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February 6, 2006

Nathaniel Mackey to deliver annual faculty research lecture

By Scott Rappaport

UCSC professor of literature Nathaniel Mackey will deliver the 39th annual Faculty Research Lecture on Wednesday, February 15, at 8 p.m. in the Music Center Recital Hall. His lecture is titled "Cante Moro." The event is free and open to the public.

Photo: Nathaniel Mackey
Nathaniel Mackey

Mackey was selected by UCSC faculty members for the prestigious honor in recognition of his "extraordinary accomplishments in many fields of scholarly and creative activity."

As a poet, literary critic, fiction writer, and journal editor, Mackey has produced a wide variety of work over the past 26 years that has earned him national and international recognition.

Mackey is the author of eight books of poetry, including Four for Trane, Septet for the End of Time, Outlantish, and Song of the Andoumboulou, which are widely regarded as among the most innovative examples of contemporary American experimental writing. His 1985 poetry book, Eroding Witness, was selected for publication in the National Poetry Series. He received a Whiting Writer's Award in 1993 and was elected to the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets in 2001, one of the highest honors in the field of poetry.

Mackey's two volumes of literary criticism include Paracritical Hinge, published last year by the University of Wisconsin Press (See Currents article) and Discrepant Engagement: Dissonance, Cross-Culturality, and Experimental Writing (Cambridge University Press, 1993). For the past 30 years, Mackey has also single-handedly served as editor of the literary journal Hambone, which brings together diverse strands of innovative work from both established and emerging writers,

Known as an authority on the relations between African and African American music and writing, Mackey has edited an influential anthology, Moment's Notice: Jazz in Poetry and Prose (1993), and produced a poetry CD in collaboration with contemporary jazz musicians. He has also completed three novels in a series titled From a Broken Bottle Traces of Perfume Still Emanate--composed as letters written by a composer/multi-instrumentalist named N, a founding member of a fictional band known as the Mystic Horn Society. His longtime radio program on Santa Cruz public radio station KUSP, Tanganyika Strut, continues to spotlight African music throughout the world.

Mackey's innovative work in prose and poetry has attracted widespread notice from scholars, writers, and  musicians; he is frequently sought for interviews and to be the subject of Ph.D. dissertations. The acclaimed African and African American literary journal, Callaloo devoted an entire issue to his work. 

Mackey graduated with high honors in English from Princeton University in 1969 and completed his Ph.D at Stanford. He taught at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Southern California, where he directed the Black Studies Program, before joining the UCSC faculty in 1979. 

For additional information, call (831) 459-2086 or e-mail slupo@ucsc.edu.

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