Wayne Koestenbaum is a poet, critic, novelist, artist and performer.
He has published 19 books, including Camp Marmalade, Notes on Glaze, The Pink Trance Notebooks, My 1980s & Other Essays, Hotel Theory, Best-Selling Jewish Porn Films, Andy Warhol, Humiliation and Jackie Under My Skin. The Queen’s Throat, praised by Susan Sontag as “a brilliant book,” was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist and recently appeared in French translation. His novel Circus was reissued in 2019 with an introduction by Rachel Kushner.
New projects, forthcoming in 2020, include a book of short fiction, The Cheerful Scapegoat, and an essay collection, Figure It Out. His essays and poems have been widely published in periodicals and anthologies, including The Best American Poetry, The Best American Essays, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Paris Review, London Review of Books, The Believer, The Iowa Review, Cabinet, and Artforum. He wrote the libretti for Michael Daugherty’s Jackie O, which premiered at the Houston Grand Opera, and for Mohammed Fairouz’s Pierrot, commissioned by Da Capo Chamber Players.
Koestenbaum has exhibited his own paintings in solo shows at White Columns, 356 Mission, and the University of Kentucky Art Museum, as well as in many group shows, most recently in New York at Essex Flowers, Gordon Robichaux, Klaus von Nichtssagend, and the Fashion Institute of Technology. His first piano/vocal record, Lounge Act, was released by Ugly Duckling Presse Records in 2017; he has given musical performances of his improvisatory Sprechstimme soliloquies at The Kitchen, REDCAT, Centre Pompidou, the Walker Art Center, the Artist’s Institute, and the Renaissance Society. He played the title role in Robert Ashley’s opera The Trial of Anne Opie Wehrer at the 2014 Whitney Biennial and in 2016 at L.A.’s 356 Mission.
Koestenbaum’s brief essay-films, originally seen on Instagram (@Wayne.Koestenbaum), are the most recent development of his interdisciplinary, multi-media practice. His literary archive is in the Yale Collection of American Literature at Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. He received a B.A. from Harvard and a Ph.D. from Princeton; he won a Whiting Writers Award, and was a co-winner of the Discovery/The Nation Poetry Prize. Formerly an Associate Professor of English at Yale and a Visiting Professor in the Yale School of Art’s painting department, he is a Distinguished Professor of English, French, and Comparative Literature at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City.