Nathaniel Mackey’s ongoing serial epic, in which Song of the Andoumboulou and “Mu,” “the two now understood as two and the same, each the other’s understudy,” proliferating wildly and oneirically through the course of nine books, has established itself as the poem of our time, a multiphasic, hectoring, and angelophanic rehearsal of vision and “all day music,” whose summa is the magnificent Double Trio, published in 2021 and running over 1000 pages. BIRDS ANONYMOUS pre-selects installments in the epic from the not-yet-completed successor to Double Trio, the Double Quartet, assembling poems drawn from and manifesting the traits of Islamic mysticism, especially the Sufi allegory in Farid ud-Din Attar’s Conference of the Birds, affording Mackey’s readers a preview of the wit and the wisdom, the secrets and the paradoxes of the poetry to come.
Nathaniel Mackey is the author of numerous books and chapbooks of poetry, most recently Double Trio (New Directions, 2021); an ongoing prose work, From a Broken Bottle Traces of Perfume Still Emanate, whose fifth and most recent volume is Late Arcade (New Directions, 2017); and two books of criticism, the most recent of which is Paracritical Hinge: Essays, Talks, Notes, Interviews (University of Wisconsin Press, 2005). He is the editor of the literary magazine Hambone; coeditor, with Art Lange, of the anthology Moment's Notice: Jazz in Poetry and Prose (Coffee House Press, 1993); and coeditor, with Michael Bough, Kent Johnson and others, of the anthology Resist Much / Obey Little: Inaugural Poems to the Resistance (Dispatches Editions/Spuyten Duyvil, 2017). He lives in Durham, North Carolina, and teaches at Duke University.Author City: DURHAM, NC USA