Andrei Codrescu is Ira Glass for the poetry set. Both are NPR fixtures, tell engaging stories, and have an instantly recognizable radio voice. Codrescu, born in Romania, has been writing poetry, essays, and stories from New Orleans for decades, and graciously shares his work with the world on NPR's All Things Considered. He calls New Orleans his hometown, and was working on a film about the Mississippi River when hurricane Katrina permanently altered the place he loved. His poetry and essays about New Orleans have made him quite possibly the author second most tied to the Big Easy, after John Kennedy Toole, of course. Codrescu's latest poetry collection, The Jealous Witness (Coffee House Press), explores his devotion to New Orleans beyond Codrescu's lyrical writing. The book is accompanied by a CD of Codrescu's homage to New Orleans scattered culture and artists, "Maelstrom: Songs of Storm and Exile" is performed by the New Orleans Klezmer All Stars. Poets as enjoyable and grounded as Codrescu in place and reality, rather than pretense, are a rare find. In addition to Andre Codrescu reading, this benefit for Coffee House Press will also feature appetizers, live music, and a silent auction.
Wed., Oct. 29, 7 p.m., 2008