Monday, March 3, 2008

In America's Shoes: Andrei Codrescu

I am a fan of Romanian ex-pat author, Andrei Codrescu, who is now residing in the US - Louisiana to be more specific. Andrei is a great humorist, using his TRRENNSILLVAYNIAN accent to great effect, and generally taking a mock-naive approach to all things American - as witnessed by his frequent NPR commentaries.

There is also a nice PBS Frontline/WORLD resource page on Codrescu, as well as many YouTube videos featuring him:

Here he talks about the New Orleans literary scene and his journal Exquisite Corpse. There is also a dig against George W. Bush:

There is a very long video of the Charlie Rose Show in 1993 where Andrei and others talk about the Road and going on it - triggered by Codrescu's hilarious documentary Road Scholar in which he goes coast to coast in a cherry-red Cadillac convertible...

And to close - here is some laugh-and-cry poetry from Andrei's The Living Conditions of the Gods:

Codrescu is a fan of the Beat writers (as am I). A paper of mine on the influence of Beats such as Ginsberg and Kerouac on immigrant writers - including Codrescu - has recently appeared.

Codrescu gets the last word. On Romanians and their 'national traits':
Romanians are culturally European, very close to the French. Socially, they are now building a society that is emotionally closer to the Balkans, Turkey and Greece. The inept postcommunist governments have kept Romania from implementing quick reforms, so the economy is a mess, way behind Poland or Hungary. There was never a clean purge of the "formers," either in government or in the secret police. It's not so much a matter of traits, as a political problem.

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