Nathaniel Mackey

Late Arcade

Fiction by Nathaniel Mackey

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Blue Fasa

Poetry by Nathaniel Mackey

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Nod House

Poetry by Nathaniel Mackey

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From a Broken Bottle Traces of Perfume Still Emanate

Fiction by Nathaniel Mackey

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Bass Cathedral

Fiction by Nathaniel Mackey

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Splay Anthem

Fiction by Nathaniel Mackey

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Instead of accepting the casual clichés which plague musical writing, Mackey adapts a set of stylistics which are uniquely his own: much like those breaths which are prodigiously pushed out of a tenor, a trumpet, or an oboe, the words read as chaotic, harmonious, suspensions of the spirit which one must hear before they may fully inhabit.

—Bennet S. Johnson, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI

A literary adventure of the highest order, a feat of prose and imagination that takes the fiction genre into new territory. One of the most memorable meetings of prose and jazz in English literature.

—Florence Wetzel, All About Jazz

A poetic lift…wild, free-wheeling spirit…

Kirkus

Nathaniel Mackey is a poet of ongoingness involved in a kind of spiritualist or cosmic pursuit.

—Edward Hirsch, The Washington Post

It feels, sentence to sentence and page to page, like a work in the act of being created. It is not simply writing about jazz…. There is a cliché about music writing, sometimes attributed to Thelonious Monk, among others: ‘Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.’ If so, Nathaniel Mackey is compelled, rather than deterred, by the multiform madness of the enterprise. He is the Balanchine of the architecture dance.

—David Hajdu, New York Times

Mackey is a sure and skilled and authoritative composer / compositor…The workings of his words indicate an uncontestable care and loving respect for the most subtle and resonant nuances of language.

African American Review

Mackey’s rampant alliteration and his reconfiguration of words on the phonemic and morphemic level create a sonic atmosphere that enacts a state of jazz.

Boston Review

Mackey’s writing (much like the best of Ornette Coleman or country blues) rewards close reading with resonances of real experience.

The Village Voice

Blue Fasa asks what the lyric can give us, and answers in an immense and generous manner. In Mackey’s music, we viscerally feel the physicality of language as well as the history and feeling encoded in it. It would be a loss for contemporary poetry to forget that sensuous shuttle of syllables from tongue to sound wave.

—Laura Jaramillo, Indy

Nothing short of astounding.

—Michael Delong, Boston Review

The book is a collection of many poems that can also be treated as one epic poem. It follows several characters, who are on a journey of self-discovery, known as the philosophical posse.

—NPR

Remarkable erudition and singular lyric virtuosity.

Publishers Weekly

Nathan Mackey’s ongoing serial projects in poetry and prose over the past three and a half decades arrow among the great wonders of our literary moment.

—Poetry Foundation

Mackey’s words go where music goes: a brilliant and major accomplishment.

—Ruth Lilley Poetry Prize Citation

Nathaniel Mackey is a poet of ongoingness involved in a kind of spiritualist or cosmic pursuit.

—Edward Hirsch, The Washington Post

Nathaniel Mackey’s poetry ambitiously continues an American bardic line that unfolds from Leaves of Grass to Pound’s Cantos to H.D.’s Trilogy, winds through the whole of Robert Duncan’s work, and extends beyond all of these. Mackey’s own rare combinations create an astonishing and resounding effect: his words go where music goes: a brilliant and major accomplishment.

—Don Share

An open-ended exegesis of musical meaning that is equal parts African American history, Bedouin mysticism, and Mackey’s own imagination.

The Believer

The pleasure of the book comes from its descriptive daring.

The New Yorker

He is the Balanchine of the architecture dance.

—David Hajdu, The New York Times Book Review

In both Song of the Andoumboulou and ‘Mu,’ Mackey describes the music he hears––its history, players, sounds. But more often than not he transposes the music he hears into words, channeling the spirit, re-incarnating it into the English language.

—Travis Nichols, Stop Smiling
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