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B I B L I O D E A T H: My Archives (with Life in Footnotes)


Bibliodeath cover


Andrei Codrescu’s Bibliodeath: My Archives (With Life in Footnotes) surveys the evolutionary relationship between language and technology by examining his own career as a prolific American writer for more than four decades. Born in Transylvania, Romania, Codrescu’s journey spans from his earliest days as a defiant poet in the 1960s to his founding of the journal Exquisite Corpse in 1983 to his ongoing commentary on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. Under all his writing, even during the frenetic public demands of some of his most successful books, even in the heat of deadline journalism, the author reflects insistently on the disasters and miracles of the literary enterprise, a reflection become urgent now as new media overtakes the printed book. Outwardly a memoir composed of a main text and a rich body of footnotes that are their own book, this is an alluring and suspenseful story told in a unique form Codrescu has made his own. 


S O   R E C E N T L Y    R E N T   A    W O R L D


Bibliodeath cover


FOR FOUR AND A HALF DECADES, Andrei Codrescu has been a vivid presence in our literary life. He has written novels, essays, and reportage; made films; taught literature; produced regular commentary for radio and newspapers; edited a literary journal-- but he is foremost a poet who has made this art the bedrock and standard for all his writing. So Recently Rent a World: New And Selected Poems, 1968-2012, is a selection of his decades’ long dalliance and adventures with the muse, with a hefty addition of new unpublished work. The New York Times Book Review has called Codrescu “One of our most prodigiously talented and magical writers,” The Los Angeles Times has proclaimed him, “a modern day DeTocqueville,” The Houston Chronicle noted that he is “among the most astute contemporary observers of what William Carlos Williams called ‘the American grain,’ while simultaneously joining playwright Eugene Ionesco as one of Romania’s great rememberers of dictatorial things past,” Lawrence Ferlinghetti said that he “creates a craving for the subversive—something much needed in these days of ‘friendly fascism,’ Kay Boyle called his work “a cause for celebration,” and The St. Petersburg Times commented that “If Andrei Codrescu still lived in Europe, he’d be a public intellectual, consulted by presidents and ministers on issues of education, economics, and possibilities of pleasure. But since he is now a resident if the United States, he has to content himself with being a cult figure. America hasn’t melted Codrescu.He’s as solid a voice as we have.” Andrei Codrescu was born in Sibiu, Romania in 1946, and emigrated to the United States in 1966. Author of forty books, Codrescu has edited the literary magazine Exquisite Corpse, and his provocative commentary is featured regularly on NPR’s All Things Considered. He currently lives in the Ozarks near the Buffalo River National Park.




Algonquin, 2004

zig-zags on wheels of comic brilliance, totally flattening a lot of useless architecture—physical and psychological—along the way.
--Tom Robbins

Codrescu has written a tour de force comedy in which he proves--as did Dante and Milton and Goethe and Mark Twain before him—that Beezlebub is literature's best character. He also confirms the internationally agreed-upon notion that America is the devil's ripest ground. I laughed out loud.
-- Mary Karr

Casanova in Bohemia

Simon and Schuster, 2006

In the national bestseller The Blood Countess, Andrei Codrescu brought to life the blood-thirsty royal Elizabeth Bathory, who embodied nearly all the contradictions of the seventeenth century. Now he depicts the astonishing life of the legendary Casanova, as the old adventurer relives his life while writing his memoirs in a provincial Bohemian castle at the end of the eighteenth century. Far from being defeated by age, Casanova delights in the maidservants, reacts with intellectual vigor to the unfolding of the French revolution, and collaborates with Mozart on “Don Giovanni.”

Originally published in 1990
Comrade Past & Mr. Present

Ruminator Books, 2001

This cultural-literary-social critique examines why, when a society moves from a repressive system of government wrought with censorship and oppression to a free state representing unlimited possibilities, the art once created and treasured by that population is taken for granted. Taking into account his own exile from Stalinist Romania, as well as the plights of such greats as Garcia Marquez, Breton, Dada, Kundera, and Milosz, Codrescu issues a call for those living in a free society to reach beyond a benign reality founded in technology and commercialism by tapping into their imaginations and striving for a better, evolutionary existence.

A Bar in Brooklyn

Black Sparrow Press, 1999

Andrei Codrescu's stories have been scattered in various literary journals, from The Paris Review to the Hot Water Review. They are now gathered for the first time in "A Bar in Brooklyn," Black Sparrow Press, a collection that spans an intense and creative time from 1970 until 1978. Prefaced by the author.
AY, CUBA! A Socio-Erotic Journey
Ay, Cuba!

