Thursday, September 29, 2005

Oh and an e-mail

I just sent to a colleague led me to Google a favorite old teacher/mentor Wayne Koestenbaum, there's a great interview with him at www.outrate.net (the book I especially had in mind & was recommending was Jackie Under My Skin, a book I love and cannot recommend too highly; his two most recent--which I have not read--are Model Homes [poems, with a very nice publicity postcard that I have up on the wall in my office at Columbia] and the lavish and luxuriant Moira Orfei in Aigues-Mortes). In my opinion Koestenbaum is one of the best prose stylists writing today in America; I TA'd for him a lot of years ago for the institutionally-embedded-but-also-quite-excellent course "Daily Themes" at Yale, and was wholly won over by his sensibility; he is a more gothic writer than I am, and also has lots of Prada-and-other-highly-designed-type-stuff that is not really my bag in my daily life, but he has a spectacularly good ear and intellect and should be trusted on all things having to do with language. I just like it when someone I know has such a profoundly aesthetic sensibility that I can dissent from their individual choices on the grounds of taste and yet approve the precision of their ear/palate/eye (whichever metaphor you prefer: for me it's always ear when I'm talking about literature/writing and--obnoxiously--eye when I'm talking about copy-editing [I have a better eye than ear, and this is much to my chagrin as a writer], but I deny the more obviously physiological senses and prefer to avoid the terminology of taste). (Here's the link for my earlier post on why Wayne's essay "My 80s" was my favorite in the excellent Best American Essays 2004, edited by Louis Menand. If you don't have this already, do get it; it's really excellent, tons of spectacular essays & just what you would want if you're teaching a writing course in creative nonfiction. But also enjoyable for light reading.)

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