Oblation: Essays, Parables, and Paradoxes


Elements of this book, Oblation: Essays, Parables, and Paradoxes, defy reason. They do so for good reason. Much of what we do, much of what we think, is oblation: sacrifice, offering, to something or someone. The root of “oblation” (Hebrew: korban) is “to draw near” or “to dwell in.” It refers to what is brought[…]

Trouble Songs: A Musicological Poetics

Published: 03/26/2018

Trouble Songs is a hybrid serial work that tracks the appearance of the word “trouble” in 20th- and 21st-century American music. It reads (and sings) songs and poems, with reference to cultural events ranging from the death of a pop singer to the growth of popular resistance movements. The trouble singer invokes the word “trouble” in[…]

Queer Insists (for José Esteban Muñoz)


Published: 12/04/2014

Queer Insists is a memorial essay, a work of mourning, written for the queer theorist and performance scholar José Esteban Muñoz (1967-2013) shortly after his untimely death in December 2013. In a series of fragments, not unlike Roland Barthes’s Mourning Diary, Michael O’Rourke shares memories of Muñoz, the stories and reflections of his friends in[…]