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Mackey, noted black culture scholar, reads poetry

Poet, novelist and critic Nathaniel Mackey, professor of literature at the University of California Santa Cruz since 1979 and currently a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, will present a poetry@mit reading on Thursday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. in Room 6-120.

Mackey devotes much of his work to the lost African roots of black culture. A noted scholar of jazz, African, Latin American and Caribbean mythologies and histories, he transcends traditional cultural boundaries through his prose and poetry.

"Mackey's books are maps of a large region," writes critic Christopher Funkhouser. "In them, he transverses grounds of literal and figurative forests, fields and sands he knows well ... his vision is a hybrid of living ethnopoetics and musical and spiritual influences which are deeply rooted in a beleaguered but surviving African continent."

Mackey is co-editor of "American Poetry: The Twentieth Century" and "Moment's Notice: Jazz in Poetry and Prose" and editor of the magazine Hambone.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 19, 2003.

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