St. Martin Press, 1999
with photographs by David Graham
St. Martin's Press, February 1999

When Romanian exile and National Public Radio commentator Andrei Codrescu was given an assignment by his NPR producer to travel to Cuba just before the pope's historic visit in 1998, he jumped at the chance. Cuba had been on his mind for years as part of his pursuit to understand the mysterious demise of Communism in Eastern Europe. Castro's Cuba, he felt, was the only place that held the clues to this demise; it was a "laboratory of pre-post-communism" where he could witness "a decomposing ideology before all its elements transmuted into the noxious gases that gag Eastern Europe now."
The Muse is Always Half Dressed in New Orleans

Picador, 1995

Trenchant, entertaining, often hilarious essays by NPR journalist and All Things Considered commentator Codrescu. The essays, over half of which have never been published and none of which have appeared in book form, are quintessentially American - and also the work of someone raised at the school of Montaigne.
Comrade Past & Mr. Present

Coffee House, 1986

An op-poetry piece on how sex so often goes from a good idea to a bad political move to orgasm or a brief history of the human in its natural habitat.

THE EXQUISITE CORPSE  (buy 12 Corpses)
Issues of The Exquisite Corpse

Culture Shock Foundation, 1983

The Exquisite Corpse is a journal of letters and life.

Issues of The Exquisite Corpse

Culture Shock Foundation, 1983

The Exquisite Corpse is a journal fighting against fatigue.

THE POSTHUMAN DADA GUIDE: Tzara and Lenin Play Chess
The Posthuman Dada Guide

 Princeton University Press, 2009

The Posthuman Dada Guide is an impractical handbook for practical living in our posthuman world—all by way of examining the imagined 1916 chess game between Tristan Tzara, the daddy of Dada, and V. I. Lenin, the daddy of communism. This epic game at Zurich's Café de la Terrasse—a battle between radical visions of art and ideological revolution—lasted for a century and may still be going on, although communism appears dead and Dada stronger than ever. As the poet faces the future mass murderer over the chessboard, neither realizes that they are playing for the world. Taking the match as metaphor for two poles of twentieth- and twenty-first-century thought, politics, and life, Andrei Codrescu has created his own brilliantly Dadaesque guide to Dada—and to what it can teach us about surviving our ultraconnected present and future. Here dadaists Duchamp, Ball, and von Freytag-Loringhoven and communists Trotsky, Radek, and Zinoviev appear live in company with later incarnations, including William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Gilles Deleuze, and Newt Gingrich. The Posthuman Dada Guide is arranged alphabetically for quick reference and (some) nostalgia for order, with entries such as "eros (women)," "internet(s)," and "war." Throughout, it is written in the belief "that posthumans lining the road to the future (which looks as if it exists, after all, even though Dada is against it) need the solace offered by the primal raw energy of Dada and its inhuman sources."

Forgiven Submarine: by Andrei Codrescu and Ruxandra Cesereanu

 Black Widow Press, 2008

This is a long collaborative poem written via email in Romanian by  Andrei Codrescu and Ruxandra Cesereanu. It was originally published in Romanian by Editura Brumar, in a fine edition with paintings by Radu Chio. That book won Romania's prestigious literary award, the Radio-Cultural Prize for the best poetry book of 2007. This translation into English is by Andrei Codrescu. 

…a superb book. The text powerfully oxidizes and transfigures everything: lyricism, sarcasm, literary references, the discrepancies between Cesereanu's magical reality and Codrescu's beat sense of the sickness of reality. --George Vulturescu, revista Poesis

JEALOUS WITNESS: with CD by The New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars

 Coffee House, 2007

Andrei Codrescu understands the spirit of his adopted New Orleans, a city that steadfastly "refuses to conform to anything that is known about it." When Hurricane Katrina blew through, the New Orleans landscape changed yet again and Codrescu, like his hero, "tolstoy exhausted having just written russia," recorded it all.

His "Maelstrom: Songs of Storm and Exile," performed by the New Orleans Klezmer AllStars on the accompanying CD, form the heart of this collection honoring the dispossessed and the artists, lovers, and cultural icons who have influenced his life. As John Freeman wrote in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Codrescu's poetry sounds like what would happen if "Tom Waits and Muddy Waters collaborated on a book of verse."

New Orleans, Mon Amour: Twenty Years of Writings from the City - by Andrei AocrescuAlgonquin, 2006

New Orleans, Mon Amour is an epic love song, a clear-eyed elegy, a cultural celebration, and a thank-you note to New Orleans in its Golden Age.

