Biography of Nathaniel Mackey
Nathaniel Mackey is an American poet, novelist, anthologist, literary critic and editor. He is Professor of English at Duke University and a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets. Mackey is currently teaching a poetry workshop at Duke University.
He has been editor and publisher of Hambone since 1982 and he won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2006. In 2014, he was awarded a Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize.
Nathaniel Mackey was born in 1947 in Miami, Florida. He obtained his B.A. from Princeton University and his PhD from Stanford University. He taught and lived in Santa Cruz from 1979 to 2010. He is currently a professor at Duke University.
Mackey's books of poetry include Four for Trane (1978); Septet for the End of Time (1983); Eroding Witness (1985), which was selected for the National Poetry Series; Outlandish (1992); School of Udhra (1993); Song of the Andoumboulou: 18-20 (1994); Whatsaid Serif (1998); Splay Anthem (2006) and a chapbook Outer Pradesh (2014).
Mackey's poetry combines African mythology, African-American musical traditions, and Modernist poetic experiment. His several ongoing serial projects explore the relationship of poetry and historical memory, as well as the ritual power of poetry and song.
Mackey has published four volumes of an ongoing prose project entitled, From A Broken Bottle Traces of Perfume Still Emanate: Bass Cathedral (2008), Atet A. D. (2001), Djbot Baghostus's Run (1993) and Bedouin Hornbook (1986).
Criticism and editing
Mackey is the author of Discrepant Engagement: Dissonance, Cross-Culturality, and Experimental Writing (1993), an influential book of literary theory, and more recently of Paracritical Hinge: Essays, Talks, Notes, Interviews (2004). He has edited the avant-garde literary journal Hambone for more than 15 years, and co-edited Moment's Notice: Jazz in Poetry and Prose with Art Lange(1993).
Nathaniel Mackey Poems
— "mu" fifth part — His they their we, their he his was but if
Said to Have Been Heard to Say Hush
—"mu" ninety-eighth part— Remembered moment lamenting its exit, the anaphylactic aria fell away. What beauty promised or
Song of the Andoumboulou: 166½
Decapitism stuck to the end of my tongue. What to do but call it names I thought. It wasn't thought I was think-
Unlay's Late Promenade
— "mu" one hundred sixteenth part — Again that closer walk, legless though they'd be. Low Insofarian sun I cut my
Song of the Andoumboulou: 85
Came now to another crossroads. Stick people stood awaiting us, to the left, straight ahead, to the right. What was that song you sang,
Song of the Andoumboulou: 55
—orphic fragment— Carnival morning they were Greeks in Brazil, Africans in Greek
Song of the Andoumboulou: 138
Anuncio drifted in a well of sound, unlay's ward, late orphan, a wry erotics had its way. He called himself Antonio now, Ahdja having
Song of the Andoumboulou: 136
A comped piano lifted the leaves in Low Forest, a blanket of shade pulled up, a sheet of glass put in place, free pros-
On Antiphon Island
—"mu" twenty-eighth part— On Antiphon Island they lowered the bar and we bent back. It wasn't limbo we were in albeit
Lone Coast Anacrusis
Ghost of a Trance
—"mu" sixty-first part— Gray morning, blue morning, a feather blown between. Mashed
Eye on the Scarecrow
—"mu" twentieth part— The way we lay we mimed a body of water. It was
Day After Day of the Dead
—"mu" forty-eighth part— "While we're alive," we kept repeating. Tongues, throats, roofs of our mouths bone dry,
As If It Were "This Is Our Music&qu...
— "mu" one hundred eighteenth part — Heaved our bags and headed out again. Again the ground that was to've been there wasn't.
Lone Coast Anacrusis
—"mu" fifty-third part—
Some new Atlantis known as Lower
Ninth we took leave of next, half the
turtle's back away. Whole bodies
we saw floating, not only heads...
Endless letting go, endless looking