Wayne Koestenbaum’s Cerebral, Smutty Essays

Parul Sehgal at the NYT:

Our most ecstatic modern practitioner might be Wayne Koestenbaum, the polymathic poet and essayist. (He’s also a painter and pianist.) His work — rueful, cerebral, gloriously smutty — includes trance poetry and automatic writing. He has published sections of his notebooks, trippy discursions into his obsessions with opera (“The Queen’s Throat”) and Jacqueline Onassis (“Jackie Under My Skin”), a novel about a hotel where the guest services include having your certainties shredded (“Hotel Theory”). Whatever his subject — favorites include porn, punctuation and the poetry of Frank O’Hara — the goal is always to jigger logic and language free of its moorings. “The writer’s obligation,” he states in his new essay collection, “Figure It Out,” “is to play with words and to keep playing with them, not to deracinate or deplete them, but to use them as vehicles for discovering history, recovering wounds, reciting damage and awakening conscience.”

more here.