In this lovely collection of very short essays, gravelly voiced NPR commentator Codrescu sketches finely honed portraits of a fabled city and its equally fabled inhabitants. —Publishers' Weekly
It Was Today - New Poems by Andrei Codrescu
Coffeehouse, 2003

In praise of his poetry, The New York Times calls Andrei Codrescu "one of our most prodigiously talented and magical writers." He is also an audacious and passionate poet whose new work is the perfect tonic for America’s political, literary, and cultural hangovers. The heart of this first new collection in nearly a decade is an elegant conceit containing the “recently discovered” correspondence between a warrior and a courtesan in fourteenth-century China. This sequence offers a seductively beautiful contrast to poems about modern life and millennial malaise that are both unsparing and intimate, inventive and playful.

Black Sparrow Press, 2001

THUS SPAKE THE CORPSE - An Exquisite Corpse Reader 1988 - 1998
Volume 2 - Fiction, Travels & Translations
Thus Spake the CorpseBlack Sparrow Press, 2000

Andrei Codrescu's magazine Exquisite Corpse: A Journal of Books and Ideas, was founded on the belief that "American literature, poetry in particular, is sick from lack of public debate." The Corpse has become a primary site of a controversial, engaged dialogue on art and culture. THUS SPAKE THE CORPSE collects the best essays and poems from the journal's last ten years; contributors include James Broughton, Robert Creeley, Alice Notley, Carl Rakosi, Ed Sanders, Kay Boyle, Tom Clark, James Laughlin, Laura Rosenthal, Joel Oppenheimer, Anselm Hollo, and many others.
THUS SPAKE THE CORPSE - An Exquisite Corpse Reader 1988 - 1998
Volume 1 - Poetry and Essays
Thus Spake the Corpse

Black Sparrow Press, 1999

THUS SPAKE THE CORPSE: AN EXQUISITE CORPSE READER, 1988-1998 is the long-awaited anthology from the pages of "Exquisite Corpse: a Journal of Books & Ideas," the decade's liveliest and controversial literary magazine. Edited by Andrei Codrescu and Laura Rosenthal, published by Black Sparrow Press, this collection of over two hundred poets and essayists, represents some of the most brilliant and contentious literature of our time. Decried by some as "the New Yorker of the Avantgarde," and praised by others as "the light in the murk of current Am Lit," the Exquisite Corpse can now be savored in its spacious fullness.
The Devil Never Sleeps

St. Martin's Press, 2000

"The Devil never sleeps because he's got too much to do and the things he's already done keep him awake. So the Devil is no different than your average American with too much to do and too much to think about. If there is a difference between the Devil and the average Joe, it is only that the Devil feels no guilt."
MessiahSimon and Schuster, 1999

A brilliantly conceived tale of messianic longing, set as Armageddon rages across the globe at the turn of the millennium. A timeless Armageddon, as it turns out.
HAIL BABYLON ! In Search of the American City at the End of the Millennium
Hail Babylon!St. Martin's Press, 1998

In his most important nonfiction work since "Road Scholar," Andrei Codrescu takes readers cross-country through an increasingly alluring and morphing American urban landscape. From New York and Baltimore to New Orleans and Little Rock—and several cities in between—Codrescu considers "the city as wilderness", a place where the ecology of human desires and the work of the mind find their optimum conditions.
THE DOG WITH THE CHIP IN HIS NECK - Essays from NPR and Elsewhere
The Dog with the Chip in His NeckPicador, 1997

Codrescu writes of people who are having dreams about cyberspace and others who are simply obsessed with it; about his experiences going back to his native Romania; about meeting Miss America; about traveling by bus and by plane; and about one very odd dog with her own Internet address. Throughout all of it, the reader is engaged by a deft tension between Codrescu's charmingly boundless optimism and his wry world-weariness.
NO TACOS FOR SADDAM (Audio Cassette)
No Tacos for SaddamTen Speed Press Audio, 1997

Sometimes grouch and always perspective commentator for NPR's All Things Considered, Codrescu talks of many things, from eternal life, his hometown of Sibiu, Romania, the normal family, crab enchiladas, and obscenity in search of art.
The Blood Countess
Simon and Schuster, 1995
Dell, paperback, 1996

Andrei Codrescu has written a fascinating novel based on the life of Elizabeth Bathory, the legendary Blood Countess. Codrescu expertly weaves together two stories in this neo-gothic work: that of the 16th century Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Bathory, a beautiful and terrifying woman who bathes in the blood of virgin girls; and of her distant descendant, a contemporary journalist who must return to his native Hungary and come to terms with his bloody and disturbing past.

