Born in 1958, Wayne Koestenbaum attended Harvard University and received an MA in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University and a PhD from Princeton University. After being named co-winner of the 1989 Discovery/The Nation poetry contest, he published his first collection of poetry, Ode to Anna Moffo and Other Poems (Persea Books, 1990), which was chosen as one of The Village Voice Literary Supplement's "Favorite Books of 1990."
His other books of poetry include Camp Marmalade (Nightboat Books, 2018), The Pink Trance Notebooks (Nightboat Books, 2015), Blue Stranger With Mosaic Background (Turtle Point Press, 2012); and Rhapsodies of A Repeat Offender (Persea Books, 1994).
About his poetry, David Lehman has said, "Wayne Koestenbaum has been writing poems so dashing and poignant, so sexy and savvy, that it’s hard not to like them. He puts wordplay at the service of autobiography, and autobiography at the service of the ceaseless inquiry into the origins of woe, the mysteries of sex, and the dialectic of the brain and crotch."
Koestenbaum is also widely known as a cultural critic for his books on Jackie Kennedy and opera: Jackie Under My Skin: Interpreting an Icon (FSG, 1995) and The Queen's Throat: Opera, Homosexuality and the Mystery of Desire (Poseidon Books, 1993), which was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award. His other books of criticism include My 1980s and Other Essays (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013). He has also published several novels, including Humiliation (Picador, 2011).
Koestenbaum received a Whiting Writer's Award in 1994 and taught in Yale's English department from 1988 to 1996. He has taught painting at the Yale School of Art since 2003. He lives in New York Cit, where he is a Distinguished Professor of English at the CUNY Graduate Center.