Wayne Koestenbaum epitomizes poetic control, composing not solely the contents of his latest collection, Blue Stranger With Mosaic Background, but painting the cover image–from which the book derives its title–to boot.
Although new to portraiture, Wayne’s vibrant palette manifests in “Return of the Noun”, a single-sentence poem abundant in humor, generous in surprise, and daring in its linguistic turns. Playfully allusive, the verse sings as a kind of cultural mashup that pairs High and Low with winning irreverence.
The range of Wayne’s references bespeaks his own mosaical background: he has authored an extensive body of literary criticism in addition to three novels, six volumes of poetry, and an Opera libretto. A devoted academic, Wayne even expanded our appreciation of the name “Henry”, playing Etta James’s 1955 dance hit “Roll With Me, Henry” while encouraging us to leaf through Soberscove Press’s Henry At Home, a photo-book featuring decor from artist Nancy Shaver’s design boutique.
Wayne’s tour through “Henry” history primed us for his exuberant reading of a poem so dynamic, we suggested it be retitled “Return of the Verb”.
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