Drake Bathory-Kereshbur, a Hungarian-born journalist who has lived in the United States, returns to his native Hungary, only to be the target for recruitment among a patriotic group that wants to restore the glory—and the honor—of the Hungarian aristocracy. As a descendant of the Countess Elizabeth Bathory, he is heir to all that is wonderful and terrible about his country and his family's past. Codrescu brilliantly explores Drake's anguish, as he realizes the truth behind his gruesome family history. But more importantly, Codrescu also creates a convincing and historically accurate picture of a sadistic woman obsessed with youth, vigor, beauty, and blood...a woman with enough power to order the deaths of 650 young girls so that she could bathe in their blood.

The Blood Countess is a bizarre and compelling book about the horrors of the past, shown so effectively in the monstrous yet attractive personality of Elizabeth, and what pull these horrors still hold.
VALLEY OF CHRISTMAS : An Ancient Fable with Modern Appliances
Valley of ChristmasGert Town Records, 1997

Written and Narrated by Andrei Codrescu
Music by Mark Bingham

THE HOLE IN THE FLAG: A Romanian Exile's Story of Return and Revolution
The Hole in the Flag
William Morrow, 1991

The Hole in the Flag is Andrei Codrescu's personal account of the fall of a tyrannical regime, and the exhilaration of a country reborn. He shares the triumph of the workers and citizens on the festive New Year's streets, and reunites with old friends and colleagues that he left behind. With he keen eye of a reporter, Codrescu reveals the hideous secrets of the Ceausescu nightmare that lasted forty five years. Yet the reality of what Romania has in store once the parades have ended is described best from the heart of a poet. The combination of sensibilities creates a startlingly truthful perspective - a personal portrayal of political history.
ALIEN CANDOR : Selected Poems, 1970-1995
Alien Candor
Black Sparrow Press, 1996

"Language did not seem all that important," writes the Romanian-born Andrei Codrescu in the introduction to his Alien Candor: Selected Poems 1970-1995. "The main thing was being a poet."
ROAD SCHOLAR : Coast to Coast Late in the Century
Road Scholar
Hyperion, 1993

Andrei Codrescu describes his coast-to-coast journey across the United States, discussing the beatniks, ex-hippies, and poets in New York's East Village, a drive-through wedding in Las Vegas and other oddities. Inspired by Kerouac's legendary paean to American waderlust, On the Road, Codrescu sets out to discover for himself the wonders of the USA. Published to tie in with its companion PBS-TV special, the book sparkles with the author's wit and sardonic humor. 60 photos by David Graham.

ZOMBIFICATIONS: Stories from National Public Radio
ZombificationsPicador, 1995

Andrei Codrescu has been chronicling the absurdities of American culture for over 10 years. This collection of essays includes lively riffs on whales, dreams, gypsies, and weather, as well as larger subjects such as the collapse of communism and radical change in American politics.

Other Books by Andrei Codrescu:
  • The Repentance of Lorraine: A Novel
    (New York: Rhinoceros Books, 1994)
  • Plato Sucks - Audio Tape
    (Los Angeles: Dove Audio, 1996)
  • Fax Your Prayers - Audio Tape
    (Los Angeles: Gang of Seven, BMG Distributors)
  • American Life with Andrei Codrescu - Two One-Hour Audio Tapes
    (Washington, DC: NPR)
  • Belligerence
    (Minneapolis: Coffee House Press, 1993)
  • Comrade Past and Mister Present
    (Minneapolis: Coffee House Press, 1991)
  • The Disappearance of the Outside: a Manifesto for Escape
    (Boston: Addison-Wesley Co. 1990; a study of exile)
  • At the Court of Yearning: Poems by Lucian Blaga (Translation)
    (Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Press, 1989; translation of Romania's great modern poet).
  • Craving for Swan
    (Columbus, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1988)
  • The History of the Growth of Heaven (Braziller, 1973)
  • License to Carry a Gun (Big Table, 1970)

Other anthologies Edited by Andrei Codrescu:
  • American Poets Say Goodbye to the 20th Century
    (New York: 4 Walls/8 Windows, 1996)
  • American Poetry Since 1970: Up Late
    (New York: 4 Walls/8 Windows, 1988) Five Printings.
  • The Stiffest of the Corpse: an Exquisite Corpse Reader, 1983 - 1990
    (San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1990)