Nathaniel Mackey

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Nathaniel Mackey
Nathaniel Mackey, photo by Gloria Graham during the video taping of Add-Verse, 2005
Nathaniel Mackey, photo by Gloria Graham during the video taping of Add-Verse, 2005
Miami, Florida
Alma materPrinceton University;
Stanford University

Nathaniel Mackey is an American poet, novelist, anthologist, literary critic and editor. He is the Reynolds Price Professor of Creative Writing 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.[1] In 2014, he was awarded the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize,[2] and in 2015 he won Yale's Bollingen Prize for American Poetry.[3]


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 the chapbooks Four for Trane (1978) and Septet for the End of Time (1983); and the books Eroding Witness (1985), School of Udhra (1993), Whatsaid Serif (1998), Splay Anthem (2006), Nod House (2011), and Blue Fasa (2016).

"...Mackey's series of improvisatory jazz-inspired fictions locates a ground between invention and listening that he defines as the source of culture itself. All culture, for Mackey, is a form of listening to what "we" are collectively improvising."
Barrett Watten[4]

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 five volumes of an ongoing prose project entitled From A Broken Bottle Traces of Perfume Still Emanate. The books are titled Bedouin Hornbook (1986), Djbot Baghostus's Run (1993), Atet A. D. (2001), Bass Cathedral (2008), and Late Arcade (2017).

Criticism and editing[edit]

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).



  1. ^ a b "National Book Awards – 2006". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-04-08.
    (With acceptance speech by Mackey, essay by Megan Snyder-Camp from the Awards 60-year anniversary blog, and other materials.)
  2. ^ Charles, Ron (May 7, 2014). "Nathaniel Mackey wins $100,000 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize". The Washington Post. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Nathaniel Mackey wins Yale’s 2015 Bollingen Prize for Poetry" Yale News. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  4. ^ One Year Plan: Post 36: 7/17/07 Archived 2007-05-13 at the Wayback Machine Watten's piece is called: "Great Books 1–10 + 2: Thumbnail Algorithms"

External links[edit]