This summer I’m diving back into poetry. Contemporary poetry. A book a day. Glorious, atopical immersion, without worry, territorialism, or bondage to task. Last week I read Mina Pam Dick’s Delinquent (Futurepoem), Karen Weiser’s To Light Out (Ugly Duckling Presse), Rebecca Wolff’s Manderley (U. of Illinois), Rebecca Woolf’s Figment (Norton), C. G. Giscombe’s Prairie Style (Dalkey Archive), Richard Sieburth’s translation of Guillevic’s Geometries (Ugly Duckling Presse), Kostas Anagnopoulos's Moving Blanket (Ugly Duckling Presse). So far, for next week I have lined up Marcella Durand’s Area (Belladonna Books), Lisa Robertson’s The Men (Book Thug), Rachel Zolf’s Neighbour Procedure (Coach House Books), Mark Bibbins’s The Dance of No Hard Feelings (Copper Canyon), and Aaron Kunin’s The Sore Throat & Other Poems (Fence Books). If I take a detour into prose this summer, I’d love to read Herta Müller’s The Passport (Serpent’s Tail, translated from the German by Martin Chalmers), Jakov Lind’s Ergo (Open Letter, translated from the German by Ralph Manheim), Witold Gombrowicz’s Pornografia (Grove, translated from the Polish by Danuta Borchardt), Marguerite Duras’s Yann Andréa Steiner (Archipelago, translated from the French by Mark Polizzotti), Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Stories from the City of God: Sketches and Chronicles of Rome 1950-1966 (Handsel Books, translated from the Italian by Marina Harss), and The Diaries of Paul Klee (U. of California Press, translated from the Swiss German by Pierre B. Schneider, R. Y. Zachary, and Max Knight). I’m partial to certain independent presses and will read almost anything they publish: Ugly Duckling, Fence Books, Archipelago, Dalkey Archive, Futurepoem. And others.
Wayne Koestenbaum was a finalist for the 1993 NBCC Award for Criticism for The Queen’s Throat, a study of opera. He has also published poetry, fiction, and the libretto to the opera Jackie O. Among his books are Bestselling Jewish Porn Films, a collection of poetry, and Hotel Theory. He lives in New York and teaches at the CUNY Graduate Center. (Photo: Heike Steinweg)