Rhapsodies of a Repeat Offender by Wayne Koestenbaum

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The collection's cornerstones are two rhapsodies - long poems which combine the richness of a novel, the intimacy of a lyric, and the immediacy of a performance. At the climax of the first, the poet meets his double, a dying boy whose shameful moniker is "Baldie." As if in response to this explosive confrontation, the poet dares to write a second, wilder "Rhapsody" - a confessional, improvisatory fantasia, virtually a book in itself, where abjection blossoms into formally-innovative extravagance. Three sequences complete the collection: "Piano Life," a series of haunted meditations on music and mortality; "Erotic Collectibles," a disarmingly unsentimental account of sexual awakening; and "Star Vehicles," in which the poet sees his perplexities reflected in Bette Davis, Sophia Loren, Ida Lupino, and other leading ladies.

About Wayne Koestenbaum

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Wayne Koestenbaum is an American poet and cultural critic. He received a BA from Harvard University, an MA from Johns Hopkins University, and a PhD from Princeton University. He lives in New York City, where he is Distinguished Professor of English at the City University of New York Graduate Center.
Published March 1, 1994 by Persea Books. 120 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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When Koestenbaum recalls his piano lessons, he seemingly slips in his own ars poetica : ``I can't / depend on pressure for crescendo, but / must dement the rhythm so it / stumbles, hesitates expressively, the line / opening its heart in quick crotchets.'' (The utterances that make up the last poe...

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