poem index


Nathaniel Mackey

Miami , FL , United States
Chancellor 2001-2007
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Poet and novelist Nathaniel Mackey was born in 1947 in Miami, Florida. He received a BA degree from Princeton University and a PhD from Stanford University.

His books of poetry include Eroding Witness (Selva Oscura Press, 2018), Blue Fasa (New Directions, 2015), Nod House (New Directions, 2011); Splay Anthem (New Directions, 2006), which won the 2006 National Book Award in Poetry; Eroding Witness (University of Illinois Press, 1985), which was selected for the National Poetry Series; and Four for Trane (Golemics, 1978).

He is also the author of an ongoing prose work, From A Broken Bottle Traces of Perfume Still Emanate, of which four volumes have been published: Bass Cathedral (New Directions, 2008), Atet A. D. (City Lights, 2001), Djbot Baghostus's Run (Sun & Moon Press, 1993), and Bedouin Hornbook (University of Kentucky Press, 1986), the first three of which are collected in From a Broken Bottle Traces of Perfume Still Emanate: Volumes 1-3 (New Directions, 2010).

The poet Robin Blaser has called Mackey's work "a brilliant renewal of and experiment with the language of our spiritual condition and a measure of what poetry gives in trust—'heart's/meat' and the rush of language to bear it."

Also a critic and literary theorist, Mackey is the author of Discrepant Engagement: Dissonance, Cross-Culturality, and Experimental Writing (Cambridge University Press, 1993). With Carolyn KizerJohn HollanderRobert Hass, and Marjorie Perloff, he is a coeditor of American Poetry: The Twentieth Century (Library of America, 2000), and with Art Lange, of Moment's Notice: Jazz in Poetry and Prose (Coffee House Press, 1993). He also edits the magazine Hambone. In 1995, Strick: Song of the Andoumboulou 16-25, a compact disc recording of poems read with musical accompaniment, was released.

Nathaniel Mackey has received numerous awards including a Whiting Writer’s Award and a 2010 Guggenheim fellowship. He is the Reynolds Price Professor of English at Duke University and served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2001 to 2007. Mackey currently lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Selected Bibliography

Blue Fasa (New Directions, 2015)
Nod House (New Directions, 2011)
Splay Anthem (New Directions, 2006)
Arranging Nature (Chax Press, 2006)
Whatsaid Serif (City Lights, 1998)
Song of the Andoumboulou: 18-20 (Moving Parts Press, 1994)
School of Udhra (City Lights, 1993)
Eroding Witness (University of Illinois Press, 1985)
Four for Trane (Golemics, 1978)

From a Broken Bottle Traces of Perfume Still Emanate: Volumes 1-3 (New Directions, 2010)
Bass Cathedral (New Directions, 2008)
Paracritical Hinge: Essays, Talks, Notes, Interviews  (University of Wisconsin Press, 2005)
Atet A. D. (City Lights, 2001)
Djbot Baghostus's Run (Sun & Moon Press, 1993)
Discrepant Engagement: Dissonance, Cross-Culturality, and Experimental Writing (Cambridge University Press, 1993)
Bedouin Hornbook (University of Kentucky Press, 1986)

by this poet


—“mu” ninety-eighth part—

Remembered moment lamenting
  its exit, the anaphylactic aria
fell away. What beauty promised or
  we projected faded, we moved
  not’s province the place we
now camped in… The abandoned


-ring of the well-                        

Fray was the name where we came
to next. Might've been a place,
might not've been a place but
we were there, came to it
than we could se... Come to

  Next a Brazilian cut came
on Sophia picked. Paulinho's
 voice lit our way for what
    seemed eternity, 
   primeira vez the one
  we caught or could understand,
    no matter it ended
soon as it'd begun