Wayne Koestenbaum

Wayne Koestenbaum faculty photo

Research Interests

  • Gay/Lesbian/Queer Literature and Theory
  • Literary History
  • Criticism
  • Theory


  • Ph.D., Princeton University
  • M.A., Creative Writing, The Johns Hopkins University.

Writer, scholar, and critic Wayne Koestenbaum is recognized as an important American poet, as one of the founders of queer studies, and as a wide-ranging cultural critic who crosses boundaries of literature, art, music, and popular culture. His book The Queen’s Throat: Opera, Homosexuality, and the Mystery of Desire (1993) had a significant impact on the emerging fields of gender and sexuality studies, as have his groundbreaking essays in influential anthologies. His books of poetry include Ode to Anna Moffo and Other Poems (1990), Rhapsodies of a Repeat Offender (1994), The Milk of Inquiry (1999), Model Homes (2004), Best-Selling Jewish Porn Films (2006), and Blue Stranger with Mosaic Background (2012). As a critic, in addition to The Queen’s Throat mentioned above, he has published Double Talk: The Erotics of Male Literary Collaboration (1989), Jackie Under My Skin: Interpreting An Icon (1995), Cleavage: Essays on Sex, Stars, and Aesthetics (2000), Andy Warhol (2001), Hotel Theory (2007), Humiliation (2011), The Anatomy of Harpo Marx (2012), and My 1980s & Other Essays (2013). He is also the author of a novel, Moira Orfei in Aigues-Mortes (2004), and the libretto for Jackie O (1997), a two-act opera by Michael Daugherty commissioned by the Houston Grand Opera.


  • The Cheerful Scapegoat:  Fables (Semiotext[e], forthcoming 2021).
  • Figure It Out:  Essays (Soft Skull, 2020).
  • Camp Marmalade (Nightboat Books, 2018).
  • Notes on Glaze:  18 Photographic Investigations (Cabinet Books, 2016).
  • The Pink Trance Notebooks (Nightboat Books, 2015).
  • My 1980s & Other Essays (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013).
  • The Anatomy of Harpo Marx (University of California Press, 2012).
  • Blue Stranger with Mosaic Background (Turtle Point Press, 2012).
  • Humiliation (Picador, 2011).
  • Hotel Theory (Soft Skull Press, 2007).
  • Best-Selling Jewish Porn Films (Turtle Point Press, 2006).
  • Model Homes (BOA, 2004).
  • Circus (or, Moira Orfei in Aigues Mortes).
  • Andy Warhol (Lipper/Viking, 2001).
  • Cleavage: Essays on Sex, Stars, and Aesthetics (Ballantine Books, 2000).
  • The Milk of Inquiry (Persea, 1999).
  • Jackie Under My Skin: Interpreting An Icon (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1995).
  • Rhapsodies of A Repeat Offender (Persea, 1994).
  • The Queen's Throat: Opera, Homosexuality, and the Mystery of Desire (Poseidon, 1993).
  • Ode to Anna Moffo and Other Poems (Persea, 1990).
  • Double Talk: The Erotics of Male Literary Collaboration (Routledge, 1989).

Recent courses:

  • Poetic Cinema (Fall 2023)
  • Experiments in Art Writing (Fall 2022)
  • The Essay Film: Portraits and Self-Portraits (Spring 2022)
  • Dissertation Workshop (Fall 2021)
  • Vibrations (Spring 2021)
  • Poetry After All: Contemporary Possibilities (Fall 2020)