GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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August 21, 2011

NPR's Codrescu marking Gloucester Writers Center

Andrei Codrescu, an award-winning poet, writer and National Public Radio commentator, is coming to Gloucester to celebrate the first year of the city's fledgling Gloucester Writers Center.

Codrescu has been called one of the most "magical" writers by critics, and although the two never met, Codrescu was deeply influenced by one of Gloucester's own writers, Charles Olson (1910-1970), often called the first American modernist poet.

"Olson was Gloucester's Sheherezade," Codrescu said of the poet who forever challenged those around him, whether it was his students at the experimental Black Mountain College in the 1950s, or aspiring poets or writers, or those Gloucester residents who knew him.

Codrescu's talk on Thursday is titled "Teaching Olson in Baton Rouge." The event will be held at the Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church on Thursday, Aug. 25 at 7:30 p.m.

Codrescu, who serves on the Gloucester Writers Center advisory board, will be a writer-in-residence at the center, founded last year and based in the former East Gloucester home of the late poet Vincent Ferrini (1913-2007), who also was a friend of Olson.

Peter Anastas, a Gloucester-born writer and member of the center's board of directors, said the talk is sure to be engaging and move just beyond its title.

"If you know and love Andrei Codrescu as an NPR commentator, you will love getting your mind stretched and your funny bone tickled by his talk," said Anastas.

"You can be sure it will be about more than teaching Charles Olson in Baton Rouge," Anastas added. "As an aside, it is a pretty big occasion when a writer of international stature like Codrescu comes to Gloucester — not to mention a big coup for the Writers Center."

During his talk, Codrescu will recount a semester of teaching poetry at Louisiana State University, which will be delivered in his Transylvanian accent.

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