Virtual Book Launch: Figure It Out by Wayne Koestenbaum in conversation with David Velasco

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About the Book:

“Toward what goal do I aspire, ever, but collision? Always accident, concussion, bodies butting together . . . By collision I also mean metaphor and metonymy: operations of slide and slip and transfuse.”

In his new nonfiction collection, poet, artist, critic, novelist, and performer Wayne Koestenbaum enacts twenty-six ecstatic collisions between his mind and the world. A subway passenger’s leather bracelet prompts musings on the German word for “stranger”; Montaigne leads to the memory of a fourth-grade friend’s stinky feet. Wayne dreams about a handjob from John Ashbery, swims next to Nicole Kidman, reclaims Robert Rauschenberg’s squeegee, and apotheosizes Marguerite Duras as a destroyer of sentences. He directly proposes assignments to readers: “Buy a one-dollar cactus, and start anthropomorphizing it. Call it Sabrina.” “Describe an ungenerous or unkind act you have committed.” “Find in every orgasm an encyclopedic richness . . . Reimagine doing the laundry as having an orgasm, and reinterpret orgasm as not a tiny experience, temporally limited, occurring in a single human body, but as an experience that somehow touches on all of human history.” Figure It Out is both a guidebook for, and the embodiment of, the practices of pleasure, attentiveness, art, and play.

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About the Author:

Wayne Koestenbaum is a poet, critic, and artist. His books include The Queen’s Throat: Opera, Homosexuality, and the Mystery of Desire, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist; Jackie Under My Skin: Interpreting an Icon; My 1980s and Other Essays; Humiliation; Hotel Theory; The Pink Trance Notebooks; and Camp Marmalade. He lives in New York City, where he is a Distinguished Professor of English at the CUNY Graduate Center. His website is waynekoestenbaum.com.

About the Moderator:

David Velasco is the editor-in-chief of Artforum.

Event date: 
Monday, May 4, 2020 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
Brooklyn, NY 11201-1100
Figure It Out: Essays By Wayne Koestenbaum Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781593765958
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Soft Skull - May 5th, 2020

Author Photo: