LIVE ON CROWDCAST: Wayne Koestenbaum, “FIGURE IT OUT” w/ Maggie Nelson

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, essays, LGBTQ by skylightbooks on July 8th, 2020

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.

Koestenbaum is in conversation with Maggie Nelson, author of nine books of poetry and prose, including the National Book Critics Circle Award winner The ArgonautsThe Art of Cruelty: A ReckoningBluetsThe Red Parts, and Jane: A Murder.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," a new, unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

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