THE LIFE AND TIMES OF AN INVOLUNTARY GENIUS by Andrei Codrescu

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF AN INVOLUNTARY GENIUS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The notion of ""genius"" here is borrowed from Salvador Dali's Diary of a Genius. Nonetheless, Andrei Codrescu writes very well--even if English is approximately his seventh language (after German, Hungarian, Rumanian, Russian, French and chicken language). His Life and Times reads like a Kunstlerroman, tracing this sensitive artist's brushes with the evils of Authority--and flaunting that streak of bold individualism by which you know that this is no ordinary juvenile troublemaker. His outspoken poetry gets him into plenty of hot water with the Rumanian Communist Party and it doesn't help that he's also a ""Jewboy."" He leaves his teenage wife and renounces his citizenship to dodge the draft and, after an orgiastic stoned tour of Italy and France, finds himself in 1966 in America watching Peter Orlovsky bathe while Allen Ginsberg packs up his incense sticks and finger cymbals for a trip to India. He won a Big Table Younger Poets Award in 1971 and in 1973 published The History of the Growth of Heaven. As for this offering, halfway between egocentricity and earnestness isn't much of anywhere, despite the obvious motherlode of talent.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1975
Publisher: Braziller