no time like now: Poems

Univ. of Pittsburgh. (Pitt Poetry). Mar. 2019. 96p. ISBN 9780822965824. pap. $17. POETRY
Multi-award-winning Codrescu (The Art of Forgetting) is one of few contemporary poets (with, perhaps, Billy Collins and the late Mary Oliver) who can fairly claim to enjoy something such as fame outside the narrow halls of poetry; many who have limited acquaintance with poetry know his voice, with its plummy Romanian accent, from his numerous appearances on National Public Radio. This latest collection reads almost like a poet’s journal from the years 2016–18, and as one might expect of the founder of a journal called Exquisite Corpse, his verses revel in the erotic and morbid, as he visits with American photographer Lee Miller sitting in Hitler’s bathtub or contemplates his “grave in the somewhere of those who said/ i was from nowhere.” As the poet himself says, “I wrote my first book of poems, License To Carry a Gun, when I first lived in New York City, 1967–70. 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.”
VERDICT A grim but somehow salutary record of our moment from one of our truly distinctive poetic voices
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