The chromatic, linguistically playful, erotic conclusion to Wayne Koestenbaum’s acclaimed trance poem trilogy.
Ultramarine distills gleanings from four years of Koestenbaum’s trance notebooks (2015-2019) into a series of tightly-sewn collage-poems, filled with desiring bodies, cultural touchstones, and salty memories. Beyond Proust’s madeleine we head toward a “deli” version of utopia, crafted from hamantaschen, cupcake, and cucumber. Interludes in Rome, Paris, and Cologne permit spells of fevered play with Italian, French, and German. Painting and its processes bring bright colors to the surface, as if the poet were trying to figure out anew the nature of blue, pink, orange. Ultramarine reaches across memory, back to Europe, beyond the literal world into dream-habitats conjured through language’s occult structures.
"If the voluminous allusions, usually divorced from context or analysis, are what a cerebral, queer, Jewish American culture vulture reared in the 1960s and ’70s would predictably fall for... they often bestow pleasures deeper than passing giggles, uncovering, as Koestenbaum does while reading Simone Weil, 'the hurt, pocked portion / of being.'"—Harriet
"Koestenbaum, unflinching as he observes and notates his interior, brings a heroic quality to this poetic feat.'"—Rain Taxi
"Not only does Koestenbaum surprise us with content, but also with form. The text incorporates all manner of writing from dreams to factual news. It resists privileging one mode over another."—[PANK]
"This project, which began with The Pink Trance Notebooks (2015) and continued with Camp Marmalade (2018), is remarkable for many reasons... Each collection of trance notebooks reflects the degree to which Koestenbaum is attuned to real-time realities while he composes."—The Brooklyn Rail
"The final volume of his 'trance trilogy'—preceded by The Pink Trance Notebooks (2015) and Camp Marmalade (2018)—the collection is both a joyful language game and a bracing reminder that queer play is serious business."—The Yale Review
"In Ultramarine, Wayne Koestenbaum sifts through four years of trance notebooks to stitch together a revealing collage."—Library Journal
"Koestenbaum delves into paintings and the artistic process, using color as a metaphor through which to consider desire and memory."—Read Poetry
"There is a linguistic playfulness here that will appeal to some readers, as well as an insistence on modernity and the high-low duality of daily experience."—Publishers Weekly