Poetry. African American Studies. Nathaniel Mackey's third book of poems, WHATSAID SERIF, is comprised of installments 16 through 35 of SONG OF THE ANDOUMBOULOU, an ongoing serial work whose first fifteen installments appear in his two previous books, ERODING WITNESS and SCHOOL OF UDHRA. Named after a Dogon funeral song whose raspy tonalities prelude rebirth, Song of the Andoumboulou has from its inception tracked interweavings of lore and lived apprehension, advancing this weave as its own sort of rasp. These twenty new installments evoke the what-sayer of Kalapalo storying practice as a figure for the rough texture of such interweaving. Mackey has suggested that the Andoumboulou, a failed, earlier form of human being in Dogon cosmology are "a rough draft of human being," that "the Andoumboulou are in fact us; we're the rough draft." The song is of possibility, yet to be fulfilled, aspiration's putative angel itself.
Nathaniel Mackey is the author of five books of poetry, most recently Nod House (New Directions, 2011), an ongoing prose work, From a Broken Bottle Traces of Perfume Still Emanate, of which four volumes have been published, most recently Bass Cathedral (New Directions, 2008), and two books of criticism, most recently Paracritical Hinge: Essays, Talks, Notes, Interviews (Wisconsin, 2005). He edits the journal HAMBONE and coedited, with Art Lange, the anthology Moment's Notice: Jazz in Poetry and Prose (Coffee House, 1993). He lives in Durham, North Carolina, and teaches at Duke University. Author City: DURHAM, NC USA