Even as nineteenth-century Americans were cutting forests, damming rivers, and paving roads, leading thinkers were sanctifying nature. Environmental historian William Cronon writes, “Far from being the one place on earth that stands apart from humanity, [the wilderness] is quite profoundly a human creation”—in particular the creation of nineteenth-century romanticism. “Wilderness fulfills the old romantic project of secularizing Judeo-Christian values so as to make a new cathedral not in some petty human building but in … Nature itself.” That people “who regard themselves as agnostics or even atheists nonetheless express feelings tantamount to religious awe when in the presence of wilderness … testifies to the success of the romantic project.”


Talking with Wayne Koestenbaum, like reading his diverse body of work, is thrilling. I went rock-climbing for the first time recently and though the analogy to Wayne’s writing might seem like a stretch, bear with me. Looking for a foothold—on a rock-face or in Wayne’s universe—it turns out, requires creativity, a different kind of seeking, a looking both deeply and askance at what appears at first to be straight surface. Both demand an unusual combination of trusted instinct and hard work. When it all comes together, there arises an intoxicating pleasure that masks the fact that you are intensely vulnerable, that you are hanging precariously over an abyss. It is serious stuff. Wayne’s work—his poems, his essays, his criticism—obliterates any vestigial divide we might hold on to between play and thought. It revels in and broadcasts the risks and joys (the risky joys and joyful risks) inherent in both.

Read the interview: http://bit.ly/1gHloji

Talking with Wayne Koestenbaum, like reading his diverse body of work, is thrilling. I went rock-climbing for the first time recently and though the analogy to Wayne’s writing might seem like a stretch, bear with me. Looking for a foothold—on a rock-face or in Wayne’s universe—it turns out, requires creativity, a different kind of seeking, a looking both deeply and askance at what appears at first to be straight surface. Both demand an unusual combination of trusted instinct and hard work. When it all comes together, there arises an intoxicating pleasure that masks the fact that you are intensely vulnerable, that you are hanging precariously over an abyss. It is serious stuff. Wayne’s work—his poems, his essays, his criticism—obliterates any vestigial divide we might hold on to between play and thought. It revels in and broadcasts the risks and joys (the risky joys and joyful risks) inherent in both.

Read the interview: http://bit.ly/1gHloji