetry is still often considered a highbrow pastime and a relic of a former cultural era, Codrescu’s exceptionally varied writing and career represent a kind of home run for poets and poetry everywhere." Recours au Poeme

"Codrescu’s distinctive, playful, and iconoclastic work has always gone its own way. . . . [his] work stands as a distinctive chapter in the story of the New York School, and contemporary American poetry more broadly." Locus Solus: The New York School of Poets