A series of intimate and captivating interviews by Rachel Zucker with poets and artists about quotidian objects, experiences or obsessions, Commonplace conversations explore the recipes, advice, lists, anecdotes, quotes, politics, phobias, spiritual practices, and other non-Literary forms of knowledge that are vital to an artist’s life and work. One feels, when listening to Commonplace, the pleasure of eavesdropping on the kind of unexpected, intriguing connections that only happen when interesting people sit together in a small room and talk about their real concerns and ordinary lives.

Episode 9: Wayne Koestenbaum

Episode 9: Wayne Koestenbaum

Rachel Zucker speaks with Wayne Koestenbaum, an artist of multiple mediums and a cultural critic, about nudism, the shame of writing, sensual upsurge, ecofeminism, the different challenges posed by writing and painting, and what he calls “the cage of language.” They explore questions of self-validation, changing one’s relationship to language, and what it means to be a cautious person who “bares all” in their work. In the latter part of the conversation, Zucker and Koestenbaum discuss the implications of book purging, and the difficulties of managing and letting go of the things one inherits.



Wayne's Books


Blue Stranger with Mosaic Background (Turtle Point Press, 2012)

Best-Selling Jewish Porn Films (Turtle Point Press, 2006)

Rhapsodies of A Repeat Offender (Persea, 1994)

Ode to Anna Moffo and Other Poems (Persea, 1990)

Model Homes (BOA Editions, 2004)

Criticism and essays

Notes on Glaze: 18 Photographic Investigations (Cabinet Books, 2016)

The Pink Trace Notebooks (Nightboat, 2015)

My 1980s and Other Essays (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2013)

The Anatomy of Harpo Marx (University of California Press, 2012)

Humiliation (Picador, 2011)

Andy Warhol (Lipper/Viking, 2001)

Cleavage: Essays on Sex, Stars, and Aesthetics (Ballantine Books, 2000)

Jackie Under My Skin: Interpreting An Icon (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1995)

The Queen's Throat: Opera, Homosexuality, and the Mystery of Desire (Poseidon, 1993)

Double Talk: The Erotics of Male Literary Collaboration (Routledge, 1989)


Hotel Theory (Soft Skull Press, 2007)

Moira Orfei in Aigues-Mortes (Soft Skull, 2004)

The Milk of Inquiry (Persea, 1999)

Opera libretto

Jackie O



Other Books Mentioned

Naked and Fiery Forms: Modern American Poetry by Women

The Bad Wife Handbook, Rachel Zucker

Naked Poetry: Recent American Poetry in Open Forms, Stephen Berg

Other Relevant Links

Adrienne Rich’s Poetry Became Political, but It Remained Rooted in Material Fact by Wayne Koestenbaum, published in the New York Times

The Visceral Visual Art of Wayne Koestenbaum by Ashlie Danielle Stevens, published in Hyperallergic

Option 3, Rachel Zucker, published in At Length magazine (second of two prose pieces on this page)

Conversation with Wayne Koestenbaum, Rachel Zucker and Matthew Rohrer, published in The Believer

The Class Politics of Decluttering by Stephanie Land for the New York Times


Brian Cassidy, Bookseller

Donate Your Books!

Housing Works

The African Library Project

Reading Reflections

Project Cicero

Many thanks to 192 Books for allowing Commonplace to record and share Wayne’s reading and Q& A.

Episode 10: Olena Kalytiak Davis

Episode 10: Olena Kalytiak Davis

Episode 8: Craig Morgan Teicher

Episode 8: Craig Morgan Teicher