JEFFREY J. WILLIAMS Wayne Koestenbaum likes to watch--how people respond to stars like Jackie O, how gay men embrace opera, how writers collaborate, how artists produce their work. With books like The Queen's Throat: Opera, Homosexuality, and the Mystery of Desire (Poseidon, 1993; rpt. Da Capo, 2001), he has built a distinctive body of cultural criticism that looks at the transactions of desire and aesthetics and that tacks toward the writerly rather than the academic, in evocative, often aphoristic prose. At the same time, he has also built a distinctive body of poetry, with five books and counting, reinvigorating our contemporary model of the poet-critic. Koestenbaum's first book, Double Talk: The Erotics of Male Literary Collaboration (Routledge, 1989), was a relatively traditional literary study, of canonical writers like Eliot and Pound, although it looked at them through the lens of early queer theory. The Queen's Throat, a trade book, marked his launch onto the wider scene, followed by Jackie Under My Skin: Interpreting an Icon (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1995; Picador, 2009); Cleavage: Essays on Sex, Stars, and Aesthetics (Ballantine, 2000), which collects many of his journalistic pieces; and Andy Warhol (Viking, 2001), which appeared in the Penguin
symploke – University of Nebraska Press
Published: May 18, 2011
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