In Codrescu’s own words:
“I wrote my first book of poems, License to Carry a Gun...when I first lived in New York City, 1967–1970. Those were troubled times and I was 21 years-old. Decades later the city has changed and the times are still troubled. These poems, 2016–2018, try to find out just how changed my dear city and how troubled my days.”
...instability appears in even seemingly straightforward poems. Distant, disconnected, and adversarial ideas and images juxtapose. Line breaks force ungrammatical relationships between words. Subjects and objects don’t always agree. Linear logic is optional. The best poems in no time like now celebrate the multiplicity this instability creates ... when it comes to navigating 21st-century New York City and the new media environment, Codrescu often falls flat and his penchant for multiplicity collapses. Like many non-digital natives, Codrescu doesn’t seem to understand social media, which isn’t necessarily a problem, but the poems about it feel like someone holding a fish at arm’s length ... Interestingly, his less 'timely' poems allow him to connect more deeply with these themes. The line 'and back then I could barely impersonate the idea of me,' from 'real history,' is a better phrase for the anxiety of being an authentic self on social media than any of his direct engagements with tweets and likes.
This latest collection reads almost like a poet’s journal from the years 2016–18, and as one might expect of the founder of a journal called Exquisite Corpse, his verses revel in the erotic and morbid ... A grim but somehow salutary record of our moment from one of our truly distinctive poetic voices.
The beloved poet, essayist, translator, professor, and commentator...is in the sharpest, most clear and concrete of forms in this, his latest book ... There is a solid love affair happening here between poetry and prose. Codrescu plays with the form, but respects it, with only his unique voice, with its delightful droll quality, to blur the line between slice of life commentary, ballad, prose poem, lyric essay, confession, and modern manifesto ... In the end, this is a book by a talented teller who tells his tales with love for his reader, cleverly but responsibly (never cheating literature), the beauty and imagery of the verse providing a thoroughly honest, yet always kind, light by which to view our lives anew.