So Playfully Valorized Seriousness

[Wayne Koestenbaum] valorizes the intellectual seriousness of Sontag, and of the poet and translator Richard Howard, but also confesses his attraction to idleness and lassitude. Books are fine and good, but have you tried sex, or doughnuts?

So this review introduces me to Koestenbaum.

Whatever his subject — favorites include porn, punctuation and the poetry of Frank O’Hara — the goal is always to jigger logic and language free of its moorings. “The writer’s obligation,” he states in his new essay collection, “Figure It Out,” “is to play with words and to keep playing with them, not to deracinate or deplete them, but to use them as vehicles for discovering history, recovering wounds, reciting damage and awakening conscience.”

(Parul Sehgal, “Wayne Koestenbaum’s Cerebral, Smutty Essays Playfully Disobey the Rules,” NYTimes, 5-5-20)

So I would walk a mile for a word like “deracinate.” So I can relate to his perverse glee in not coming down on a single side of anything. So have I misconstrued it in myself as a stubborn failing all along? So I may have to read “Figure It Out” to lose the answer.

(c) 2020 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day, and watch Netflix and Prime Video for entertainment. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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