Nathaniel Mackey

Nathaniel Mackey

About Nathaniel Mackey

Nathaniel Mackey, born in 1947 in Miami (Florida), is an African-American poet, novelist, art critic, editor and scholar. During his secondary studies, he turned to a scientific career. The discovery of literature and poetry will change his life course, especially poetry. In the 1960s, he was passionate about the avant-garde poetry of William Carlos Williams and the revolutionary poetry of Amiri Baraka in the early years of the Black Arts Movement.
After high school, he entered Princeton University in 1965, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in 1969. Admitted to Stanford University, he successfully defended his doctoral thesis (Ph.D) there in 1975. During his years at Princeton University, he met Amiri Baraka who had just founded the Black Arts Repertory Theater School in Harlem and who would introduce him to the poets of the Black Mountain, notably Robert Duncan and Charles Olson.
Mackey is the author of several books of poetry. 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), as well as the books Tej Bet, So's Notice, and Nerve Church, which were published together as a boxed set called Double Trio in 2021. In 2016, Black Ocean Books published a collection called Lay Ghost that featured songs that later appeared in So's Notice. He has received many awards for his work, including the National Book Award in poetry for Splay Anthem, the Stephen Henderson Award from the African American Literature and Culture Society, the Bollingen Prize, and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize.
Nathaniel Mackey's work is mainly centered on African elements present in American culture such as musical instruments, gospel, ragtime, jazz, rhythm and blues and rap. Consideration is given to their influences on composers, entertainment music, writers and painters.
Nathaniel Mackey's poems are regularly published by magazines and literary journals such as The Boston Review, The Nation, Poetry, Academy of American Poets, The New Yorker.
Nathaniel Mackey resides in Durham, North Carolina.

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