Anthony Cummins

Exquisite Corpse

The Poetry Lesson

By

Princeton University Press 118pp £13.95 order from our bookshop

This slim comedy unfolds over three hours in a seminar room in Louisiana. The narrator, Andrei, is – like his namesake – a middle-aged American poet originally from Romania. He’s giving thirteen undergraduates their first class in a course called ‘Introduction to Poetry Writing’: a set-up that is a pretext for a series of zany autobiographical sketches and satirical reflections on youth, literature and academia. Andrei is curious as to what (if anything) remains of the Seventies counterculture in which he came of age, ‘when heterosexuality, marriage, and all the negative baggage those two carried became philosophically suspect’ in a

moment of visionary hubris … fertile enough to give birth to dissertations and university courses in ‘Queer Studies,’ establish hundreds of ashrams, attract followers to mass-suicide cults and Scientology, and allow extraterrestrials free access to the planet, where they are to this day conducting their experiments on us through Hollywood film.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'It would be nice to think that women will achieve equal pay in my lifetime, rather than to watch gloomily as stati… ,
    • In 1660, two of the signatories of King Charles I's death warrant fled across the Atlantic to New England. But were… ,
    • Howard Jacobson's sixteenth novel is 'a love story of sorts, one characterised not by physical desire or even conta… ,
    • 'The sudden immersion in the new and unfamiliar can lead people to write with a rare lack of self-consciousness' P… ,
    • 'Pools bend the rules. Clothes slip off, skin glistens, consciousness heightens. A dreamlike scenario unfolds' Jam… ,
    • 'Although he surely didn’t know W H Auden’s theory that every high C proclaims human freedom and our capacity to tr… ,
    • RT : With beginning tomorrow, we've uncovered a 1997 article from the archive reviewing 'Golf Dream… ,