The purpose of art is to impart the sensation of things as they are perceived and not as they are known. The technique of art is to make objects ‘unfamiliar,’ to make forms difficult to increase the difficulty and length of perception because the process of perception is an aesthetic end in itself and must be prolonged.
If you want people to pay attention to your poetry, choose a plot they already know.
—[The Latin poet] Horace, as quoted to me by John Barth, 1 March 1968
Having written an undergraduate honors thesis on Henry Miller exactly fifty years ago, when his most notorious books were still banned from America, I developed an early interest in literature commonly deemed unacceptable.
Once erotica became familiar in contemporary art and writing, I became interested in alternative ways of portraying heterosexual experience, initially in print, then in media, in ways often judged unfamiliar, if not unacceptable. This I’ve done since the late 1960s.
I still believe that the three great subjects for art, surely for my writing, are love, art, and New York City.
—Richard Kostelanetz, Ridgewood-SoHo, May 2012
Individual entries on Richard Kostelanetz’s work in several fields appear in various editions of Readers Guide to Twentieth-Century Writers, Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature, Contemporary Poets, Contemporary Novelists, Postmodern Fiction, Webster's Dictionary of American Writers, The HarperCollins Reader’s Encyclopedia of American Literature, Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, Directory of American Scholars, Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World,Who's Who in American Art, NNDB.com, Wikipedia.com, and Britannica.com, among other distinguished directories. Otherwise, he survives in New York, where he was born, unemployed and thus overworked.